iappANZ Summit: Privacy compliance is a business driver, not a burden

Eight months after the Australian government introduced a major overhaul of privacy legislation, organisations of all sizes are well and truly on notice that they need to take privacy seriously – but the dangers of non-compliance are much more than just fines, according to one privacy expert.

Even though the $1.7 million maximum fine outlined in the new legislation “is a significant fine, what's probably worse for companies is the reputational damage of a breach,” iappANZ CEO Emma Hossack warned in the leadup to the 2014 iappANZ Privacy Summit.

“If you are named and effectively shamed by being shown to be a company that doesn't take people's personal information seriously, and the management of it as being of the utmost importance, that's more likely to do harm to your bottom line than paying the fine.”

Regulators in New Zealand and elsewhere have been naming and shaming organisations that fall short of privacy requirements, Hossack said.

This threat is just one of a broad range of themes on the agenda for the iappANZ Summit, which will be held on November 17 at the Westin Hotel in Sydney.

This year's event, entitled Privacy@Play, will bring together privacy executives and regulators from the UK, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, Scotland, Malaysia, Singapore and a range of private organisations including AGL, Johnson & Johnson, Macquarie Group, and Telstra.

With nearly three dozen presentations, the summit will offer a broad range of perspectives on privacy and its impact on everyday businesses. Common themes will be drawn out and discussed to help paint a holistic picture of the evolution of privacy legislation across the Asia-Pacific region, and across the world.

A common theme of those perspectives, Hossack says, is that privacy has become a ubiquitous concern for every business.

“The theme of this summit is that whatever you do, you will be affected by privacy now,” she explains. “Whatever field of endeavour you work in, you are going to be affected by these changes – so it's a very positive step to know how to get them working for you.”

“And you want to do it now, rather than having the privacy commissioner audit your business because you're being seen to not be taking it seriously.”

Ultimately, projecting the perception that privacy is a key concern will help companies earn customers' trust – and keep it. In many cases, Hossack adds, customers are proving willing to share more information than has been requested of them – simply because a particular company has been upfront about its interest in their information.

“If you put that in the context of a bank, for example, by giving them a bit more information they can make more recommendations for you,” Hossack says. “Because they have your trust, they will be able to do more business with you.”

“You get customers' trust by showing them that you have a privacy framework framework which will govern the way you manage their information. The digital economy is where the growth is, and to get people to work in that digital economy with you – which means sharing information – you need to get their trust.”

Read more: Emerging technologies: Is this your company's biggest challenge?

There are still a few places available at the Privacy@Play summit; register here.

iappANZ Privacy Summit | Privacy@Play

The 2014 Annual iappANZ Summit, Key note speakers announced

Date: Monday 17 November, 2014
Time: 8.00am – 6.00pm
Venue: Heritage Wing, The Westin Hotel, 1 Martin Place, Sydney

View the program agenda of the key speakers for Privacy@Play, the 2014 annual iappANZ Summit.

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