Friday 26 July 2019 – Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) welcomes the release of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report.
CPRC CEO, Lauren Solomon highlighted the national and international significance of the report. The growing harms from the information and power imbalance between digital platforms and consumers requires a coordinated and significant policy response.
“Australian consumers are long overdue the added protections now required in the digital age, similar to measures that have already been introduced in the EU and US,” said Ms Solomon.
“We welcome the ACCC’s Final Digital Platforms Inquiry Report and the explicit acknowledgement of market and regulatory failure in Australian personal data collection practices. The ACCC have also highlighted that our Privacy Act is likely not fit for purpose in this new environment, recommending broader review of objectives and scope.”
“Our research found consumers are in the dark about how much data is being collected, who it’s being shared with and what it’s being used for. More than 95% of those we surveyed wanted more options to opt out of data collection, and 91% wanted only the data required to deliver the service to be collected.”
“The speed and scope of transformation in the digital economy is creating distinct policy challenges. Globally, governments and businesses are recognising the need for government intervention. Reforms need to be focussed on transparency, protecting fundamental human rights, preventing exploitation and ensuring consumers gain a fair share of the value generated by new data-fuelled technologies.”
“CPRC strongly supports the recommendations contained in this report. If adopted, this will be a step in the right direction to ensuring we have appropriate economy-wide protection framework to protect consumers while enabling innovation to thrive and economies to grow. The digital economy simply cannot operate without the trust of consumers and the broader community in the long-tem.”
CPRC’s A Day in the Life of Data report released in May 2019 lifted the lid on the scale and scope of data being collected, shared and used without explicit consumer knowledge or consent. And our Consumer data and the digital economy: Emerging issues in data collection, use and sharing report released in July 2018 highlighted just how frustrated consumers are with the lack of control and choice about what happens to their data and personal information.
Many of CPRC’s key recommendations and research findings were consistent with the ACCC’s report, including:
Addressing unfair and exploitative practices.The ACCC recommends that unfair contract terms be illegal rather than just voidable. The introduction of a general unfair trading prohibition is also going to be key to protecting consumers from manipulation and exploitation.
Key findings from CPRC research – A Day in the Life of Data (May 2019):