CHOICE membership

Do we Need to Regulate Google and Facebook



There are some things we are not meant to know. Not sure where they got that N number to display, but the FAA only shows it as reserved whereas it normally returns the aircraft details.

Maybe this is a prelude to a new category of NBN tower? Ping times from sat services will improve :laughing:


Oh dear …


" Like sands through the hour glass so are the days of our Facebook…":tired_face:


Accepting the reality I guess … easier to wind up shop …


‘stole’ details that users had freely given away, in a sense …


“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them.”

the market proves that plenty of people would rather opt for a cheap Android phone — essentially paying with their personal data


Timbo maybe a little worried that he doesn’t have the charisma of Jobs to sustainably sucker-punch the masses?

And while Google and Facebook are harvesting the pointy end of the market themselves, it seems sometimes forgotten that the banks and big corporates have been doing this for a lot longer, and who is Apple trying to get (further) into bed with? I guess it’s OK to be friends with the bad guy, as long as it doesn’t rub off on your own company too much - particularly when being the perceived poster child for protecting privacy is just a thinly veiled marketing strategy …

No corporation cares about anything except for boardroom bonuses and shareholder return … in my cynical view :wink:


I don’t really have a issue.I mean Facebook has always been honest when it comes to how your data is used.It’s always been part of the Terms and conditions.Just recent times people have been confused what they actually do with your data,and now things have been made simpler for more people to understand.With a couple of things now being added after the recent issues.But many places have always done this but Facebook copped the brunt of it because they are the most popular.If you have issues with Google perhaps use a alternative


The REPORT itself is ‘interesting’ to say the least - maybe not entirely for all the reasons one might hope (there are some epic statements of the obvious, but I guess that’s ok) … but there is a surprising level of analysis and I look forward to some comments here once people have had a chance to read it all …

I’ve tried to cut/summarise the 11 preliminary recommendations from the document …

Preliminary Recommendation 1—merger law
The ACCC considers that section 50(3) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, which identifies the factors to be taken into account in assessing the likely competitive effects of a merger or acquisition, could be amended to make it clearer that the following are relevant factors:
(a) the likelihood that an acquisition would result in the removal of a potential competitor, and
(b) the amount and nature of data which the acquirer would likely have access to as a result of the acquisition. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 2—prior notice of acquisitions
The ACCC is also intending to ask large digital platforms (such as Facebook and Google) to provide advance notice of the acquisition of any business with activities in Australia and to provide sufficient time to enable a thorough review of the likely competitive effects of the proposed acquisition. If such a commitment were not forthcoming from the major digital platforms other options could be considered to address this issue. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 3—choice of browser and search engine
The ACCC is considering recommending that:
(a) suppliers of operating systems for mobile devices, computers and tablets be required to provide consumers with options for internet browsers (rather than providing a default browser), and
(b) suppliers of internet browsers be required to provide consumers with options for search engines (rather than providing a default search engine).
The ACCC considers that where options for internet browsers and search engines are presented, no option should be pre-selected. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 4—advertising and related business oversight
A regulatory authority should be tasked to monitor, investigate and report on whether digital platforms, which are vertically integrated and meet the relevant threshold, are engaging in discriminatory conduct (including, but not limited to, conduct which may be anti-competitive) by favouring their own business interests above those of advertisers or potentially competing businesses. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 5—news and digital platform regulatory oversight
The ACCC considers that the regulatory authority could also monitor, investigate and report on the ranking of news and journalistic content by digital platforms and the provision of referral services to news media businesses. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 6—review of media regulatory frameworks
The ACCC proposes to recommend the Government conduct a separate, independent review to design a regulatory framework that is able to effectively and consistently regulate the conduct of all entities which perform comparable functions in the production and delivery of content in Australia, including news and journalistic content, whether they are publishers, broadcasters, other media businesses, or digital platforms. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 7—take-down standard
The ACCC proposes to recommend that the ACMA determine a Mandatory Standard regarding digital platforms’ take-down procedures for copyright infringing content to enable effective and timely take-down of copyright-infringing content. This may take the form of legislative amendments to the Telecommunications Act so that the ACMA has the power to set a mandatory industry standard applicable to digital platforms under Part 6 of the Telecommunications Act. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 8—use and collection of personal information
The ACCC proposes to recommend the following amendments to the Privacy Act to better enable consumers to make informed decisions in relation to, and have greater control over, privacy and the collection of personal information. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 9—OAIC Code of Practice for digital platforms
The ACCC proposes to recommend that the OAIC engage with key digital platforms operating in Australia to develop an enforceable code of practice under Part IIIB of the Privacy Act to provide Australians with greater transparency and control over how their personal information is collected, used and disclosed by digital platforms. A code would allow for proactive and targeted regulation of digital platforms’ data collection practices under the existing provisions of the Privacy Act. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 10—serious invasions of privacy
The ACCC proposes to recommend that the Government adopt the Australian Law Reform
Commission’s recommendation to introduce a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy to increase the accountability of businesses for their data practices and give consumers greater control over their personal information. […]

Preliminary Recommendation 11—unfair contract terms
The ACCC proposes to recommend that unfair contract terms should be illegal (not just voidable) under the Australian Consumer Law, and that civil pecuniary penalties should apply to their use, to more effectively deter digital platforms, as well as other businesses, from leveraging their bargaining power over consumers by using unfair contract terms in their terms of use or privacy policies. […]

… please excuse any summarisation anomalies :slight_smile:


That’s going to be interesting in practice. Also, I think recommendaiton 8 might have some implications for the government’s own activities online?


Possibly, but like the Do Not Knock/Call, I expect that they will write their own exemptions.

Some of recommendations are similar to those already implemented in other countries/unions such as the EU. Australia is playing a little bit of catch up.


Google has just relinquished the domain to their non-tracking search competitor DuckDuckGo. DDG approached Google years ago, but they didn’t want to give up ( DDG were already using ) previously directed traffic to Google Search.


Is controlled by, not belongs to. Theoretically in a democracy we have a say about what our government does. We allegedly wanted it to sell of Telstra, Medibank Private, and the dozens of other government business enterprises that ‘could be found in the Yellow Pages’ (I wonder if Peter Costello still gets his Yellow Pages?). We told our states to sell off their electricity infrastructure; we want our government to sell off the NBN (or at least the profitable bits) if it is ever finished.

Should we really be surprised when governments that are elected for three year terms and want to show their ‘fiscal conservative’ credentials go against the wishes of their own electorates? If they don’t balance budgets, international currency and speculative markets will punish them - so voters in this ‘capitalist democracy’ are no longer the only people who get a say in how governments govern.

Of course, the Federal Parliament has now passed the Assistance and Access Bill allowing government agencies to require tech companies to decrypt our data - on top of existing access to all of our metadata from ISPs. This was to ‘protect us over the Christmas break’ - but its more obvious aim was to seek to find a way to split Labor on ‘security’! Its real effect will be to weaken encryption, require back doors, and potentially drive the tech industry out of Australia entirely.

This is an issue we should all be pushing back on - if Australia actually implements this law as written other countries will follow suit, and the Internet will lose its last vestiges of being anything other than Big Brother.

In fact, we should be calling upon the likes of Facebook, Google and Microsoft to walk away from the Australian market rather than submit to this regime. Maybe the government would listen to them, at least.

This is great news. For those who don’t already use it, you can easily get to DuckDuckGo with the address

On the really good news front, Microsoft is calling for regulation of facial recognition tools.

Unfortunately, if governments demand ‘all the datas’ (as they increasingly do), then such regulations will never be meaningful. The world is becoming increasingly scary - not because of ‘terrorism’ or ‘paedophiles’ but because our governments are increasingly refusing to do what their voters want and prefer to be able to know what we really think by spying on us.

I heard in a recent podcast that in 1973 the US had 40,000 bombings, bomb threats or other terrorism-related incidents. (This number apparently came from Richard Nixon’s autobiography.) Wikipedia has a more conservative list of terrorist incidents for that year, globally. The numbers today are nothing like that, but we are being told to be scared and that we need our governments to protect us through increasingly monitoring our every move.

Google and Facebook are not the main threat to privacy any more.


A rather scary story out of Germany regarding Alexa, and a non-user who ended up being given a large quantity of someone else’s information


@ScottOKeefe “rather scary story”? You are being very polite?

Even the original man of steel - Superman, might be a little more than rather scared by this story.

Just as scary is the extent to which the services delivered by the big tech giants including, Facebook, Google, Microsoft etc have been able to maneuver themselves into indispensable parts of the fabric of everyday life, for most people.

There are Choices - Facebook or no Facebook, Alexa or Siri or DIY, accept the terms or go without.
However it is now almost essential to have a recognisable footprint in at least one or more places in the digital world.

Is the core question not only about whether there is a need to regulate Google and Facebook?
Do we also need to enforce the provision of alternatives?

I would object to being asked to log in to a service using EG Facebook or Google or Linkedin, ID’s as the only options so Dr Google and others can add me to one more place. There are already a great many online places I don’t access because I choose not to use any of these ID’s.

It’s even more humiliating when it is a paid service or membership you are being asked to use this form of ID for. Some online entities like Choice have options and utilise software for this forum and the Web that is within the control of Choice. This is not a universal standard, and often once you start using ‘free’ services not free of risks to privacy.


This is OUTRAGEOUS - and what on earth is the Government or ANYONE for that matter doing about these serious breaches of Privacy…


Nothing is sacred anymore, and I thought China was bad…??


Its all too much. I find that facebook is just a shambles. I’m constantly bombarded by posts from friends who dont check facts first, I dont even see half their posts because they scroll off the page within minutes, and I know it behooves me to check each person’s personal page… I dont have that much time. I would never be off facebook if I did that. And, whats more, nobody else bothers, either. I rejoined (for, I think, the 5th time) for the photography pages, and I must admit, that has been enjoyable. So I’m hanging in there. I’m seriously considering getting a dumb phone and disposing of my Apple stuff. I’m just over the privacy invasions, entirely. But what can you do. Get offline, maybe. Sighhhhhh.


Asking for (demanding) transcripts. We need to be secured against terrorists and paedophiles.


One of many reasons I left Facebook a couple of months after joining it. I found myself constantly getting fake news from people who should know better.


Even the fonts could be informing on you.