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Digital Platforms and Privacy Issues in Australia


This webinar covers the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ('ACCC') final report for the Digital Platforms Inquiry ('the Report'), released in July 2019. Our speakers discuss the background and context of the Inquiry, and the key recommendations made within the Report. By looking at the impact the recommendations could have on the privacy landscape in Australia, our speakers provide an insight into the future of the Privacy Act 1988 (No. 119, 1988) (as amended) ('the Privacy Act'), competition and consumer rights, and enforcement in Australia.


Recommendations to amend the Privacy Act

The 23 recommendations outlined in the Report covered a broad range of areas, five of which were directly related to privacy. These include amendments to the Privacy Act, introducing a code of practice for digital platforms, granting statutory rights for serious invasions of privacy, and introducing civil penalties for unfair contract terms under consumer law. Importantly, our speakers highlight that these recommendations may have an impact on the wider economy, as changes to privacy legislation in Australia would affect all businesses. Similarly, alternations to contract terms under consumer law could include privacy policies, which would have an impact across numerous sectors and organisations.

Short and long-term amendments

The Report recommended short-term and long-term amendments to the Privacy Act. Our speakers highlight that the staggered alternations will be a challenge for businesses and organisations to manage. In the short-term, the Report suggests expanding the definition of personal data to include technical information such as IP addresses. In the long-term, rights such as data portability should be integrated into the Privacy Act.

Redefining the privacy framework in Australia

Our speakers explain that there is now the opportunity to redefine the Australian privacy framework. Among other suggestions, our speakers consider the negative impact of notice and consent models, and instead suggest 'no-go zones' which would establish clear categories of data which cannot be collected or processed. Our speakers highlight that in theory this could prevent consumers from being overwhelmed with consent requests, and in cases where consent is required, consumers can make an informed decision.

Consumer data rights

Our speakers also consider the importance of the Consumer Data Rights ('CDR') Regulation, which has further contributed to the need to expand the scope of privacy legislation to facilitate the growth of the digital economy in Australia, whilst protecting consumers' personal data.

Recent developments to consider

On 9 March 2020, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner released a statement on its legal proceedings against Facebook Inc. and Facebook Ireland Limited in the Federal Court of Australia, for alleged breaches of the Privacy Act. For more information on this development, read the full story here.


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Digital Platforms and Privacy Issues in Australia