News, Industry

Customer Data: What are my obligations?


More and more these days, customer data is an important tool for many sports. Data can be used for many purposes, including distributing newsletters, marketing and conducting research about what your sport is doing right, and where it needs to improve. It is important to remember that "personal information" is valuable to people, and should be treated accordingly.

Laws in this area regulate how sports clubs, teams and governing bodies collect, use and disclose data - as well as "spam" messaging and telemarketing calls.

These laws particularly focus on the use of personal information. While the phrase "personal information" has a particular legal meaning, it is generally a statement of fact or opinion that is recorded in some way and from which a person is identifiable. This includes all of the common types of information that sports bodies collect (and need) including names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Privacy laws also deal with topics you may not have considered to be as obvious including information that you have not specifically sought, when information should be destroyed and disclosing information outside of Australia.

One key step that sports bodies can take to ensure they are free to use data for particular purposes is by obtaining consent to that use from the person providing the personal information at the time they provide that information. Complying with your obligations under privacy laws can be ensured by using appropriate terms and conditions (eg for membership or a promotion) and having an up-to-date privacy policy. These documents should be carefully considered to ensure that your organisation has everything in order to allow you to (lawfully) send those important newsletters, distribute marketing material or send out promotional information on behalf of sponsors.

There are significant financial and reputational repercussions that can result from a sports body contravening the law and misusing customer data. The law also allows for fines to be imposed on your organisation, if it breaches the law in this area.

A little bit of forward-thinking and planning in ensuring these documents give your organisation the necessary consents to allow you to treat data how you wish and save major headaches from occurring down the line!

Tom Hickey

Lawyer

Lander & Rogers

Amelia Lynch | Head of Sports Business Group
+61 3 9269 9161
alynch@landers.com.au
Garth Towan | Senior Associate
+61 3 9269 9617
gtowan@landers.com.au
Simon Merritt | Lawyer
+61 3 9269 9579
smerritt@landers.com.au
Tom Hickey | Lawyer
+61 3 9269 9802
thickey@landers.com.au

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