ACCC Pushes For UK-Inspired Laws To Curb Big Tech
The ACCC is pushing for more regulations similar to the UK that foster competition and curb the dominance of big tech in various domains, such as generative AI.
The ACCC has been putting pressure on big tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Meta and others, which the regulator characterises as “serial acquirers” and sees as a threat to competition by smaller businesses.
Now, the ACCC is urging the federal government to take action against big tech, especially Apple and Google, for their dominance in the app market, which the regulator wants to allow more developers to access their app stores.
The current push by the ACCC coincides with a five-year investigation into the local impact of the finalizing, and the findings suggest change is necessary, especially in the AI space, which is heating up with loads of money being invested by the major tech players like Microsoft’s $15 billion deal with ChatGPT owner Open AI.
Similar to the UK laws, the ACCC’s recommendations mirror what the UK is moving forward with the regulator adding service-specific codes of conduct.
The freedom of information documents were drafted to cover these issues, which included message from the ACCC to Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus recommending appointing a new digital platforms government official to manage consumer disagreements with major tech players.
“Lack of transparency in advertising harms advertisers, publishers and, ultimately, consumers. It prevents advertisers and publishers from making informed decisions about how they buy and sell advertising,” the ACCC says.
“Without transparency, publishers are unable to maximise their advertising revenue, and advertisers cannot maximise their advertising spend. This increases costs, which are ultimately passed on to consumers.”
When referencing the widespread adoption of generative AI tools, ACCC chairwoman Gina Cass-Gottlieb said new technologies could steer innovation, but if the larger tech companies merge with newer innovative companies, their market position can never be fully challenged.
“Existing large digital platforms likely have a head start in developing and deploying high-quality generative AI services due to their access to data and computing power. We’re also already seeing firms that control valuable or unique data sets – such as Reddit – starting to actively restrict access to that data, which has the potential to impact the training of large language models.”
In answer to the ACCC, Microsoft said Amazon, Apple, Meta, Google, and itself delivered different types of products and services and was “competing for a different mix of customers”.
On the other hand, Meta asserted the ACCC explanation of an ecosystem was “extremely broad”.
Despite big tech denying that they have been hindering competitiveness in the marketplace, the ACCC is determined to challenge the power of big tech in Australia, with the most prominent players soon in the hot seat.