The Federal Government has announced its plans to legislate a new Consumer Data Right Bill (Bill), which would require companies in the banking, utilities and telecommunications sectors to provide customers with ready access to their transactional data.

The consumer data right will be established on a sector-by-sector basis, beginning with the banking, utilities and telecommunications sectors. The Bill is proposed to commence as legislation in 2018 and will require service providers in these industries to provide easy-to-read digital information to consumers and third parties.

This comes after the recommendations from the Productivity Commission's 'Data Availability and Use' inquiry in May 2017 which highlighted the importance of open data. The new laws would assist customers in making decisions to change their telco provider by allowing their data to be transferred to a third party.

At this stage there is little information available on the policy and limited guidance regarding what data needs to be provided under the new consumer right. Digital information is likely to include customers' transaction history and potentially a range of additional data such as customer locations, URL access history and cookies.

The media release is available here. We have previously commented on the Productivity Commission's 'Data Availability and Use' report. Our August alert on the implications of this report is available here.