Data Bill: human rights for the digital age

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MEDIA RELEASE While the introduction of the Consumer Data Right Bill into parliament has been delayed, it needs to be a priority for the government in 2019, as it is welcome first step in addressing the imbalance of bargaining power between the holders and subjects of data, says Jonathan Steffanoni, principle consultant, legal and risk, with QMV.

“The Consumer Data Right could be described as the first new human right for the digital age. This Bill – along with Open Banking – puts the power back in the hands of the people.

 “Australia has shown global leadership in creating an economy-wide right for consumers to have greater control over their data, and it is disappointing that this Bill was not introduced into parliament last week,” he says.

 Open Banking and the Consumer Data Right is part of competition policy intended to ensure the power relationships in the economy do not become unbalanced and out of whack.

“The Consumer Data Right intends to address the problem of too much information being concentrated within the control of a small number of organisations, stifling competition, innovation and efficiency in the economy.

“Data has become a valuable commodity which forms the lifeblood of the information economy, the domain of many of the most powerful organisations, including financial institutions.

 “Getting the data related regulatory settings right is an important component of ensuring that there is adequate competition in the information economy. 

“Those who control data will find themselves in positions of great power and commercial advantage. There has been a proliferation in data production and capture, and much of this is controlled by tech and financial institutions.”

Mr Steffanoni says the Consumer Data Right and Open Banking will change the technical and competitive landscape for superannuation funds. 

“The limited commencement of Open Banking from 1 July 2019 will create a window of competitive opportunity for businesses to become accredited data recipients and utilise the rich financial data which will be shared under the Consumer Data Right.

“Following this, the inevitable prospect of Open Super is primed to supercharge innovation and competition in the fintech, regtech, and financial services industries,” he says.

 While Open Banking is the first iteration of the Consumer Data Right, utilities and telecommunications will also follow, Mr Steffanoni says.

 “While data sharing is not new, the Consumer Data Right will provide consumer with greater control and confidence over the uses of data which they choose to share.”