July 27, 2018

Consumer Data and the Digital Economy

Australian consumers value their privacy, but our research finds that they don’t feel they have much choice about what data is being collected, who it is shared with, or how it is used. Over 94% of Australians did not read all of the privacy policies that applied to them in the last 12 months, and 95% supported companies transparently providing them with opt-out capability when it comes to data collection.

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Significant benefit and innovation can flow from open data. To deliver sustainable growth of new technologies and industries, it’s crucial that we put consumers in the driver’s seat. Australians are spending more of their lives online. 87% were active internet users in 20171, more than 17 million use social networking sites2, and 84% of Australians are now buying products online. Big Data is big business. In 2018 alone, revenue from the Big Data software market was estimated at $42 billion.

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation now provides EU consumers with new protections including greater transparency and control of data being collected about them by companies. In Australia, consultation is currently underway to establish a Consumer Data Right, an optional right for consumers to gain access to portability of their data. While a step in the right direction, it currently falls short of economywide protections for Australian consumers whose data is being collected, shared and used on a daily basis. Ensuring that we strike the right balance is crucial. For consumers to benefit, policy settings need to drive innovation, enhance competition, protect human rights and the right to privacy and, ultimately, enable genuine consumer choice.

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