Digital Platforms Inquiry sparks two reviews – Privacy Act and the Children’s Television Standards
In its response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry, the Australian Government committed to a review of the Privacy Act to better empower consumers, protect their data and best serve the Australian economy. Simultaneously, the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, directed ACMA to amend the Children’s Television Standards and the Australian Content quota system. The AANA has lodged submissions for both. Here are some highlights:
Children’s Television Standards Consultation
The Consultation will see the Australian Content and Children’s Television Standards merge and new rules be effective as of 1 January 2021. The changes introduces a new points system for Australian Content on television but the rules affecting advertising content remains largely unaffected. One major change is the definition of children changing and aligning with the AANA Codes definition of children. The rules within the Standard that deal with advertising content duplicate AANA Code provisions. AANA suggests that such rules around advertising content are better dealt with under the self-regulatory system which reflects changing community standards. Another change is the move away from regulating C and P rated timeslots to C and P rated programs.
Privacy Act Review
Some of the issues to be examined in the review include:
- the definition of ‘personal information’
- current exemptions, and
- general permitted situations for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
Whether the Privacy Act effectively protects personal information and provides a practical and proportionate framework for promoting good privacy practices including in relation to:
- notification requirements
- consent requirements including default privacy settings
- overseas data flows, and
- erasure of personal information.
Whether individuals should have direct rights of action to enforce privacy obligations under the Privacy Act. Whether a statutory tort for serious invasions of privacy should be introduced into Australian law.
AANA supports the call for globally consistent privacy and data transparency laws. A risk-based approach whereby Privacy rules provide companies with sufficient flexibility to process data based on likely impact on data subjects’ fundamental rights and freedoms is preferred.
- Data collection restrictions should not unduly restrict the ability to:
- Measure the effectiveness of advertising;
- Prevent criminals and other bad actors from profiting from digital advertising; or
- Improve the online consumer experience of advertising.
- Consent requirements should be based on real world evidence of human behaviour to balance responsible data collection with the need to avoid consent fatigue.
- A focus on enforcement of existing regulation is to be preferred over additional sanctions, both to punish offenders and to create incentives not to offend, with a particular focus on mobilising resources and applying sanctions that are commensurate to the seriousness of the potential risk, or of the damage caused.