CRA calls for urgency in regulating big tech
Moves to curb the influence of tech giants have taken a step forward, with commercial radio’s peak industry body calling for mandatory codes to regulate the business behaviour of the big four – Google, Meta, Amazon and Apple.
It’s warning of irreparable damage to Australian media businesses due to the expansion and market dominance of tech giants.
In a submission to the ACCC, Commercial Radio Australia has called for urgent regulations to stem the anti-competitive behaviour of big tech.
CRA chief executive officer Ford Ennals says the need for rapid reform can’t be overstated:
“Australian media business are suffering significant harm as they compete with tech giants for advertising and consumer attention,” he says.
CRA‘s submission is in response to the ACCC’s discussion paper on updating competition and consumer law for digital platform services, which was released this month. The ACCC is due to make recommendations to Government in September.
Mr Ennals says that while the industry welcomed recent steps by the ACCC to curb the imbalance between digital platforms and news media businesses, the pace of regulatory change was too slow.
“The growth of tech market dominance is outpacing regulatory action. There’s a real risk that we will simply run out of time to find regulatory solutions to reverse the damage to media businesses.”
In its submission, CRA has proposed that a new part of the Competition and Consumer Act should be introduced to mandate codes for Google, Meta, Apple and Amazon. Maintaining free access to radio on smart speakers is of particular concern to the industry and the CRA has urged the ACCC to look at digital platform dominance within that market sector.
Mr Ennals says the mandatory codes would address uncompetitive behaviour and issues which not only negatively impact business but are also detrimental to Australian consumers.
“The collection and use of data through the ad tech chain, for example, is troubling. Digital platforms increasingly monopolise the collection of data flowing from advertisements and other content on the audio industry’s digital platforms,” he said.
“There is little protection for the privacy of consumers throughout this process and data is ultimately concentrated in the hands of a few monopoly players.”
The CRA is advocating for mandated codes for tech companies to create more interoperability with their platforms. This would enhance market competition and also offer choice for consumers who are often locked into specific digital ecosystems.