Our attention for sale: why the Big Tech advertising model needs greater scrutiny and regulation

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.

Tech Talk 2021: So did anything happen over summer?

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:

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The News Media Bargaining Code - FAQs

Our Position

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.


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Peter Lewis's 2020s vision: stop glibly signing over your data and take control

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.

Online games trapping children with tools designed to snare adults

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.

Read the full article on The Sydney Morning Herald

The government must make sure technology serves public interest. The alternative is a libertarian free-for-all.

From big tech to robodebt to My Health Record, Australians are rightly concerned about the automating of decisions.

Read the full article on The Guardian Australia.

Web inventor's plan to tame it - so we all 'play nice' - is frustratingly naive

Call it Oppenheimer’s remorse. The man credited with inventing the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee, has released a new blueprint on how to rescue us from his creation.

Read the full article in Sydney Morning Herald.

Happy Black Friday

Roundtable participant Bernie Smith from the SDA looks at the employment practices of Amazon on the busiest online shopping day of the year in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Unions are (badly) losing the data arms-race

An arms race is under way that will deeply affect the future for working people, in Australia, and everywhere.

It’s not about who is building next-generation nuclear weapons or who controls South-China Sea.

Instead, it’s a struggle over who controls data, who has the best data, how unions use data to achieve industrial and political objectives, how corporations use data to control workers, consumers and democracy, and how political parties use and regulate data.

The data-wars are here, workers are losing, and unions are being destroyed.

Read the full article by Alex White.

What if our personal data is less the ‘new oil’ and more like uranium?

Organisations are blundering about with our personal information with little idea of how to handle it safely, or even what to do with it.

Read the full article on The Guardian Australia.