The Financial Rights Legal Centre (FRLC) has called on the Federal Government to rescind its proposal to automatically opt Australians into data sharing for joint bank account holders, under the Consumer Data Right (CDR) and Open Banking regimes.
The FRLC said the Australian Government should respect citizens’ rights to consent to data sharing.
Karen Cox, FRLC chief executive, said the Government’s proposed “opt-out regime” for Open Banking data sharing for joint account holders fundamentally undermined 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,” 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.”
The Treasury proposal meant joint account holders would be automatically opted in to sharing their personal financial data if one account holder chose to engage with Open Banking.
Australians would only be able to prevent sharing if they turned it off prior to the sharing or stopped the process after it had occurred.
“This proposal contradicts basic privacy principles already set out in the CDR,” Cox said.
“It runs counter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) 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.”
Cox said the proposal would undermine consumer trust in the CDR before it even got 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,” Cox said.