In our submission to the ACCC Digital platform services inquiry's latest report, we welcome the ACCC looking into the default product options on Android that have contributed to Google's anti-competitive market dominance.
The issue of Google’s default choice on Android has already resulted in a significant fine in Europe under antitrust law and the choice screen has been presented as a solution.
Over a year since its development, the European choice screen has proven to be inadequate, with Google’s design continuing to preference its own products, and many ‘alternative’ products actually remaining part of Google’s ecosystem.
The Centre for Responsible Technology recommends that the ACCC:
1) Following the €4 billion fine for anti-trust violations in Europe, consider whether Google is in breach of similar competition laws in Australia.
2) Define the parameters and specifications of the choice screen solution upfront as part of this inquiry rather than allowing vested interests to develop the choice screen themselves.
3) Monitor the effect of the choice screen on a quarterly basis to determine its effectiveness and performance, and adjust the design accordingly.
4) Recommend that the government develop incentives for competitors like DuckDuckGo to establish a more developed local presence and regional strategy in the Australian market.
Another fascinating fortnight of technology developments has passed, as Tech Talk unpacks social media ID checks, Amazon's union showdown, and defeating disinformation.Read more
Calls for stronger user identification and verification on social media as part of a parliamentary inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence has been criticised by the Centre for Responsible Technology and its affiliated experts.
Instead of trusting platforms like Facebook with proof of identity, there should be an equivalent to a Social Media AVO – or apprehended violence order – in which people who are subject to bullying, trolling and other unsafe behaviour could secure a legally enforceable order to the platforms to identify, suspend and delete accounts.
Read the full article on The Australian here.
As Jack Dorsey auctions off his first tweet, Donald Trump threatens to launch his own platform. Would the world be better with more and diverse platforms? Also Joe Biden unveils his new tech advisors - will they make a difference? And a new call to ban surveillance advertising - could Australia lead the way?Read more
We need to change our relationship with our data.
As part of the recent ACCC Digital advertising services inquiry, it was found that Google had complete monopoly over the complex and opaque "ad tech" system. Ad tech is the technology used to power Google's surveillance model.
The assumption to date has been that the Australian public will continue to be willing for their data to be harvested and monetised in this way.
New ideas like getting paid for our data, should be embraced.
The ACCC’s Digital Advertising Services Inquiry is a valuable addition to initiatives which seeks to correct the market imbalance caused by Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook.
The public doesn’t know that every time they visit a website with advertising, there is an invisible, real-time auction for their attention happening behind ad tech platforms. This automated trading floor takes bids from advertisers, companies and political parties who match their desired criteria to consumer online profiles and places a price on consumer eyeballs.
In our submission to this inquiry we recommend three key areas for development:
1) ‘Clean slate’ provisions which allow consumers the right to request deletion of their personal information that’s been collected by online platforms.
2) An independent consumer advocate with powers to help the public navigate the various commercial processing of their personal information/data.
3) Immediate enforcement of data separation, or setting purpose limitations of no data sharing between products of large digital platforms, including for all acquisitions, both old and new.
We also recommend streamlining initiatives with the Privacy Act review, and ensuring YouTube and Facebook are included in future developments in recognition of their outsized dominance in the ad tech space.
The first Tech Talk session for 2021 kicks off an explosive start to the year recapping the events that played out over summer including the passing of world-first legislation forcing Google and Facebook to pay for news - the News Media Bargaining Code.
Watch the first Tech Talk for 2021 below:Read more
The passage of the News Media Bargaining Code was an important first step in digital platform reform to address the monopoly power of Big Tech.
It is the product of an 18-month evidence-based inquiry by the ACCC which canvassed global efforts for regulation.
The ACCC recommended a range of reforms including:
- overhauling data privacy laws
- placing obligations on platforms to address misinformation and disinformation
- regulating the opaque ad-tech industry
- funding public broadcasting
- and creating tax incentives for philanthropic funding of journalism.
The Centre for Responsible Technology supports the Code as part of the broader package of reform to regulate the way Big Tech exercises its power in Australia.
In the era of surveillance capitalism, we need to create a new type of trust organisation – one that can properly protect and value our data.
Read the full article on The Guardian Australia.
In this era of hyper-connectivity, children have access to a world of information, images and stimuli, through devices that are the mandated anchor to their educational toolkit.
But through the same portal, children are drawn into a virtual world of games, chats and distraction, designed and operated for commercial ends.