Australia's Competition Watchdog Puts Data Brokers on Radar

(Reuters) – Australia’s Competition Watchdog asked businesses, consumers and other stakeholders on Monday to share their opinions about the data brokering practices in order to regulate Australia’s digital platform service sector.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will examine products and services provided by major data brokers, including Oracle, Equifax and Ireland-based Experian, as well as global tech firm LiveRamp, among others, to produce a sector report.

ACCC Chair Gina Cass Gottlieb stated that "there is little awareness and transparency of how data brokers work in Australia, despite the large amounts of information collected about Australian consumers. They also play a central role in enabling information exchange between businesses."

Data brokers gather personal information about customers, including their browsing and buying behaviours from various sources like mobile apps, social media websites and card payment providers.

The ACCC stated in a press release that the report would examine how third-party brokers use data to create products and service and whether there are any competition or consumer issues.

The digital platforms branch of the regulator has conducted a five-year investigation until 2025 in order to investigate the markets for digital services.

The report will be aimed at businesses who collect data from third party sources, share it with other organisations or sell it to them. This is in case there are any issues arising from the report regarding competition and customers. The ACCC said that the report will be delivered to the treasurer by March 2024.