22 March 2022

A collaborative regulator network is essential to addressing the risks and harms faced by Australians in the online environment, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) said today.

Commenting on the formation of the Digital Platform Regulators Forum (DP-REG), Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said the initiative will collectively ensure the best outcomes in the public interest for the community and those that are regulated.

“We are seeking to build a ring of regulatory defence where privacy, competition, consumer protection, online safety, communications and data issues intersect,” Commissioner Falk said.

“This is a targeted and flexible regulatory response to address the opportunities and risks posed by the pace and expansion of the digital economy.

“By sharing information and collaborating, we can better deliver regulatory activity that is smart, promoting innovation as well as preventing harms. The use of data, including personal and sensitive information, can be of great benefit to the economy and community but the right protections need to be in place.”

Commissioner Falk said the flexible, principles-based nature of the Privacy Act means that it is adaptable and able to complement other legislation or regulatory frameworks that deal with related issues, and the OAIC is committed to working closely with other regulators to share intelligence and collaborate.

“You’ll see continued collaboration between the OAIC and domestic regulators like the ACCC, ACMA, and eSafety, alongside international cooperation through such bodies as the Global Privacy Assembly. The intersection with privacy and consumer protection, online safety and communications law will increase as we work in concert to achieve the best outcomes in the public interest,” Commissioner Falk said.

“Adopting a collaborative and complementary regulatory approach, alongside strengthening Australia’s privacy regime through the review of the Privacy Act, will achieve results that protect and empower consumers and protect personal information wherever it flows,” Commissioner Falk said.

Read the joint statement from the Digital Platform Regulators Forum (DP-REG).