Creation of a new forum for Australian regulators of digital platforms

Four national regulators have joined forces to establish the Forum of Regulators of Digital Platforms (DP-REG) to support a more unified approach to regulation.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) ​​and the Office of the Electronic Security Commissioner have partnered to work on areas of cross-interest.

The purpose of the Network of Regulatory Agencies is to encourage a streamlined and consistent approach to the regulation of digital platforms in Australia. Through the forum, officials from the ACMA, ACCC, OAIC and the Electronic Security Commissioner will share information and collaborate on how competition, consumer protection, privacy, online security line and data issues overlap.

In a statement, OAIC’s Angelene Falk said the forum wanted to build “a ring of regulatory defence” where online issues overlap.

“This is a targeted and flexible regulatory response to address the opportunities and risks posed by the pace and expansion of the digital economy,” Falk said.

“By sharing information and collaborating, we can better conduct smart regulatory activity, promote innovation and prevent harm. The use of data, including personal and sensitive information, can be very beneficial to the economy and the community, but the right protections must be in place.

The government is using a series of regulatory interventions to help protect Australians online in response to the 2019 Digital Platforms Survey Final Report produced by the ACCC and legislative reforms to establish an online safety regime. This new forum of regulators will work on these initiatives to “encourage innovation while balancing protections”.

The forum will also consider how best to manage the significant market power of large, complex and diverse multinational entities like Meta and Alphabet Inc.

“In line with the government’s deregulation program priority area of ​​streamlining overlapping regulation and reducing duplication, DP-Reg seeks to increase cooperation and information sharing among digital platform regulators across broad areas of intersection, including new and innovative regulatory approaches”, the terms of the reference reading group.

According to Falk, Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, the principles-based nature of privacy law has provided a level of flexibility for regulators to adapt and complement other legislation or regulatory frameworks dealing with related issues.

“Taking a collaborative and complementary regulatory approach, alongside strengthening Australia’s privacy regime through the Privacy Act Review, will deliver outcomes that protect and empower consumers and protect personal information wherever it travels,” Falk said.

Regulators plan to work with Global Privacy Assembly on privacy and consumer protection, online security and communications law.

“[This collaboration] will increase as we work together to achieve the best results in the public interest,” added Falk.


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