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Australian regulator calls for new competition laws for digital platforms

Australia’s competition watchdog said on Monday new competition laws are required in response to the rapid expansion of digital platforms such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta and Microsoft in the country.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its latest report for the Digital Platform Services Inquiry raised concerns that expansion of these platforms has increased the risk of them engaging in harmful behaviour, such as invasive data collection and practices that lock in customers and limit their choices.

“Our proposed reforms include a call for targeted consumer protections and service-specific codes to prevent anti-competitive conduct by particular designated digital platforms,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

The regulator said digital platforms with significant market power can use practices like the bundling of products, and pre-installation and default settings to limit customer choice or deter innovation from competitors.

Earlier this year, ACCC said it would probe the country’s fast-evolving ecosystem of digital platform service providers as part of a five-year inquiry into the sector.

  • Reporting by Ayushman Ojha; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Tom Hogue, of Reuters.
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