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Gov to stick to current plan on regulating ‘big tech’ – Strategy – Software

The government will not deviate from its current course in regulating ‘Big Tech’ despite the findings of a senate committee examining the influence of large technology companies.

Gov to stick to current plan on regulating 'big tech'

On Friday, the senate economics references committee handed down its final report [pdf] into the Influence of International Digital Platforms.

They include establishing a new digital platforms coordination body, improving data collection and algorithm transparency, creating a “right to delete” data for users, and improving dispute resolution avenues.

However, the committee’s work is unlikely to be implemented, with government senators of the opinion that the report covers much the same ground as the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiries, which form much of the basis for current policy.

The committee had an LNP majority, with representation from only two government senators and a Greens senator. 

“This committee inquiry has significant parallels to the findings and recommendations of the ACCC’s inquiries, which are being consulted on and developed by the government, and the review of the Privacy Act which is also being implemented by the government,” the two Labor senators wrote in an addendum.

“Government senators are of the view the government should continue to prioritise the findings and recommendations of the ACCC and the Privacy Act review, a sentiment shared by many witnesses to the inquiry.

“Government senators are of the view that the government should also continue to understand and learn from regulation pursued in other jurisdictions and integrate this with domestic regulation where appropriate.”

The inquiry heard from stakeholders and industry leaders, some of whom “raised concerns that the current digital platforms sphere involves duplicated and overlapping regulations, and there is a need for a coordinated approach to digital regulation.”

“Significant regulatory gaps were also highlighted in evidence to the committee,” the report states.

Proposed solutions by industry to combat many issues raised include upskilling and empowering existing regulators, such as the ACCC or Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

It was also suggested “better coordination between regulators and policy makers” is needed, with the committee suggesting “the creation of a new model of coordination between existing regulators and policy makers”.

“The committee found that the current legislative and regulatory framework is not sufficient to ensure positive outcomes for consumers and competition. In short, it is fragmented.”

The committee noted upskilling alone will not resolve regulatory gaps and said it “considers that a new regulatory regime could address fragmentation and bolster regulatory efficacy.”

Chair of the committee, senator Andrew Bragg said that “with all Australians interacting with at least one big tech platform daily, it is important that regulations reflect this market concentration and influence.”

“They live under our roof, they must play by our rules,” he wrote.


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