Communications

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Original media release from the Attorney-General’s media centre (27/02/2024). The Australian Government has commenced an independent review of Australia’s Credit Reporting Framework. Australia’s credit reporting system plays an important role in assessing eligibility and suitability for credit and in reducing the risk of financial harm to consumers, as well as protecting the privacy of individuals…

Read More Independent Review of Australia’s Credit Reporting Framework Commences

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When was the last time you were certain that your data wasn’t being collected, shared, tracked or used in unfair business practices? A recently released joint research report from the Consumer Policy Research Centre (CPRC) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) ‘Singled Out: Consumer understanding – and misunderstanding – of data broking, data…

Read More No Say, No Knowledge, No Control: Personal Data in Australia

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Funded in the 2023 Budget, the Government’s Registry works by creating a controlled list of numbers of registered brand names, and preventing text messages from being sent using registered brand names unless the originating number matches the approved phone number on the Registry.
Feedback from consumers, industry, charities and government services will inform Government decision-making about next steps, including funding models for the finalised scheme.

Read More Stopping SMS Scammers Posing as Legitimate Institutions

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The latest data from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) reveals that consumers and small businesses made 14,671 complaints between October and December 2023, an increase of 13.4 percent compared to the previous quarter, but a 17.9 percent decrease compared to the same time last year.

Read More Complaints to TIO Increased for the Quarter But the Yearly Decrease Trend Continues

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These rules have been developed by the ACMA in response to a direction from the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, to make an enforceable industry standard that will improve safeguards for telco customers experiencing financial difficulties.

The new Telecommunications (Financial Hardship) Industry Standard 2024 requires telcos to establish and promote clearly accessible written financial hardship policies. Telcos must do more to proactively identify customers experiencing financial hardship and prioritise keeping them connected to services.

Read More New Telco Industry Standard to Address “range of financial gaps”

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9 out of 10 Australians also support strong penalties for digital platforms who fail to detect and prevent scams.

“Tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google are failing to prevent scammers from using their platforms to target victims, causing enormous amounts of harm to consumers globally. In Australia, losses reported to Scamwatch from scams on social media have increased to over $66 million in 2023, an increase of more than 40% on the same time period in 2022,” says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Adviser, Alex Soderlund. 

Read More Global Consumer Alliance Urges Governments to Require Tech Companies to Protect People from Scams

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This report documents the nature of some of the more troubling consumer manipulation practices currently occurring in Australia. It explores how targeted advertising affects people who gamble, consume alcohol, are experiencing financial stress, and how it affects children and young people. Each case study describes potential consumer harm and rights violations and goes on to include evidence from the ‘Xandr File’ about the nature of data that is routinely traded for targeted advertising about each of these groups.

A brave, bold and strong response to this issue is necessary, and long overdue. 
A wide range of measures could be implemented to curb this practice

Foreword co-signed by Reset, CHOICE, and CPRC

Read More Report Released, “Australians for Sale: Targeted Advertising, Data Brokering and Consumer Manipulation”

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Every Australian deserves equitable access to banking services. That’s why the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has broadened the scope of its accessibility framework to ensure the banking sector remains inclusive in a fast-changing digital landscape.
An important addition to the Accessibility and Inclusion Principles for Banking Services is a section on embedding accessibility into digital authentication processes, as the banking industry steps up its fight against scams, fraud and identiy theft. 

Read More ABA Updates and Broadens Accessibility Framework

Consumers International Global Congress; Nairobi, Kenya 06-08 December 2023; Building a resilient future for consumers; supporting partners COMESA Competition Commission and Competition Authority of Kenya

Today the Congress was abuzz with passionate consumer advocates, experts and regulators taking a deep dive into everything from scams and AI to greenwashing and digital wallets. But at the heart of so many discussions today was the value of and the critical need to collaborate. It was recognised that collaboration both within and across borders is needed to help raise the voices on key issues impacting consumers and to learn from one another. Below are some of the highlights from Day 2!

Read More C is for Collaboration – Day 2 of Consumers International Global Congress

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“The ACCC will closely assess any proposed response, and in particular the extent to which it secures ongoing access to cash in remote and regional areas where bank branches are limited and members of the public often access cash through non-bank sources including Australia Post and retailers,” ACCC Acting Chair Catriona Lowe said.

“A key condition of this interim authorisation is that the ABA report on their discussions to maintain access to cash in regional and remote areas. This will be an important consideration for any future application for authorisation by the industry.”

Read More ACCC Authorises Industry Collaboration for Sustainable Access to Cash