News Pulse for September 13, 2018

A daily download of SME, startup, fintech and tax news from around Australia.

Tech companies issue warning over government’s surveillance bill

Some of the world’s biggest technology companies have warned that a draft government bill intended to counter the use of encryption by criminals and terrorist groups could instead undermine user safety.

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 is the government’s long-foreshadowed response to the increased use of online communications services, particularly those that protect their users’ privacy through the use of encryption.

Tech giants urge Govt to review Assistance and Access Bill

In a submission to the Department of Home Affairs consultation on the bill, the Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) – whose members include representatives from the biggest technology companies – showed concerns over some of the requirements.

“DIGI urges the Government to review the Bill and reflect in it practices that are consistent with established norms of privacy, free expression, and the rule of law as well as conflict of laws, and to specifically adopt the principles advocated by the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition,” DIGI wrote in its submission.

Small business lenders pledge fairness under ASIC’s gaze

Fintech lenders say they’re moving quickly to review and amend any unfair contract terms before the watchdog comes knocking, but there are still questions about best lending practice.

Last week, alternative lender Prospa confirmed it had changed a number of contract clauses after receiving a query letter from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) back in June that arrived just days before the startup put the brakes on its planned ASX listing.

Australia’s ‘big four’ to be initial target for open banking

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is proposing that only Australia’s big four banks — ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NAB and Westpac — will initially be subject to the new open banking regime.

The new open banking rules will function as a subset of the yet-to-be-legislated Consumer Data Right (CDR). Under the open banking regime, customers will be able to direct that their bank release data, via an API, relating to their use of the bank’s services to a third party.

Small business lenders pledge fairness under ASIC’s gaze

Fintech lenders say they’re moving quickly to review and amend any unfair contract terms before the watchdog comes knocking, but there are still questions about best lending practice.

Last week, alternative lender Prospa confirmed it had changed a number of contract clauses after receiving a query letter from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASICAustralian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets and financial services regulator. asic.gov.au) back in June that arrived just days before the startup put the brakes on its planned ASX listing.

ACCC wants fintechs to improve data standards

The competition regulator wants fintechs receiving bank data under the government’s data porting regime to face tough penalties if they fail to meet stricter privacy standards that will be introduced to protect customers.

Releasing a framework for rules to govern the new “consumer data right” (CDR) – which will begin with bank data and then be extended to telecommunications and utilities – the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said its accreditation regime would require data recipients to be “fit and proper”, have “effective” risk systems to protect information and privacy, and to take out insurance to cover potential data breaches.

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