The Consumer Data Right (CDR), which begins to come online mid-year, aims to give Australians more agency to access and control parts of their personal information. The idea is that easy access to consumer data will improve consumers’ ability to compare and switch between products and services. It is also meant to encourage competition between service providers, leading not only to better prices for customers but also more innovative products and services.
The government calls it a “game changer”, but critics fear that without careful consideration, it could have serious privacy implications, among other concerns.
On 26 November 2017, the Australian Government announced the introduction of a consumer data right in Australia. The government determined that the consumer data right will first apply to the banking sector, followed by the energy sector. Telecommunications is proposed to follow.
Under Open Banking, consumers will be able to access and safely transfer their banking data to trusted parties. Open Banking will be introduced in phases, with basic product information to be available from 1 July 2019. Consumer data for mortgage accounts, credit and debit cards, and deposit and transaction accounts are to be made available by 1 February 2020.
What It Means For You
As with any new law, there are concerns about unintended consequences — especially for vulnerable groups. It is important that consumers are not targeted for products are services based on their financial data. For example, low-income earners being targeted by payday lenders who would likely create larger issues with debt for the low-income person.
The CDR does have privacy safeguards built in: the use of CDR data for direct marketing is not allowed, for example, unless consented to by the CDR consumer. But consumer advocacy groups want more specific protections against practices that could exploit customers.
This is due to the common practice of “consenting” to a lot when we use online services and click “accept” on terms and conditions without reading them.
How could this affect privacy?
The CDR is not the only change we can expect when it comes to local data and privacy rules.
As the CDR is being developed, the competition regulator is taking a close look at Facebook and Google and their effect on Australia’s economy. It has suggested changes to our privacy laws may be needed, such as a right to delete your data.
The Government is also working towards legislation that will allow more public sector data to be shared.
If you have any questions about changes coming into effect, please reach out. We are always happy to have a chat!