This research aims to remove some of the opacity surrounding the data collection, sharing and use environment in Australia. The report provides an overview of the data collection, sharing and use environment showing the typical flow of information from the user, the types of information collected, and inferences often made by companies based on that data. Eight privacy policies are analysed to assess readability, the data collection and sharing arrangements contained in those policies and the level of privacy controls available to consumers.
Consumer perspectives and reactions to data collection, sharing and use are also explored. Complementing CPRC’s own research from 2018, this qualitative research conducted by Greater Than X demonstrates consumers feel that they lack control over their data and do not understand what data collection is occurring. On-the-street interviews conducted the CPRC over March 2019 echo the findings of this qualitative research.
The report then examines some of the potential harms resulting from these data collection, sharing and use practices. While targeted advertising may be annoying, the real risks are discrimination, exclusion and manipulation. Policy responses, including requirements for transparency, greater consumer control, and accountability are key concerns for any government or regulator reviewing data practices and appropriate protections. Lastly, Greater Than X looks at better business practices that can be implemented to complement policy changes.