The Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) is a strong supporter of an unfair trading practices prohibition being introduced in Australia. This reform would address a gap in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and we are pleased to contribute to the ongoing consideration of this matter by Ministers responsible for consumer affairs across Australia and New Zealand.
In preparing this research and policy briefing CPRC has been assisted by Dr Katharine Kemp, Senior Lecturer, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Law (with research assistance from Ms Roseanna Bricknell).
The briefing also draws on consumer survey research recently published by CPRC. This research explored Australians’ knowledge, behaviours, and attitudes regarding data collection, sharing and use.
Our Research finds that Australian consumers consider data practices to be ‘deeply unfair’. Their views are not unfounded because the current framework is very much reliant on an analogue world and years behind the digital age and its complexities. Furthermore, the current laws fall way short to deal with concealed data practices, undermining consumer autonomy and exploitation.
Data and technology issues are a research focus for CPRC, including emerging risks and harms and opportunities to better use data to improve consumer wellbeing and welfare. CPRC therefore has a keen interest in how the national consumer policy framework can best fulfil its overarching objectives regarding effective competition, consumer confidence and fairness in the context of consumer experiences in digital markets.