CPRC’s research shows that Australian consumers want more choice, control and transparency over how their data is being collected and used. Reforms internationally, such as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, reflect major attempts to shift the power and control over data to consumers. How we ensure this occurs in Australia, while facilitating innovation and competition, is a critical question for those working in business, the community sector, regulators, policymakers and academia.
Join Australia’s leading researchers, regulators, advocates and businesses to discuss the evolving consumer policy & practice landscape across the fields of privacy, competition and consumer law, data ethics, machine learning and open data.
Consumer data and regulatory reform
Mr Rod Sims
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Big Data: A human rights perspective
Mr Ed Santow
Human Rights Commissioner
Australian Human Rights Commission
Consumer expectations, current practice and the policy landscape
Ms Lauren Solomon
Chief Executive Officer
Consumer Policy Research Centre
Panel 1: Consumer data — Innovation in practice
Innovations in technology and ‘big data’ now enable organisations to collect, analyse and use data in ways that can deliver significant benefits to consumers. Improved consumer experience, more efficient service delivery and investment, along with more relevant recommendations are just a few. Hear from those working at the cutting edge of new technologies that are transforming the consumer landscape:
Mr Harshu Deshpande, Managing Director, Custom Development & Open Source Alliance, Accenture
Ms Andrea Lau, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Small Multiples, and
Mr Nigel Dobson, Banking Services Domain Lead, Digital Banking, ANZ.
Panel 2: I know you can do that with data, but should you?
Consumer data collection, sharing and use practices have evolved dramatically in recent times. Emerging practices have pushed the boundaries of existing protections with privacy, consumer protection and competition frameworks all being tested. How could data ethics, privacy and competition principles be applied to ensure data collection, sharing and use benefits consumers and society? Hear from Australia’s leading academics:
Dr Katharine Kemp, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, UNSW Sydney
Prof James Arvanitakis, Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Graduate Studies), Western Sydney University, and
Dr Monique Mann, Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow Technology and Regulation, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology.
Mr Drew MacRae, Policy & Advocacy Officer, Financial Rights Legal Centre.
Panel 3: Putting consumers in the data driver’s seat
For consumers to reap the benefits of the ‘big data’ economy, transparency and greater control over data collection, sharing and use practices are essential. Empowering consumers with the tools, information and resources they need to make informed choices means building better interfaces, systems and processes. How can policymakers and businesses improve consumer comprehension and control? Hear from experts in the field:
Dr Kerry Taylor, Associate Professor, Data Science, Convenor, Postgraduate Programs in Applied Data Analytics, ANU
Prof Marcus Foth, Founder and Director of the Urban Informatics Research Lab, Queensland University of Technology, and
Dr Suelette Dreyfus, Lecturer, School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne.
Associate Prof Shanton Chang, School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne.
Join us for a cross-sector event with Australia’s best and brightest who have been turning their minds to key questions on data.
Australian consumers feel uninformed, unprotected and powerless when it comes to Big Data, new research from Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) has found.
Surveying the digital behaviours of 1004 Australian consumers over the past 12 months, CPRC found that:
- Only 6% had read the Privacy Policies or Terms and Conditions for all the products they signed up to.
- 70% were uncomfortable with basic data, such as purchase histories and location data, being shared. Over 85% opposed personal information, such as phone contacts and messages, being shared.
Consistent with our early adoption of new technologies, Australians are big digital platform users with most respondents reporting use of Google suite (99%), online shopping websites (89%), mobile applications (89%), Facebook (81%), and Flybuys or Everyday Rewards supermarket loyalty cards (78%).
Australians want greater control over how their data is collected, shared and used.
CPRC’s study, conducted by Roy Morgan Research, found that among Australian consumers:
- 95% wanted companies to provide opt-out options for data collection, while 91% wanted an option for data to be collected only for the purpose of delivering the product or service.
There was also a clear expectation that Governments will intervene to protect consumers:
- 73% of those surveyed wanted companies to be required by regulation to give consumers opt-out capability over what data they provide, how it can be used, and if it can be shared.
- 67% expected Government to develop protections to ensure that consumers are not unfairly excluded from essential products or services based on their data and/or profile.
Find the full summary of CPRC research findings here:
CPRC Chief Executive Officer Lauren Solomon commented:
“Consumers desperately want greater transparency, choice and control over how their data is collected and used. Right now, it’s often a case of, ‘Take it or leave it. Agree to our terms or you get nothing.’ There’s a massive gap between public expectations and current practice.
“We’re seeing growing distrust because consumers feel that they simply have no choice. This lack of control was best characterised by one research participant who said, ‘I just close my eyes and don’t think about it.’ In the Australian digital economy genuine consent still seems like a fiction.”
“There’s a clear expectation for Government to take an active role in helping to protect consumer data. The establishment of a Consumer Data Right in Australia is a good step forward, but this alone is not the solution. A national conversation about how Big Data is fundamentally changing our markets is long overdue.”
National data conference
CPRC will bring together leading researchers, policymakers, regulators, and members of the business and community sectors for the query:data national data conference in Melbourne on 16 July 2018.
This survey of 1004 Australians was conducted for CPRC by Roy Morgan Research from March to April 2018.
Australia is lagging other countries in its understanding of the impacts of ‘big data’ collection and consumer profiling, the Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) today warned – prompting the organisation to kick off a new research program and offer a $100,000 research grant.
CPRC Chief Executive Lauren Solomon pointed to data ‘warehouses’ in the US that now hold 1500 pieces of information on about 96 percent of residents from which detailed consumer profiles can be built, and said that it would be incredibly naive to think this sort of amalgamation was not also occurring in Australia.
“A recent study by the Office of Australian Information Commissioner found that 79 percent of Australians were uncomfortable with businesses sharing their information with other businesses, but 65 percent of us admit to not reading privacy policies,” Ms Solomon said.
“Buried within terms and conditions and privacy policies, we’re increasingly finding clauses that give consent to companies to acquire and share data about our preferences, behaviour and attributes. From loyalty programs, to the apps we download, to eligibility screening for products and services, data is featuring everywhere.
“Some aspects of big data and consumer profiling can absolutely deliver positive outcomes for consumers, such as: more relevant movie or product recommendations, improved user experience, or enabling better comparisons of products and services.
“What’s troubling, however, is that globally we’re seeing a trend towards personalised pricing – techniques where products can be pitched at the individual’s ‘maximum willingness to pay’, based on profiles that have been built by mining all this data we have unwittingly provided.
“For people who may have gone through a rough patch, or are disadvantaged, the evidence from overseas suggests that they can be left behind. This includes having trouble getting access to the full suite of goods and services, or being charged more for the same products than their neighbours,” she said.
Another concerning aspect identified by the European Union is the harvesting of personal and consumer data about children. The EU is moving to impose restrictions on the processing of children’s personal data with changes to the General Data Protection Regulations that will take effect in May.
“Global consulting groups, international experts and regulators are highlighting the need to carefully consider how we manage consumer data, but we’ve yet to really start talking about it in Australia,” Ms Solomon said.
“Big data can absolutely yield big benefits, but we do need to have a national conversation about what sort of consumer markets we want in the new digital economy. Will they be inclusive? And will consumers have real choices over how their data is used and shared? Ultimately, this is about protecting a fair go for all consumers.”
To kick-start the conversation, CPRC today announced a $100,000 research grant seeking the expertise of an interdisciplinary team of Australia’s best and brightest researchers to explore the impacts of data collection and consumer profiling in Australia.