Global data
protection policy

1. Scope

Everyone has rights with regard to how their personal information is handled, and we recognise that the lawful and correct treatment of personal data is vital to our continued success in an increasingly regulated global marketplace. “Personal information” (which is essentially any information which is capable of identifying a living individual is collected and processed every day in our business.  During the course of our activities we collect, store and process personal information about our staff, suppliers, customers and our customer’s clients; and we are committed to ensuring that it is treated in an appropriate and lawful manner.  

Iress Limited is our parent company based in Australia, however we have operations in several other countries, including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. This document does not set out a detailed explanation of the data protection laws in each country in which we operate, but its aim is to establish a uniform minimum standard which applies to all of our employees, agency and temporary staff, contractors, sub-contractors, consultants, suppliers and business partners who handle personal information, irrespective of where they are based.

2. When does this policy apply?

This policy applies when we are collecting and/or processing personal information, or where third parties are doing so on our behalf.  

What is personal information?

For the purpose of this policy, personal information is information which relates to living individuals (“data subjects”) who can be identified from that information, or from that information put together with other information to which we have, or are likely to have access.  

Personal information can include a wide variety of information, such as names, addresses (physical or email), telephone numbers, an identification number, location data, online identifiers and economic information. It can also include an opinion about an individual, their actions and behaviour.  Personal information which is more sensitive, could include details about a person’s health or genetics, racial or ethnic origin, gender, marital status, political opinions, religious beliefs and criminal background.  It is important for us to understand whether the nature of the personal information being processed is sensitive as this may impact whether we are able to lawfully process it, as well as the technical and operational measures we adopt to ensure the information is appropriately protected.

What is processing?

The definition of processing is very wide.  Activities such as obtaining, collecting, receiving, storing, recording, holding, using, disclosing, updating, hosting, analysing, viewing, accessing, making available, copying, transferring or deleting personal information can be considered “processing”. 

3.  Collection of personal information

In cases where we collect personal information from data subjects and we determine the manner and purpose for which it is processed, then we must ensure that we are open and transparent with data subjects by providing them with certain information regarding how we use their personal information (this is usually in the form of a ‘privacy notice’). 

The specific information to be included in a privacy notice can vary depending on where the data subject is located, and may also vary depending on whether we collect the personal information directly from the data subject, or we obtain it from a third party.  For more detailed advice on when a privacy notice is required and the specific information to be provided within it, please consult with the legal team.

In cases where we process personal information in connection with the services we provide to our customers, we rely on our customers to ensure that when they are collecting personal information they provide all required information to data subjects which is sufficient in scope to enable us (and, if relevant, any third party service/ data providers who provide services to that customer via Iress) to process the personal information in the course of the provision of services.  In some circumstances, and in certain jurisdictions in which we operate, it may be necessary for our customers to obtain the explicit consent of the data subject for Iress to process the data subject’s personal information. In these circumstances we will rely on our customers to ensure that such consents are in place. 

4.  Global data protection principles

Please note that in certain jurisdictions in which we operate, responsibility for compliance with the principles set out below will depend on the specific privacy laws of that jurisdiction and the capacity in which Iress is acting.  For example, in the United Kingdom not all of these principles may apply if we are acting only as a data processor. If you are in doubt as to which principles apply in light of the capacity in which you may be acting, please contact the legal team.

a)  Personal information must be processed fairly and lawfully - for personal information to be processed lawfully, certain conditions have to be met.  Whilst a common way of establishing compliance with this principle is to obtain the consent of the data subject to the processing, there may be another basis upon which we can rely to show that we are processing information fairly and lawfully – the legal basis’ to show lawful processing vary dependent on jurisdiction – examples include where the processing satisfies a legal obligation (as opposed to a contractual obligation), where the processing is necessary to enter into or carry out a contract to which the data subject is party (for example to process a job application or to administer employee pensions or payroll) or where the processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the data controller (except where those interests are overridden by the interests, rights or freedoms of the data subject).

Where we are carrying out processing activities on behalf of our customers we will rely on our customers collection of personal information, and the making available of such personal information to us, being in compliance with the fair and lawful processing principle.   

b)  Personal information must be processed for limited specified purposes - personal information may only be processed for the specific purposes notified to the data subject or for a purpose which is compatible with that specific purpose(s) or for any other purposes specifically permitted by legislation. This means that we must not collect personal information for one purpose and then use it for another. If it becomes necessary to change the purpose for which the information is processed, the data subject must be informed of the new purpose, and in some jurisdictions, this must happen before any processing for that purpose occurs.  

We must also ensure that where we are processing personal information in connection with services provided to customers we do so only in accordance with the purposes we have agreed with that customer – whether in our contract with that customer or otherwise.

c)  Personal information must be adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which it is processed – in circumstances where we collect personal information we should consider what is necessary to collect in light of the purpose of the processing. Personal information should not be collected for some general or as yet unspecified future use.  If there is no apparent need for the information being collected then it should not be collected - for example, we should not ask for or keep information about an employee’s religious or political beliefs, as this would not be considered relevant for the purposes of his or her employment.

d)  Personal information must be kept accurate and, where necessary, up to date – where we are collecting personal information reasonable steps should be taken to check the accuracy of any personal information at the point of collection and at regular intervals afterwards. Every reasonable step should be taken to ensure that personal information that are inaccurate or out-of-date is rectified or destroyed without delay. 

Where we are processing personal information on behalf of our customers we should ensure that we have appropriate processes in place to enable us to respond to a request to amend inaccurate data which we may process on our customers’ behalf.   

e)  Personal information must not be kept for longer than is necessary – personal information must not be kept in a form which permits identification of data subjects for longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the information is collected and processed.  Personal information should be destroyed or erased from our systems when it is no longer required, unless it is necessary to retain it.

Determining how long it is necessary to retain personal information can sometimes be difficult – and it should be noted that we may have certain legal obligations to retain personal information and/or documents for specified time periods before we are able to destroy them.  These legal obligations will mean that it is ‘necessary’ to keep the data for longer than we might otherwise require it. 

f)  Personal information must be processed in line with the data subject’s rights - data subjects generally have a right to:

  • request access to any personal information held about them (see paragraph 8  below – Dealing with Subject Access Requests).
  • prevent the processing of their personal information in certain circumstances - including for direct-marketing purposes.
  • ask to have inaccurate personal information amended, or to have any incomplete personal information completed.
  • object to or prevent processing of their personal information on reasonable grounds, including where the processing is likely to cause damage or distress to themselves or anyone else.
  • the right to request that personal information concerning him or her is deleted without undue delay.

In certain jurisdictions in which we operate, data subjects also have the right to obtain from the data controller a copy of all personal information which the data subject has provided to the controller in a structured, electronic format that is commonly used and which permits further use by the data subject.

Where we are processing personal information on behalf of our customers we should ensure that our systems and processes enable us to assist our customers in responding to requests made by data subjects exercising these rights. 

g)  Personal information must be kept secure - appropriate technical and organisational measures must be put in place to protect personal information against unlawful or unauthorised processing of personal information, and against the accidental misuse, unauthorised access to, loss of, or damage to, personal information. Procedures and technologies must be put in place to maintain the security of all personal information from the point of collection to the point of destruction. Maintaining data security means guaranteeing the confidentiality, integrity and availability of the personal information.

For more information on the steps we take to ensure the security of personal information we process please refer to our information security policies and procedures.

h)  Personal information should be transferred to third parties with caution – we must be transparent in relation to any transfers of personal information, and any transfer should be in accordance with what we have communicated to our data subjects (in a privacy notice or otherwise).   In certain jurisdictions in which we operate we must ensure that we do not transfer personal information to a third party unless the data subject has consented to such transfer.  

Where we are processing personal information on behalf of our customers, any transfers must be made in accordance with our contractual commitments, as well as any relevant privacy laws. Whenever we are transferring data to a third party who is acting as our sub-processor, care must be taken to ensure that any third party recipient treats information transferred to it appropriately – this is usually achieved through due diligence and a written agreement between Iress and the relevant third party (see paragraph 6 below).

i)  Personal information can only be transferred by Iress outside of the country in which it is collected in certain circumstances – as Iress is a global organisation this principle is particularly important to our business – we have therefore covered cross border transfers in more detail in paragraph 7 below.  

5. Data Protection Impact Assessment

Before commencing any processing which is likely to result in a high risk to data subjects, and when implementing major system or business change programs involving the processing of personal data (for example, new technologies, programs, systems or processes), Iress will review the envisaged processing to assess the privacy risks, and identify measures to address these risks and demonstrate compliance with the privacy legislation in the relevant jurisdiction.  

6.  Appointment of a third party to process data on Iress' behalf

Where we appoint a third party to process personal information on our behalf then we will put in place a contract with that third party which imposes certain obligations on that third party, including obligations to comply with security requirements, to process personal information only in accordance with our’ instructions and not to engage further sub-processors without our consent.   If a person to whom this policy applies is contemplating engaging a third party to process personal information on our behalf - whether personal information we collect, or personal information that we process on behalf of our customers – advice should be sought from the legal team to ensure we have appropriate contracts in place. 

7.  Cross border transfers

Transfer or transit?  

Any action that allows personal information to be accessed or makes the personal information available, or potentially available, to someone outside of the country in which the information was collected could amount to a ‘transfer’.

A transfer will not be deemed to have occurred if the personal information simply passes through another country on the way to a final destination unless some processing takes place in the other country en-route.  In the context of the electronic transmission of personal information, this means that even though information may be routed through a third country on its journey from one country to another, this mere transit through a third country/countries does not bring the transfer within the scope of the privacy legislation.  

Can information be transferred outside of the country in which it was collected? 

The rules in each jurisdiction are different, and a brief summary is below.  However, if you require specific advice regarding cross-border transfers please contact the legal team.

United Kingdom

Personal information may be transferred outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) if any one of the following conditions are met:

a)  the data subject consents;

b)  the European Commission has made a finding of adequacy in relation to the country to which the personal information is being transferred (note that findings have been made in Canada and New Zealand);

c)  the transfer is covered by standard contractual clauses approved by the European Commission; or

d)  for a transfer to the US – if the transferee has signed up to the Privacy Shield.  


Personal information may be transferred to an overseas recipient where at least one of the following applies:

a) the recipient of the personal information is subject to laws which uphold principles for the fair handling of the information and those laws are substantially similar to the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs); 

b) the individual consents to the transfer (noting that the organisation must, prior to receiving such consent, expressly inform the individual that if he consents to the overseas disclosure of the information, the organisation will not be required to take reasonable steps to ensure the overseas recipient does not breach the APPs);

c) a "permitted general situation" exists (this includes circumstances where disclosure is necessary to prevent a serious threat to life; where an organisation suspects unlawful activity; or where disclosure is necessary to establish or defend a legal or equitable claim). 

South Africa

Personal information may be transferred to an overseas recipient where at least one of the following applies:

a) the recipient of the personal information is subject to a law or contract which provides for an adequate level of protection;

b) the data subject consents to the transfer;

c) the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract, or for the implementation of pre-contractual measures at the data subject’s request;

d)  the transfer is necessary for the conclusion or performance of a contract concluded in the interest of the data subject between the responsible party and a third party; or 

e)  the transfer is for the benefit of the data subject and it is not reasonably practicable to obtain the data subject’s consent, and if it were reasonably practicable to obtain such consent, the data subject would be likely to give it.


The privacy legislation does not prohibit organisations from transferring personal information outside of Canada.  However, the transferring entity is accountable under the privacy legislation, and is expected to use contractual means to ensure a comparable level of protection of the personal information.  


Transfer of personal information out of Singapore is allowed, provided that the transfer is made in accordance with the requirements of Singapore privacy legislation to ensure that a comparable standard of protection is accorded to personal information that is to be transferred overseas.

New Zealand

Transfer of personal information outside of New Zealand is permitted provided that the country to which the data is transferred provides comparable safeguards to NZ privacy legislation and the transfer complies with the basic principles set out in paragraph 8 above.


Under Malaysian privacy laws, personal information may be transferred to jurisdictions outside of Malaysia if any one of the following applies:-

a) the data subject has given his consent to the transfer; 

b) were the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract between the data subject and the data processor;

c) where the data processor has taken all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to ensure that the personal information will be processed in a manner which would not contravene Malaysian privacy laws. 

Hong Kong

There are currently no restrictions for transfer of personal information outside of Hong Kong, however there are good practice guidelines (Personal Data Ordinance (Cap. 486) section 33) which suggest cross border transfers may only occur where an entity has obtained consent from the data subject, or, where the recipient resides in a jurisdiction with comparable safeguards.  

8.  Dealing with subject access requests

Any member of staff who receives a written request from an individual (whether an employee, a customer, a client of a customer, or any other individual) for information that we hold about them should forward it to the legal department immediately.   

9.  Implications of non compliance

The implications of non-compliance are serious, and range from regulatory enforcement action (the level of fine that could be imposed upon us in certain countries in which we operate is potentially very high), commercial penalties under our customer contracts, and reputational damage.

In some jurisdictions in which we operate, more serious contraventions could amount to a criminal offence and our directors could be found personally liable. 

Non-compliance with this policy by Iress employees can result in serious consequences including disciplinary action, and potentially dismissal.  

10.  Breach reporting

If you have any concerns in relation to data protection issues, you should report these concerns immediately to our Information Security team.  For more information on breach reporting please refer to breach reporting section of our Information Security Policy. 

In all cases we undertake to treat details of individuals who report matters with the utmost confidence. This means that your identity will not be disclosed unless it is absolutely necessary to do so and no-one within our business should feel at a disadvantage in raising legitimate concerns.

11.  Review of the policy

We will regularly review the effectiveness of this policy to ensure it is achieving its stated objectives and we will amend it from time to time. Any questions or concerns about the content of this document, or recommendations for any amendments, should be referred to the legal team.


[1]  In South Africa, the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (PoPI) gives a ‘juristic person’, which is defined as a company, entity, community or other legally-recognised operation, the right to the protection of its personal information.  This means that our South Africa operation must also safeguard the information it holds about customers who are companies, as well as business partners, vendors, suppliers and so forth. 

[2]  As well as juristic persons in South Africa.

[3]  Sensitive personal information is also known as a ‘special category of personal information’ under the General Data Protection Regulation.

[4]  This is not an exhaustive list of what may amount to personal information in each jurisdiction in which we operate. If you are in doubt as to whether information is included within the scope of this document, please consult the legal team. 

[5]  In the UK, this information must be provided when we collect personal information, or, if the personal information is obtained from a third party, within a reasonable period after having obtained it.  

[6]  When Iress does rely on consent as the basis of lawful processing, certain rules apply in relation to the manner in which we collect consent, particularly where data subjects are based in the EU.  For further information regarding the rules on collecting consent please consult the legal team.  

[7]  For those processing in the UK, please refer to our Data Retention Policy for further guidance on our legal obligations to retain certain documents and guidance on setting retention periods.

[8]  There may be grounds for refusing to comply with this type of request – for example, if the data remains necessary in relation to the purpose for which they were collected, if it needs to be retained for legal reasons or where the data controller has overriding legitimate grounds for the processing. Please consult the legal team if a request of this nature is received and further guidance is required.

[9]  Pursuant to the Malaysian privacy laws it a requirement to keep and maintain a list of any disclosures to third parties.

[10]  For those processing in the UK, please refer to the Data Protection Impact Assessment Checklist and Guidance for further information on when to carry out this type of assessment.

[11]  Case law in the United Kingdom has held that uploading personal information onto a web page only constitutes a transfer to a third country if the relevant web page is actually accessed by a person located in a third country. The process of merely uploading the data does not fall within the scope of the legislation.

[12]  If you are based in the UK, please refer to Iress’ policy on Subject Access Requests for further information.