The government is being asked to respect citizens’ rights to consent to data sharing after the Treasury’s opt-out join account data sharing model failed to impress consumer groups.
As part of its push to implement changes to Australia’s Consumer Data Right, the Treasury announced that it would be pursuing changes to the way join accounts are treated, moving from an opt-in approach to data sharing to an opt-out approach.
But the Financial Rights Legal Centre has now opposed the Treasury’s proposal, urging the government to respect the rights of join bank account holders to control their own data.
In a joint submission to the Treasury led by Financial Rights, CEO Karen Cox said the government’s proposed “opt-out regime” for open banking data sharing for joint account holders fundamentally undermines the right to affirmative consent.
“Australians want a safe and secure data environment that puts their privacy ahead of the increasingly rapacious desires of industry,” Ms Cox said.
“Treasury’s proposal undermines the privacy rights of citizens and subverts the open banking regime’s own requirements to provide Australians with the ability to voluntarily and expressly consent to the sharing of their data with other parties.”
Currently, the rules provide that each joint account holder must opt in before joint account data can be shared.
Arguing that ADRs have complained that the current approach “introduces excessive friction leading to unfulfilled data sharing requests”, the Treasury’s opt-out approach would apply to banking and other sector of the economy as CDR is extended.
This approach means joint account holders will be automatically opted in to sharing their personal financial data if one account holder chooses to engage with open banking.
Australians will only be able to prevent such sharing if they engage and turn it off prior to the sharing or stop the process after it has occurred.
“This proposal contradicts basic privacy principles already set out in the Consumer Data Right,” Ms Cox said.
“It runs counter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s recommendations to strengthen consent requirements and puts the business interests of the fintech sector ahead of the need to protect consumers’ privacy and security.
“It also poses significant risks to vulnerable people facing financial, elder or domestic abuse.”
Ms Cox said the proposal would undermine consumer trust in the CDR before it even gets going.
“Consumers – be they joint account holder or not – should be free to decide how much or how little of their information they wish to share in exchange for the use of open banking services.”
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Article by Maja Garaca Djurdjevic on May 28, 2021 – nestegg.com.au