Monday, 27 November 2017 05:03

Govt to provide citizens better access to their data Featured

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The federal government has promised to give citizens better access to their banking, energy, phone and Internet data, making it easier for them to switch between providers.

The so-called Consumer Data Right will be passed into law next year, according to Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor.

Under the law, utilities would have to provide consumers with standard, comparable, easy-to-read digital information, that is easily accessible by third parties.

“Government is pursuing the very simple idea that the customer should own their own data. It is a powerful idea and a very important one,” Taylor said.

“Australians have been missing out because it’s too hard to switch to something better. You may be able to access your recent banking transactions, or compare this quarter’s energy bill to the last, but it sure isn’t quick or easy to work out if you can get a better deal elsewhere.”

The Consumer Data Right is one of 41 recommendations made by the Productivity Commission in its Data Availability and Use Inquiry report in May. The government's response will be made in the next few weeks.

The Consumer Data Right will be established sector-by-sector, beginning in the banking, energy and telecommunications sectors.

“It won’t be far down the track when you can simply tap your smartphone to switch from one bank to another, to a cheaper Internet plan, or between energy companies," Taylor said.

"Government is lifting the lid on competition in consumer services and technology is the enabler.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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