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.

The most influential association in Australian communications, co-operatively initiating programs that promote sustainable industry development, innovation and growth, while generating positive outcomes for customers and society.  To create a co-operative stakeholder environment that allows the industry to take the lead on initiatives which grow the Australian communications industry, enhance the connectivity of all Australians and foster the highest standards of business behaviour.  For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

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Neeley Williams nwilliams@sefiani.com.au
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