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In ACCAN's submission to the latest NBN Joint Parliamentary Committee hearings, we outlined our engagement on various issues relating to the NBN including the importance of quality voice services and service reporting.

The Draft International Mobile Roaming Industry Standard, which requires telecommunications providers to send customers an SMS with global roaming costs soon after they land in another country, is not meeting the basic needs of consumers. The purpose of this Standard is to give consumers using roaming services information about costs when they need it most – when they are overseas. ACCAN has suggested several changes so that all consumers will receive this essential information.

Most Australian consumers must currently pay a monthly fee of $2.93 or more for a “Silent Line” to make sure that their phone number will not be published in the White Pages. The fee effectively charges people for their privacy and is a particular problem for low-income consumers and victims of crime, harassment or violence. While Telstra has recently proposed an exemption to the Silent Line for customers facing security threats, ACCAN's position remains that the fee should be removed for all consumers.

ACCAN is acutely aware of the low labour market participation for Australians living with disability. Our research in the area of inclusive information and communications technologies indicates that accessible ICT can overcome many of the barriers to employment faced by people with disability.

Many apps improve our life – we can get directions in a strange city, play Scrabble with friends on another continent or access app-exclusive content for our favourite magazine. Still, consumers need better information about how apps use personal information or structure in-app purchases. 

ACCAN represents consumer interests on the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) Closed-Caption Committee, which has provided advice on developing a standard for quality closed captions on Australian television. 

ACCAN applauds the Australian Government for its recognition of the importance closed captions play in providing meaningful access to television for many Australian consumers. 

NBN Co’s Special Access Undertaking (SAU) is an important document containing promises from NBN Co about how it will allow access to its network and what services it will offer to telecommunications providers.

Government agencies, telcos, banks and finance companies all collect information from customers in order to identify them. This means that an individual’s personal identity information is kept separately on file by each agency. From a consumer perspective, it means that each time we open an account with, for example, a bank or a telco who we haven’t done business with before, we have to undergo an identity check to prove that we are who we say we are.

ACCAN has made a submission in support of a data breach notification law in response to a consultation by the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. A mandatory data breach notification law would provide greater information to consumers about the security of their personal information, and provide an incentive for organisations to improve their security practices.

ACCAN has made a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission arguing that copyright law needs to be made fairer and easier for consumers to understand.

For nearly a decade, reports on global roaming have shown that roaming rates are excessively high. ACCAN urges the Australian and New Zealand governments to take action to reduce the high prices consumers pay to use their mobile phone while visiting their closest international neighbour.

In this submission by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, ACCAN comments on two specific issues that may have a direct impact on affordable and accessible telecommunications services.