Consumers paying the price for ‘slow’ data right scheme

Giving people more control over their data footprint could significantly expand the economy and save consumers time and money, research shows.

The so-called Consumer Data Right (CDR) gives Australians some control over their personal data but should be expanded beyond bank accounts and energy needs, according to Deloitte Access Economics.

Research released on Monday estimates the data footprint at close to 48,000 petabytes or equivalent to every Australian taking and storing around 2670 photos each day for a year on their phones.

But consumer effort could be reduced if people did not have to repeat the same personal information to be checked and identified by every business and service, Deloitte Access Economics Partner John O’Mahony said.

Low consumer adoption of the right and limited business innovation have meant the expansion has stalled.

For example, financial technology companies – as CDR data recipients – have not driven significant change in consumer switching despite evidence of mortgage holders wanting to get a better deal as interest rates increased.

Organisations that are sharing their data have been overwhelmed with ongoing changes in rules and standards, the report found.

Deloitte urged the federal government to lead the way and inspire industry and international interest by integrating government data sets and establishing Australia as an open data leader.

The Australian economy would be $16.7 billion larger by 2043 if the data right expanded into retail, healthcare and other personal and professional services, the Consumer Data Revolution report found.

Banking and energy account for only four per cent of total consumer data in Australia, compared with 59 per cent held by software and information businesses in the technology sector, Deloitte said.

Public administration and safety sectors, including government agencies, are also treasure troves of diverse data.

Almost 50,000 additional jobs could be sparked by greater competition and new apps built on cross-sector data sharing, according to the report.

Former Productivity Commission chair Peter Harris said Australia had very few opportunities in the digital economy for innovation driven by consumers.

“The slow roll-out of this right to multiple sectors is a cost to consumers, and to competition. Getting it right would boost productivity across the economy,” he said.

Under the not widely understood right, consumers can allow their data already held by a business to be transferred – safely – to another business in return for saving on cost or getting a better service.

The federal government has pledged to undertake a strategic assessment of CDR at the end of 2024, and not before.


Marion Rae
(Australian Associated Press)


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