ACCC chair Rod Sims appointed as ICN digital coordination vice chair

The appointment follows the ACCC chair putting the scrutiny of tech giants' digital practices under his remit.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: ACCC

Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chair, Rod Sims, has been appointed to the digital coordination vice chair role within the International Competition Network (ICN).

The ICN is a consensus-based organisation of national and multinational competition law enforcement authorities, with over 120 member agencies.

The role will see Sims coordinate the network's projects and discussions about competition in the digital economy. Other responsibilities will include liaising between the ICN steering group and ICN members in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Competition authorities around the world have much to discuss and learn from each other as we continue to face the challenges posed by the need to promote competition and good consumer outcomes in many areas of the digital economy," Sims said.

Under Sims' helm, the ACCC is preparing to publicly release the final report for its ad tech sector inquiry, which was provided to the Treasury department at the end of August.

The ad tech inquiry is focused on what the ACCC has labelled as "Google's industry-leading position".

Being the main target of the probe, Google has stated in the past it does not stifle competition in ad tech and its services provide various benefits to advertisers.

Yesterday, Google at a press briefing continued to maintain that stance, saying there are many companies of varying sizes working in the ad tech market.

Google also said at the briefing that the ACCC's probe was focused on a narrow part of the ad tech market due to it focusing more heavily on the company's display ad practices. The search giant is currently facing a lawsuit in the United States for allegedly using anticompetitive tactics to shut out competitors in the area of display ads, such as deceiving exchanges into bidding through Google instead of header bidding.

Outside of ad tech, the ACCC has a separate tech probe looking into whether monopolies exist within digital platforms markets. It's also currently in litigation against various tech giants over alleged anti-competitive practices.  

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