To share information and collaborate.
Four major Australian watchdogs have formed the Digital Platform Regulators Forum (DP-REG) initiative to create greater collaboration and information sharing regarding the regulation of digital platforms.
The Digital Platform Regulators Forum has been formed to jointly scrutinise internet search engines, social media services, private messaging services, electronic marketplaces and other platforms.
As the federal government conducts various reviews on how best to regulate digital platforms, the DP-REG will provide an overarching focus to consider the best approach to competition, consumer protection, privacy, online security and data overlays.
ACCC chair Rod Sims said digital platforms “have become an essential part of Australian life” but present “a range of challenges in terms of competition and consumer protection.”
“The forum will help to streamline our approach to the regulation of digital platforms in Australia, said Sims.
“Since the ACCC began examining digital platform services in 2017, we have observed harms to competition, consumers, and business users in a range of areas dominated by large digital platforms.
“Collaboration with other agencies who also have a role in regulating digital platforms is vital as we consider whether further regulatory reforms are needed to support competition and protect Australian consumers online.”
Its inception is in the midst of legislative reforms that the Morrison government hopes to bolster Australia’s online security system.
The government’s proposed “anti-trolling” bill to amend defamation laws for internet postings is under parliamentary inquiry.
The legislation requires social media giants to collect the personal data of Australian users to facilitate their identification.
The bill would give victims of defamatory comments the power to ask for the identity of anonymous posters or use a new court order to debunk them.
However, broadcaster Erin Molan told the inquiry that the mechanisms provided by the Bill would be cost-prohibitive and inaccessible for everyday Australians.
Ms Molan is one of the nation’s most high-profile victim of online trolling who has been a prominent advocate for improving people’s safety on social media.
The DP-REG’s terms of reference [pdf] state it holds no enforceable rights and no decision-making capabilities, but rather “is intended to be flexible and recognise the limits of each member’s respective regulatory frameworks’.
The DP-REG will be led by a chair that will rotate every six months, with meetings to “occur once every 2 months”.