Digital Platform Inquiry recommendations a shot in the right direction
There might not be a “single silver bullet” that can fix the current regulatory imbalance between digital platforms and traditional media, but recommendations outlined in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry report are a shot in the right direction, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said at the Melbourne Press Club this week.
The report — released last month — contained 23 recommendations, including the establishment of a new, platform-neutral regulatory framework that would ensure effective and consistent oversight of all entities involved in content production or delivery in Australia.
“We have also recommended an enforceable bargaining code administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority to ensure that media businesses are treated fairly, reasonably and transparently by the large digital platforms,” Sims said.
“This vital code will cover sharing of data, understanding elements of algorithm outcomes, not inappropriately impeding monetisation and overall value sharing.
“The codes we have recommended to government must be binding, legally enforceable and with meaningful penalties for breaching them.”
Sims said that while the digital platforms offer benefits with their ‘free’ services and most users now have some understanding of how their data is treated, the Inquiry found a substantial disconnect between how consumers think their data is used and how it is actually used.
“Few consumers are fully informed of, or can effectively control, how their data is collected, used and shared by digital platforms when they sign up for or use their services,” Sims said.
“Trust is at the heart of the digital economy. It is important that there is transparency over the collection and use of data so consumers can exercise real choices and have meaningful control over their data.
“It is very important to recognise the role digital platforms perform in our individual and collective lives, and for governments and us all to be proactive in anticipating challenges and problems,” Sims added.
According to Sims, well-structured regulatory frameworks can help society harness the benefits of innovation while protecting them from its potential harms.
“Our recommendations both precisely address the current problems and provide a continuing flow of information so that our government and our society can stay ahead of these issues,” Sims concluded.
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