The consumer data right (CDR), which will enable customers to safely share their data with trusted service providers is a fundamental competition and consumer reform, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said in a speech at the Consumer Policy Research Centre’s Consumer Data Conference in Melbourne today.

The ACCC will have the lead role in turning the concept of a consumer data right into a reality, including rule-making, consumer education and, eventually, enforcement.

“The consumer data right is essentially a data portability right,” Mr Sims said.

“We believe it will enable consumers to actually benefit greatly from the data that businesses already hold about them.”

Using banking, the first industry to be designated under the CDR as an example, Mr Sims explained how existing customer data held by banks can benefit homeowners.

“It is often difficult and costly for borrowers to compare the offers of mortgage providers,” Mr Sims said.

Under the CDR, “banks will make some data, such as customers’ transaction details, available to the customer or the customer’s chosen data recipient.”

“Consumer data rights will reduce the cost to borrowers of discovering and comparing offers,” Mr Sims said.

Mr Sims also stressed the importance of privacy and security in developing the CDR.

The agency will work very closely with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on privacy matters.

“Robust privacy protection and information security will be a core feature of the CDR,” Mr Sims said.

The data “can only be accessed by trusted parties who have the customer’s consent to access their data.”

The ACCC has created a dedicated Consumer Data Right Branch and work is already underway with a framework paper on the data rules expected for public consultation in August. 

“We will also conduct consultation work with consumers and businesses,” Mr Sims said.

A copy of the speech is available at Consumer data and regulatory reform.