Privacy laws to be overhauled after ACCC inquiry

PRIVACY laws will be overhauled to "empower consumers" and "protect their data" as part of the federal government's long-awaited response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's world-first inquiry into Google and Facebook.

The ACCC will get $27 million for a new unit to monitor the digital giants and a deadline of November 2020 has been set for the tech titans and news media businesses to reach an agreement that addresses "bargaining power imbalances".

Scott Morrison in Melbourne today. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty
Scott Morrison in Melbourne today. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today unveiled an "implementation road map" after the ACCC handed its 623-page digital platforms inquiry report to the government in June and following a 12-week consultation period.

"Both the ACCC inquiry and the feedback from the consultation process emphasised that there is a need for reform to better protect consumers, improve transparency, address power imbalances and ensure that substantial market power is not used to lessen competition in media and advertising services markets," Mr Morrison said.

Several of the ACCC's 23 recommendations called for strengthening privacy protections.

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The PM today said he was initiating a review of the Privacy Act to ensure "privacy settings empower consumers, protect their data and best serve the Australian economy".

 

The implementation road map would include a "staged process to reform media regulation towards a platform-neutral regulatory framework covering both online and offline delivery of media content to Australian consumers," he said.

The ACCC had recommended a neutral framework.

It had also sought funding for a new digital platforms unit.

Mr Morrison said the unit's job would be to monitor and report on "the state of competition and consumer protection in digital platform markets, taking enforcement action as necessary, and undertaking inquiries as directed by the Treasurer, starting with the supply of online advertising and ad-tech services".


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