Australian online regulators have formed the Digital Platform Regulators Forum (DP-REG), intended to increase cooperation and collaboration between their operations.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) are members of the new forum, each with its own areas of regulatory authority.
Regulating the online world often involves many specialized agencies and many blind spots. For example, the ACCC and the OAIC both have rules that could, in theory, overlap online (one focusing on competition and consumer rights and the other on privacy and freedom of communication). information) but also, once the matter starts moving out of the scope of one organization, then it becomes an issue that they can’t really do much about, entering the domain of another organization.
When specialty begins to slip from one body to another, it can be difficult to enforce the law online. Thus, DP-REG.
DP-REG is an initiative involving the aforementioned independent regulators, set up as a forum for collaboration and information sharing on overlapping issues and activities, centered on the regulation of digital platforms. It is not a decision-making body and is simply a way for online regulators to work together.
“The new Digital Platform Regulators Forum aims to increase cooperation and information sharing among digital platform regulators on common areas of our work, including approaches to regulation,” said Rod SimsPresident of the ACCC.
“Digital platforms are playing an increasingly important role in the lives of Australians for information, entertainment and social contact with family and friends,” said Nerida O’LoughlinPresident of the ACMA.
“We seek to build a ring of regulatory defense where privacy, competition, consumer protection, online security, communications and data issues intersect,” added Angelene Falkcommissioner of the CATO.
DP-REG members will meet every two months to discuss cross-cutting issues, although ad hoc meetings may also be considered. In addition, the DP-REG will be headed by a rotating president, supported by a rotating secretariat, both rotating every six months. Each member will have to designate a president and a secretariat. The forum will consider his Terms of reference annually.
If you want a vivid example of where some of these bodies may intersect, consider Australian social media regulation, which often encompasses issues of consumerism, competition, privacy, protection, online safety, communication and data.
As you may know, platforms like Facebook have come under intense scrutiny from Australia’s online regulators, which is why a forum like DP-REG needs to exist.
“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 added.
We will keep our eyes peeled for what this forum will accomplish and where it will lead. In the meantime, you can read the joint statement of all member organizations here.