Open data sharing issues

The pressure on government to increase public sector and private sector data availability is likely to result in significant changes following the Productivity Commission’s Final Report and the Government’s response which are expected in the next month.

New entrants to the financial sector and non-bank competitors want open access to data to assist in account switching by customers and to offer new services.

The Productivity Commission concluded in its draft report that increased availability and use of data can promote a range of potential benefits across the private and public sectors, including better outcomes for consumers (lower prices, improved product offerings), higher levels of productivity and economic growth, and improved performance of governments, including through better-informed, more effective policies.

The Productivity Commission recommended in its recent draft report on Data Availability and Use that all Australian Government agencies should create comprehensibe easy to access databases (with exceptions for high sensitivity databases).

It also recommended mandatory participation by credit providers in comprehensive credit reporting by 31 December 2017, if industry cannot increase participation by 30 June 2017.

In its First Report on the Review of the Four Major Banks the House of Representatives Committee recommended that deposit product providers be forced to provide open access to customer and small business data by July 2018, subject to appropriate privacy safeguards.

The question is whether open data will increase competition for the benefit of consumers? Or will it create more risks for customers’ security and privacy?

What data should be made available and how should it be made available? Who will monitor the system?

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