handle confidential customer data in accordance with privacy laws

All businesses value their know-how, customer details, products, inventions, and business data.

Most businesses regard this information as confidential or secret.

But is it? What can be protected as a trade secret or confidential information?

Broadly speaking confidential information and trade secrets comprise information that is not common knowledge. It is something that has been brought into existence by the application of skill and ingenuity. Examples would include client information, manufacturing methods and processes, ideas for new products etc.

Protecting your business’s trade secrets and confidential information has become increasingly important because of developments in the means of storing, processing and retrieving enormous quantities of data and information.

There are laws setting out how Australian businesses handle personal information, confidential data as well as access to information, on the OAIC website.
In particular, the website outlines in more detail, specific guidelines and definitions relating to the Australian privacy principle guidelines as they apply to the OIAC’s powers under the Privacy Act (1988).

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The following steps should be taken to protect your trade secrets and confidential information:

  1. Individual confidentiality agreements should be signed or alternatively incorporated in employment contracts.
  2. Make sure that only people within your business know the information.
  3. Limit the number of people who have knowledge of the information within your business.
  4. Take measures to guard the secrecy of the information.
  5. Consider whether in addition to confidentiality agreements you should have a restraint agreement.

A confidentiality agreement is a cost effective way to protect your trade secrets and confidential information. Everyone who has access to sensitive information should sign a confidentiality agreement.

For further information please visit our page on Trademarks
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By Andrew Lord

Andrew heads Lord Commercial Lawyers as Director and has been in the Legal Industry for over 40 years.

Updated on May 16, 2024


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