New Zealand working on a consumer data right regulatory regime

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister says an upcoming data-sharing regime will put individuals 'in the driver's seat' when it comes to how their information is used.

The New Zealand government will be establishing a consumer data right (CDR) framework for the nation as part of hopes to put consumers "in the driver's seat" when it comes to how their personal information is used by third parties.

"Any data shared through the consumer data right will only take place with a person's informed consent, and would be strictly used for the reasons agreed upon. For example, if a person was seeking financial advice, they could ask their bank to share data, such as transaction information, with their chosen adviser," Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said.

"The businesses and services wishing to receive this data would also have to meet a number of safeguards to ensure the information could be handled safely and securely."

The country's telcos in March agreed to begin preparation for a CDR, with the New Zealand Commerce Commission six months prior saying it was happy for the sector to look into the design and implementation of the right.

"Consumer data rights would be expected to have a similar effect to number portability in terms of 'unlocking' customer information and empowering consumer choice," the competition watchdog said in an open letter to NZ telcos in September.

"This is a potentially powerful tool for addressing transparency and inertia issues, and improving competitive outcomes for consumers."

Following a recent consultation on options for a consumer data right, the government is now in the process of building a regulatory regime.

"The consumer data right will be rolled out on a sector-by-sector basis to ensure that the detailed requirements work in practice. We will look to align our system with the Australian model introduced in 2019," Clark said.

Work is underway by the government to determine which sectors should be considered for designation first and it is hoping to make a second round of policy decisions on the framework later in 2021, and will look to introduce legislation in 2022.

Clark said it is his intention that the CDR will "work hand-in-hand" with the Digital Identity Trust Framework that the government announced earlier this year.

The framework sets out the rules for the delivery of digital identity services across the nation.

Over in Australia, the CDR, which has been live since 1 July 2020, is the subject of another consultation, this time on amendments to the rules.

Treasury wants to open participation on the scheme, which currently only allows accredited data recipients (ADRs) to receive a consumer's data from data holders. It has proposed [PDF] new models it says will reduce barriers to participate in open banking, including a sponsored tier of accreditation and a CDR representative model; a mechanism to allow consumers to share their data with trusted professional advisers; and allowing participants to share CDR insights with consumer consent for specific purposes. It also proposes a single consent data sharing model for joint accounts.

ComCom reports 'much the same' in latest broadband report

ComCom earlier this month also released its latest Measuring Broadband report [PDF], which it prefaced with "all main download/upload/latency results are stable against the previous reporting period".

It highlighted Fibre Max as achieving highest average download speeds, pushing past 800Mbps both during peak times and on a 24/7 basis. HFC Max, meanwhile, reached an average of 670Mbps during peak.

Average uploads saw Fibre Max fall just shy of 500Mbps for both periods, while HFC Max fell short of 100Mbps.

"The average speeds of each plan are consistent with those seen in the previous report," ComCom wrote.

ComCom also tested latency, with Fibre Max unsurprisingly performing best again, with around 7ms of latency, Fibre 100 came in second with around 7.5ms of average latency during peak and on a 24/7 basis, and HFC Max averaged latency of 13.4ms during peak.

"Latency over fixed wireless is higher than over copper, cable, or fibre. Fibre is faster due to both the lower latency over fibre optics and to the more recent infrastructure that underpins the Fibre network," the report added.

Fixed wireless and ADSL connections experienced the most disconnections, ComCom said.

"This is the first time MBNZ has reported disconnections by technology, and the overarching findings indicate that there is only a small increase in the likelihood of disconnections for international traffic compared to domestic traffic," the report noted.

"This is particularly important for New Zealanders as many application servers are hosted internationally."

ComCom will be introducing a new test to the MBNZ program which will be included in reports from the Spring 2021 report onwards. This test, Latency under Load, will simulate the connection being in use before running the latency test.

"This should give an even more accurate picture of end users experience using applications like video conferencing and online gaming which can be compared with the disconnections tests carried out when the line is idle," it said.

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