Privacy and Social Media
Is the race to innovate online leaving privacy rights in its wake?


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Organisations in Australia and overseas are recognising the benefits of using social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter to promote their goods and services, and to effectively engage more with their customers and strategic partners. However, technology innovations including the advent of tablet and mobile applications, availability of cloud-based software services, geo-location and online behavioural advertising as well as "big data" analytics present a challenge to traditional compliance obligations under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) and other applicable laws and regulations.

This paper briefly examines some of the new social media technologies available and considers the compliance and risk issues which may arise for Australian business. It provides some guidance on how to manage these compliance risks and makes recommendations on how to implement a digital marketing strategy, which seeks to use such technologies effectively, whilst properly complying with applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

Legal and regulatory framework

Australian business is subject to a myriad number of laws which can influence and affect all aspects of doing business online. Whilst it is not appropriate to list all applicable laws, there are a number of laws and regulations which are impacted directly by digital marketing activities. These include the Privacy Act, Spam Act 2003 (Cth) and various industry codes of practice. For those organisations in the regulated space such as those in the financial services, insurance and superannuation industries, organisations may also be required to meet ongoing regulatory requirements and guidelines issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

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