The digital economy is built on the back of companies gathering personal information about individual users online, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pushing to ensure internet users are compensated for giving away the information.
Mr Morrison told news.com.au that companies have been able to get away with mining this information for free, but the practice needed to change.
“For too long, large companies have been able to hoover up data and profit off it, without paying a royalty to the people they got it off,” Mr Morrison said.
“It’s like pulling iron ore out of the ground. They’re doing it and not paying a royalty to the people that actually own it.
“In the digital economy, your data has value, and you should be able to get the benefits of your data, should you wish to use it in that way.”
Mr Morrison said he supported the benefits that went along with data collection, including making everyday life more convenient, but said the Government needed to step in and ensure that proper legislation was in place to protect the rights of online citizens.
“I think it (data collection) revolutionises how people can receive services, be empowered as customers, get access to things they could never get access to before,” Mr Morrison said.
“All of that is fantastic and we want to embrace it all, but it doesn’t get to exist in some sort of government free zone when it comes to protecting people’s liberty and citizens’ rights.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently developing a regulatory framework for something called the Consumer Data Right, which would allow you to take charge of your own data and actively decide which service providers you wanted to share it with.
The consumer data right will first apply to the banking sector, under a framework that will be known as Open Banking, and will be followed by the energy and telecommunications sectors.
Under Open Banking, consumers will be able to access and safely transfer their banking data to trusted parties.
Open Banking will be introduced in phases, with spending information, including deposit and credit account transactions, and basic product information to be available from 1 July 2019.
“A Consumer Data Right is what is missing in our law. And what that means is you own your data and you own its value and if people want to use it, they’ve got to pay you for it,” Mr Morrison said.
“I’ve sat in the offices of Amazon in Seattle. I’ve sat in Google’s offices in Silicon Valley,” Mr Morrison said.
“The point I’ve made globally to these companies – I’ve said to them, you guys are creating this new economy. You need to work with governments all around the world to ensure that the rules used to govern the old economy can equally provide the same protections and guarantees in the new.
“You need to help us do this, because I guarantee if you don’t, governments will do it anyway and they will do it in a fairly clumsy fashion. And then you’ll be complaining about that. So, you guys need to get on board and work with us here.”
Do you think companies should pay for your data? Would you sell your data if you had the choice?