Consumer Data Rights Bill Passes Federal Parliament
The Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill 2019 (Cth) (the “Bill”) is currently awaiting assent. The Bill passed the House of Representatives on 30 July 2019 and passed the Senate on 1 August 2019. The Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by the Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg and proposes to amend the following Commonwealth legislation:
- the Competition and Consumer Act 2010;
- the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010; and
- the Privacy Act 1988.
The Bill implements the National Consumer Data Right measure announced in the. An earlier version of the Bill was introduced in the previous session of Parliament, but lapsed on the dissolution of Parliament before the election.
Background to the Current Bill
The Explanatory Memorandum to the current Bill indicates the purpose of the Bill is to:
Technology news websitereports that the Bill will:
The Bill's Explanatory Memorandum also states:
Open Banking will be the first sector of the CDR to be introduced, and is expected to begin in February 2020.
Previous Reviews on Data Portability
The Explanatory Memorandum notes that a number of reviews have recommended data portability rights in specific sectors. Some of the reviews were:
- the Financial System Inquiry 2015;
- the Review of the Four Major Banks 2016;
- the Productivity Commission’s report on Competition in the Australian Financial System 2018;
- the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s report Affordable Capital for SME Growth; and
- the ACCC’s Electricity Supply and Prices Inquiry 2018.
Outline of the Proposed Amendments
The Bill indicates that proposed amendments contained in Schedule 1, Part 1 will make substantive amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) – mainly by inserting a new “Part IVD—Consumer data right”.
Amendments contained in Schedule 1, Part 2 make miscellaneous amendments to the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 and Privacy Act 1988 as well as further amendments to the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Government Reaction to the Bill
Commenting on the Bill in his speech, the Minister said:
Speaking tothe Minister said progress to the February  launch is "well advanced":
Public Comment and Reaction to the Bill
The ZDNetalso indicates that three of the Big Four banks have already made access available to generic product data for credit and debit cards, deposit accounts, and transaction accounts via an Application Programming Interface (API).
, the CEO of Data Republic is a supporter of the idea of giving consumers more control over their data and enabling data-sharing to happen more freely. He told ZDNet:
The Australian Privacy Foundation (the “APF”) made aon 1 March 2019 to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics, who were considering the first version of the Bill. The APF said in their submission:
Another ZDNet“protections inside the CDR are not strong enough to stop the practice of consumers being forced to sign consent forms”. The article also said that in the social media age, consumers are used to doing this, and may unknowingly hand their data over to additional parties.
The CDR will be regulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) and the Office of the(“OAIC”), with a new Data Standards Body developing standards for transfer and security.
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Treasury Laws Amendment (Consumer Data Right) Bill 2019 (Cth) – Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service