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ACCAN has recently made a submission to the House Select Committee on Social media and Online Safety.

In our submission we acknowledged the need for greater community protections from unwanted and unexpected harms resulting from Australian’s growing use of digital platforms. We highlighted the need for strong community representation in policy decisions relating to digital platforms.

Our November 2021 Digital Platforms research informed our position and our recommendations for the Committee’s consideration.

ACCAN recently made a submission to the Attorney-General’s second round consultation on Australia’s Privacy Act(1988). The discussion paper made a number of proposals developed in consideration of the feedback to the first round of consultation in late 2020. ACCAN had made a comprehensive submission to this first round, and we were pleased to see that many of the proposals put forward in the second round positively reflected our positions.

These included clarification and an expansion to the definition of Personal Information; a requirement that privacy notices must be clear, current, and understandable; and an inclusion in the Act that Consent be defined as voluntary, informed, current, specific, and an unambiguous indication through clear action.

Download: ACCAN Privacy Act Submission January 2022

Download: pdfACCAN Privacy Act Submission January 2022.pdf379.62 KB

Recently, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) requested comment on a Ministerial Instrument which will help telecommunications providers to properly authenticate their customers and protect consumers against fraudulent activity and misuse of their telco accounts.

ACCAN recently made a submission to the Attorney General’s consultation on the Online Privacy Bill Exposure Draft.

ACCAN supports the implementation of online privacy protections and was pleased to see the following initiatives have been included in the Bill,

The superfast broadband access service (SBAS) is a declared wholesale access service that Retail Service Providers (RSPs) can use to supply fixed line superfast broadband services to end users. In July 2021, the ACCC extended the SBAS declaration to regulate non-NBN fixed line superfast broadband services until July 2026. This means that RSPs have the right to access the SBAS. The ACCC is now holding an inquiry regarding the terms and conditions relating to access of this service.

In our response to the ACCC’s discussion paper, we recommended that:

ACCAN’s Indigenous Steering Committee has provided a response to the National Indigenous Australian Agency’s consultation on the development of an Indigenous Digital Inclusion Plan (the Plan). The Plan is intended to focus on access, affordability and digital ability as the three key elements of digital inclusion. It will also consider what data is needed to measure improvements in First Nations digital inclusion.

ACCAN’s Indigenous Steering Committee has recently been formed to guide ACCAN’s work to close the digital divide for First Nations peoples. Dr Heron Loban of Griffith University chairs the Committee, which is comprised of First Nations peoples with expertise and interest in telecommunications issues.

ACCAN recently made a submission to the eSafety consultation on the Draft Restricted Access System Declaration 2021. The Declaration updates the 2014 Declaration to align with the changes in the Online Safety Act 2021. ACCAN broadly supports the Draft Declaration. However, we did reiterate our concerns that aspects of the enforcement mechanisms are unlikely to result in the intended outcome of greater community protection.

ACCAN recently made a submission to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications consultation on the Online Safety (Basic Online Safety Expectations) Determination 2021 exposure draft. The consultation provided an opportunity to comment on the government’s expectations on how online services should pro-actively act to protect Australians from online harm and abuse.

ACCAN recently made a submission to the eSafety Restricted Access System (RAS) consultation. The consultation sought feedback on how the new RAS can best balance both the policy objective of keeping children and young people safe online, while not placing unnecessary financial or administrative burden on industry.

The ACCC sought views on proposed amendments to the Audit of Telecommunications Infrastructure Assets – Record Keeping Rules. The record keeping rules require carriers and carriage service providers to keep records on the location of their infrastructure and provide this information to the ACCC. ACCAN is supportive of the amendments to these rules which ensure that the information collected is kept up to date with industry developments and assists the ACCC in its regulatory functions.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has made a submission to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications in response to an issues paper regarding a new scheme for captioning on subscription (pay) television.

In our submission, ACCAN supported the proposal to simplify the current Pay-tv rules which are overly complicated and do not provide any clarity about which programs will be captioned.

 ACCAN strongly supports the current legislated mandate that subscription television providers caption 100 per cent of their programming by 1 July 2033., As such, we did not support the proposed averaging of caption targets nor the proposed freezing of annual captioning increases.

The Federal Government has sought feedback on changes to Telstra’s carrier licence conditions. The proposed changes would increase Telstra’s level of reporting in regard to voice services that sit outside of NBN’s fixed line footprint.

Consumers living outside NBN’s fixed line footprint are heavily reliant on voice services provided over Telstra’s network, so it is important that the reliability of the services is transparent. It’s also essential that there is visibility of Telstra’s performance in meeting its obligations under the Universal Service Obligation regime, and how well it is meeting the Customer Service Guarantee standard.