INDUSTRY CALLS FOR CLARITY ON PLANNED “CONSUMER DATA RIGHT”

Sydney, 27 November 2017 - Communications Alliance today called on the Federal Government to clarify its intentions around the planned introduction of a ‘consumer data right’ to apply to consumers of services including telecommunications.

The Government has announced it plans to legislate in 2018 following the May 2017 recommendations of the Productivity Commission (PC) to give consumers the right to request key data in a digital format to be made available to them or to a third party of their choice - the objective being to facilitate consumer switching between providers of key services such as banking, energy and telecommunications.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said government should confirm that – as recommended by the PC – industry will be given responsibility to define the data set that will be made available to consumers, subject to regulator approval.

“There are many categories of data that simply are not relevant to the task of informing consumers about their usage of services and which would needlessly drive up the cost to service providers of complying with the proposed legislation,” Mr Stanton said.

“It should also be recognised that the telco industry already gives consumers extensive access to billing information and has in place mechanisms – such as the world-leading Mobile Number Portability process - to make it easy for customers to switch providers.

If not managed correctly, the planned new regime will create ‘compliance jeopardy’ and potential confusion because disclosures by service providers are already regulated by the Telecommunications Act, the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, the Privacy Act and multiple industry regulators.

“Industry supports the top-line objective of the PC recommendations, but we need clarity from Government if we are to be able to help avoid the legislation becoming a costly exercise in unintended consequences.”

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body  in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about  Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani Communications
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558