Inquiry calls for Australian crackdown on global technology giants

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CANBERRA, July 26 (Xinhua) — A landmark report from Australia’s consumer watchdog has called for the government to take action on the market dominance of Google and Facebook.

The government on Friday released the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry final report, of which the findings of its inquiry into the impact of digital platforms on competition in media and advertising were released, making 23 recommendations to curb the power of technology giants in the space.

It recommended that the government introduce a code of practice that would give Australian users greater control over how the global companies collect, use and disclose their personal information.

Speaking after the report, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the government has accepted the ACCC’s overarching finding that there is need for significant reform to the sector.

The government is not expected to deliver its full response to the report and each individual recommendation until the end of 2019, after it has held a 12-week public consultation.

“The inquiry was truly a world first, looking at the impact on competition, privacy and consumer outcomes arising from the significant market power of the leading search engines and social media platforms,” Frydenberg said.

“They need to be held to account, and their activities need to be more transparent,” he said.

A media release on Friday from the government website said, “It therefore accepts the ACCC’s overriding conclusion that there is a need for reform – to better protect consumers, improve transparency, recognise power imbalances and ensure that substantial market power is not used to lessen competition in media and advertising services markets.”

The ACCC’s preliminary report, which was released in December, found that Google and Facebook had “substantial market power” and called for technology companies that violate privacy laws to face significant penalties.

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