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May, 2024

ACCC publishes interim digital platforms report, raises concerns over consumer data collection practices

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published the initial findings of its digital platforms services inquiry, raising concerns over consumers’ lack of visibility and choice in data collection practices.

In the executive summary of the consumer watchdog’s eighth interim report on the progress of the inquiry, ‘Interim report 8: data products
and services – how information is collected and used by data firms in Australia’, the ACCC acknowledged the importance of data collection to governments and businesses, but noted that it is often collected without consumers’ genuine awareness, or used in ways they do not expect or consider reasonable.

The report analyses matters relating to the supply of data collection, storage, supply, processing and analysis services, and conducts that analysis with reference to firms that supply those services.

It points to the difficulties consumers facing in understanding or controlling what happens to their data after it is collected, emphasising the significant impacts that data breaches and misuse of data can have on individuals and businesses. It can also have implications for consumer protection and competition, as well as privacy, data protection and broader issues such as national security.

The Issues Paper for the Report identified 9 firms as illustrations of firms operating in Australia which the ACCC considered provided the types of data products and services that are within the scope of the Inquiry. Those firms which were not intended to represent a comprehensive list of firms that provide data products and services include credit reporting agencies: Equifax, illion and Experian, property data firms: CoreLogic and PropTrack, and data analytics and other data firms that supply data products and services: Oracle, Quantium, LiveRamp and Nielsen.

The ACCC outlined the purpose of identifying particular firms as being to illustrate to stakeholders the kinds of data products and services offered by these and other firms in the industry.