27 September 2023

New Forum of Four to boost digital control

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Four of Australia’s biggest digital platform regulators have teamed up to increase cooperation and information sharing.

Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims said the ACCC, Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner had together formed the Digital Platform Regulators Forum.

“The Forum will help to streamline our approach to the regulation of digital platforms in Australia,” Mr Sims said.

“Since the ACCC began examining digital platform services in 2017, we have observed harms to competition, consumers and business users in a range of areas dominated by large digital platforms,” he said.

“Collaboration with other Agencies who also have a role in regulating digital platforms is vital as we consider whether further regulatory reforms are needed to support competition and protect Australian consumers online.”

Mr Sims said that while the ACCC looked at digital platforms in relation to competition and consumer impacts, the other Regulators focused on regulating communication and media services, protecting privacy and promoting safety online.

Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk said the initiative would collectively ensure the best outcomes in the public interest for the community and those who were regulated.

“We are seeking to build a ring of regulatory defence where privacy, competition, consumer protection, online safety, communications and data issues intersect,” Commissioner Falk said.

“By sharing information and collaborating, we can better deliver regulatory activity that is smart, promoting innovation as well as preventing harms,” she said.

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant said the Digital Platform Regulators Forum would help counter the collective market power and influence of Big Tech.

Ms Inman Grant said a key focus of the Forum would be to consider how online safety, privacy and data protection, and competition and consumer protection intersected in the regulation of services like internet search engines, social media platforms, private messaging and online marketplaces.

Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin said the Forum would assist regulators to work more closely together to ensure that platforms met the standards expected of them by the Australian community.

The three-page Terms of Reference for the Digital Platform Regulators Forum can be accessed at this PS News link.

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