Privacy Starts With Transparency: Privacy Awareness Week 2024

For Privacy Awareness Week 2024 (from 6-12 May 2024), organisations are being asked to ‘power up your privacy’. This sits under the overarching theme of Privacy and technology: Improving transparency, accountability and security.

We’re focusing on transparency in this blog post, including why transparency matters, some revealing case studies, and how businesses can navigate the future of privacy through the lens of transparency. 

What Is Transparency & Why Does It Matter?

In the privacy sphere, transparency means being open and honest with individuals about:

  • What personal data you collect 
  • Why you collect it. You must clearly outline your purposes for collection, including if you intend to use it for marketing, personalization, product improvement, and/or security
  • How you use it. You should detail if data is used internally, shared with or sold to third parties, or analysed for insights (especially if it’s being analysed by AI)
  • How long you keep it
  • Individual rights relating to how they can access, correct, or request deletion of their data.

Transparency is also an important part of getting consent. It should be clear when consent is required, and the consent should be freely given.   It should also be clear what the consent is for – ideally by being as specific and detailed as possible.

Why Transparency Matters:

When you’re upfront and honest with your customers about how you handle their information and why you collect it in the first place, you foster a sense of security and trust. 

This feeling in turn builds strong relationships where the people you interact with (website visitors, customers, potential customers, staff, partners etc) feel comfortable sharing their data with you, because they understand what you are doing and you have demonstrated a genuine commitment to collecting and using your customers’ information responsibly.

Transparent privacy practices can help you communicate the benefits of data sharing with your customers, which fosters a sense of collaboration – that you’re working with the customer instead of secretly collecting and using their data in ways they don’t know about or understand. 

Examples Where Companies Failed To Be Transparent

These are some of the higher-profile examples of where companies experienced consequences as a result of their failure to operate transparently:

  • Optus failed to disclose the extent of the massive data breach. Its communications in the aftermath of the breach exacerbated the hurt and frustration for many of the millions of affected Australians. More here.
  • Facebook did not initially disclose the full extent to which data provided would be used, resulting in the data of millions of Facebook users being harvested without their consent. You can read more about this in our earlier coverage.
  • The ongoing scruitiny into TikTok and its data practices is another great example. As a result of TikTok’s opaque privacy practices, governments and companies around the world are banning the app from being installed on the devices of workers in corporate/governmental departments. 

The Future of Transparency

The upward trend in adopting and implementing more transparent measures likely isn’t going away. Here are some ways we think transparency is going to change operations and customer expectations within the next decade:

  • Australian Privacy Laws may evolve to require clear privacy notices and greater individual control, including privacy dashboards and opt-out preference signals.
  • Both regulations and customer expectations around algorithmic transparency, including a general requirement for businesses to explain how algorithms use personal information.
  • Transparency by Design, whereby businesses adopt the practice of building in privacy from the outset and outline the benefit of this to customers (potentially via certifications). 
  • Increased adoption of privacy technologies focused on data minimisation and privacy-enhancing computation, enabling organisations to manage data responsibly while also achieving business purposes.  
  • Better financial outcomes for organisations that adopt transparent privacy practices.
  • Higher penalties for organisations that are found to overcollect personal information and/or retain personal information for longer than necessary. 
  • Increased consumer distaste for overcollection, opaque privacy practices, and failure to explain collection or obtain valid consent. We expect companies will need to be very clear about what data they collect, why they collect it, parties it will be shared with, and how it is protected, at a minimum. 
  • Increased uptake of privacy UX

Privacy Awareness Week runs from May 6 – 12, 2024.  More information here.


If you would like to uplift your organisation’s privacy practices, reach out. Our multidisciplinary team would love to help.

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Privacy, security and training. Jodie is one of Australia’s leading privacy and security experts and the Founder of Privacy 108 Consulting.