ACCC Takes Aim At Google’s ‘Secret Data Trade’
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is probing Google’s monopoly position in Australia’s advertising tech market, with fresh calls to end the search engine giant’s ‘secret’ trade of personal information.
A submission has been filed by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology which states Google should be banned from sharing or selling users’ personal information across its platforms for targeted advertising dollars.
The Centre for Responsible Technology is calling on the government to limit the use of data gathered on Facebook’s platforms and is asking for an independent consumer advocate to be appointed to support citizen privacy.
Director Peter Lewis said Google unfairly dominates Australia’s ad market after purchasing the DoubleClick ad-serving engine, which is used by most Aussie websites.
Lewis said Google allows DoubleClick to access data from users on Google Search, Maps and Gmail.
“Ad tech is a creepy technology sitting behind most popular websites; it allows Google to track even more of our behaviour and does so without making it clear that it is combining it with highly personalised datasets to target advertisements at its users,” Lewis told The Australian.
“The ACCC has raised concerns that Google’s ad-tech monopoly is bad for competition in the industry and lacks transparency. But the system is also bad for the public who have not given informed consent for the use of their information.”
In its ACCC submission, the Centre for Responsible Technology is recommending three changes to Australia’s digital advertising landscape.
One change is advocacy for the ‘Clean Slate’ law, which would allow users to clear any and all information history gathered by Google which is in breach of its undertaking to not share data with the ad tech engine.
In January, the ACCC released a report from its digital advertising inquiry which warned a there is a lack of “competition, choice and transparency” in ad tech.
“Google is in a remarkably dominant position,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said at the time.
“It’s by far the largest player in each part of the supply chain. We’ve (also) got issues in relation to a lack of competition, partly because of Google’s dominance but also because of some of the things they do.”