The federal government’s response to the ACCC digital platform inquiry – What changes can we expect?

On 12 December 2019, the Federal Government released a statement in response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry final report. This final report outlined a total of 23 recommendations made by the ACCC specifically targeting how digital platforms such as Google and Facebook use consumer data, regulation of their growing market power and how they deal with intellectual property issues. We previously made a submission to the inquiry.

In the statement, the Government acknowledges that Digital Platforms are an essential part of modern business. They state that data is the resource that fuels this digital space and therefore requires appropriate regulatory measures to ensure consumers and businesses alike feel secure in engaging with Digital Platforms.

In response to the Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Government outlined a roadmap for reforms and work that will achieve some of objectives outlined in the inquiry. They have stated that some of these commitments allow for immediate action and others will require work over 2020 and 2021. Some of the Government’s commitments include to:

  • establish a special ACCC unit to monitor and report on the state of competition and consumer protection in the digital platform markets, take enforcement action and undertake inquiries – commencing with the supply of online advertising and adtech services. The Government is committing $27 million over the next four years for the creation of this new Digital Platforms Branch;
  • consult on draft legislation to amend the Privacy Act to increase penalties to match penalties under consumer law. The new law’s will also introduce a binding privacy code that will apply to all platforms that trade in personal information;
  • commence a staged process to reform media regulation towards an end state of platform-neutral regulatory framework covering online and offline delivery of media content to Australian consumers; and
  • address concerns relating the bargaining power between digital platforms and media businesses. The Government intends to task the ACCC to facilitate the development of a voluntary code of conduct.

We note that this statement and plan is in its initial stages but nonetheless intends to significant alter the Consumer and Privacy Law landscape. Stayed tuned for updates from Gladwin Legal regarding this topic.

Gladwin Legal are experts in consumer and competition law and privacy law and can assist in ensuring that you are complying with the new privacy laws as they happen.  If you would like to know how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us at rosalyn@gladwinlegal.com.au or give us a call on 1300 033 934 for a no-obligation quote.