Privacy considerations for competitions

With Privacy Awareness Week commencing on Monday, 28 April 2013 it’s timely to have a look at the issue of privacy when conducting a competition.

Many companies are aware of and comply with their obligations under the Privacy Act and National Privacy Principles. These obligations are particularly important to consider when setting up a competition.

Competition entrants may not be aware of what a company will do with their personal information when conducting a competition and we certainly advocate for prior disclosure and openness.

Key questions to consider include:

How will we be collecting personal information?

Entrants are usually asked to supply personal information when submitting an entry into a competition. It is important to only collect personal information that is required to conduct the competition. If you are intending on using personal information for the purposes of marketing we would suggest you make sure entrants are fully aware of this and consent.

Do you intend on using an opt-in or require entrants to opt-out? The use of a tick box for opt-in to receive future marketing messages from your organisation is one way to make sure entrants are fully aware of your intention to market to them. If you are going to use electronic means to market to them, also ensure you comply with the Spam Act.

Will you disclose personal information?

Some disclosure of personal information may be required under a competition for it to be conducted effectively. For example you may disclose personal information to: i) prize suppliers, ii) the entity who will conduct the draw on your behalf, and iii) regulatory authorities.  Ensure that an entrant understands how you will disclose personal information.

Before setting up a competition you should check to ensure that these third parties have adequate measures in place to protect the personal information of entrants to your competition.

Will personal information be held securely?

Personal information can be very valuable and must be protected. When setting up your competition we suggest you give careful consideration to the security of the information you collect. A competition entry website should be protected as should any servers you use to hold personal information. After you have held the personal information for the period required under any trade promotion obligations it should be de-identified or destroyed.

Document it

A privacy policy is a must for any company looking to run a competition as is a Competition permit for any chance based competition. Your privacy policy is a document which clearly explains your position on the management of personal information.

Further information

For further information you may wish to contact:

Privacy Commissioner GPO Box 5218 Sydney NSW 2001

Privacy Hotline: 1300 363 992 Telephone: (02) 9284 9800 Fax: (02) 9284 9666