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The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) has requested comment on two possible timeframes to implement closed captions on free-to-air multichannels once analogue TV is switched off at the end of 2013.

ACCAN has made a submission to the Internet Industry Association's review of its "icode". The icode is a voluntary code of practice for internet service providers (ISPs) to help address spam, malware, botnets, phishing, and other malicious activity on the internet.

ACCAN has made a submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' inquiry into the Privacy Amendment (Privacy Alerts) Bill 2013 that was recently introduced into Parliament. The Bill would introduce a "mandatory data breach notification" requirement on organisations to alert the Privacy Commissioner and affected consumers when their customers' personal information is lost or exposed. This would potentially allow consumers to take action, such as cancelling a credit card, before any of their leaked information causes serious harm.

ACCAN has made a submission to the Communications Alliance's review of the Calling Number Display Code (ACIF C522:2007).

Calling Number Display (CND) is the system that allows the recipient of a phone call to see the number or name of the person making the call. This can be a useful feature - it means that you can ignore calls if you do not recognise the number, for example. However, many consumers may be uncomfortable about their number being displayed to the person they are calling.

ACCAN has commented on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's (OAIC's) draft guidelines for mobile app developers. We pointed out that consumers need to be told how app providers want to use their personal information, and to have the choice whether or not to allow that use.

Cyber-bullying has become a concern in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and was raised during ACCAN's Indigenous consultation workshop in Alice Springs earlier this year. The widespread take-up of the smartphone has contributed significantly to the increase in cyber-bullying and means for victims it can be somewhat inescapable.

Many organisations are building very large collections of information about their consumers — shopping habits, locations, web browsing history, telephone and energy usage, traffic, weather, stock market information, and so on. "Big data" refers to these large collections of data.

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.

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.