Privacy Policy

Ad Standards respects your privacy.

Although Ad Standards is not an organisation that is subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (“Privacy Act”), we are committed to handling your personal information in a professional and respectful way.

The purpose of this Privacy Policy is to tell you about the way in which Ad Standards collects, uses, manages and discloses personal information in connection with its advertising complaints functions.

Personal information is that information which is associated with you and capable of identifying you.

Functions of Ad Standards

Ad Standards' primary function is managing the advertising complaint adjudication process as secretariat to the Ad Standards Community Panel, the Independent Review process and the Ad Standards Industry Jury. We also provide a Copy Advice service, and commission research on relevant matters.

In addition, Ad Standards receives complaints relating to advertising of alcohol beverages on behalf of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Management Committee (ABAC), and manages the complaints processes for the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising, Australian Food and Grocery Council’s (AFGC) Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative, and Australian Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children.

What personal information is collected?

Ad Standards collects personal information in the course of performing its functions and activities, which are detailed on our website.

The kinds of personal information routinely collected by Ad Standards include:

  • your name
  • your contact details including postal address, email, telephone and fax numbers
  • company/organisation details
  • complainants’ age and gender, and
  • complainants' opinions about the advertisement which is the subject of complaint.

Information you provide to us, for example when making a complaint, submission, general enquiry or assisting us with our inquiries or investigations, or using or requesting our services, may also be your personal information.

In some circumstances, you may provide us with personal information which is ‘sensitive information’. This is a subset of personal information and includes, for example, information or opinion about an individual’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs and sexual orientation or practices. Ad Standards will only disclose your sensitive information for the purposes for which you gave it to us, or for directly related purposes you would reasonably expect, or if the Privacy Act allows us to disclose it, or if you agree.

How is personal information collected?

Personal information may be collected through various means, either directly from you or from third parties.

For example, we may collect personal information when you:

  • visit our website
  • subscribe to our email alerts
  • complete an online form
  • send us an email
  • call us
  • send correspondence to our offices, or
  • when a third party sends us your complaint.

How is personal information used and disclosed?

Generally, when we receive personal information it is in relation to complaints about advertising. Therefore, at the broadest level, Ad Standards collects personal information for the primary purpose of fulfilling its functions and activities which may include:

  • to process and manage complaints, inquiries or requests
  • to provide our services to you
  • to improve our services, including conducting research and surveys
  • to refer your complaint or inquiry to a relevant body or organisation
  • for statistical and research purposes
  • to obtain professional services as required including legal, accounting or insurance services
  • if permitted or required by law
  • otherwise with your consent, or
  • for purposes directly related to any one or more of the above.

We will not send you unsolicited direct marketing emails, without your prior consent, unless we are permitted to do so by law. We will always give you the option to opt out of further communications.

Disclosure to third parties

In the course of our functions and activities and in order to serve you better, we may need to disclose some personal information to relevant third parties, which include: persons or organisations with whom we have agreements; regulators; complaint functions of related organisations that deal with advertising or marketing complaints; contractors; agents; advisors; and service providers.

For example, we may provide general personal information contained in your complaint, such as your family name, gender, age bracket and your State/Territory, to the advertiser concerned, and if required, other relevant third parties, for the purposes of complaint resolution and referral.

You have the right to request that your name remain confidential at the time of submitting your complaint. If you request that your name remain confidential, we will use best endeavors not to disclose your name to third parties when we discuss or refer your complaint to them. If your complaint is received by post, we will automatically treat your name as confidential.

Final reports prepared by the Community Panel, Independent Reviewer and/or Industry Jury concerning the determination of complaints are published on Ad Standards' website. These reports include extracts from the original advertising related complaint but will not disclose the complainant’s name or other personal information unless they have consented to the disclosure of that information.

In addition, where a complaint relates to advertising of alcohol beverages, Ad Standards receives the complaint on behalf of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Management Committee. All complaints about advertising of alcohol beverages are provided to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Management Committee and Complaints Adjudication Panel for investigation and, if appropriate, determination under the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.

In such cases, we use best commercial efforts to ensure that these third parties have a suitable privacy policy and/or will handle the personal information consistent with this policy.

Finally, we never use or share personal information provided to us in ways unrelated to our functions and activities. You can ask to be removed from our marketing/promotional mailing list (or from specific communications) at any time by sending a request to [email protected] (or by following the prompts in the relevant communication, where applicable).

How is personal information stored?

We take reasonable steps to protect personal information held from misuse and loss and from unauthorised access, modification or disclosure, for example by use of physical security and restricted access to records.

How can I access or correct my personal information? 

You may contact Ad Standards to:

  • request access to personal information held by Ad Standards and which relates to you; and/or
  • request that personal information held by Ad Standards and which relates to you be updated.

Requests for accessing and updating personal information should be directed to Ad Standards at the address below.

Ad Standards reserves the right to charge a small fee to cover the cost of providing access to personal information.

How can I make a complaint?

If you have any questions about privacy or wish to make a complaint about the handling of your personal information by Ad Standards, please contact us on the details provided below. We take such matters seriously and any complaint will be investigated by us.

Changes to the Privacy Policy

While it is not our intent to change this privacy policy frequently it may be necessary from time to time. Any updated version will be published on our website. Any changes to this privacy policy will become effective when we post the revised privacy policy on the website.

How to contact us

Should you wish to access or update your personal information, make a complaint or have other questions, requests or concerns in relation to the handling and use of your personal information or about this privacy policy, please contact:

Ad Standards
PO Box 5110
BRADDON  ACT  2612
Telephone: (02) 6173 1500
Email: [email protected]