The BGA Australia Team, led by Managing Director Michael “Mick” McNeill,wrote an update to clients on the recent developments concerning Big Tech in Australia.


  • Big Tech is facing intense scrutiny regarding online safety, competition, consumer protection, privacy, media bargaining, misinformation and national security in Australia. With an election to be called within the next 12 months, the political class is increasingly targeting Big Tech as a way to connect with the concerns of middle Australia.
  • The political pile-on is bipartisan; some key measures targeting Big Tech were legislated under the previous government before May 2022. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s government is also monitoring international approaches across a range of issues. This week, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner issued legal notices to Google, Meta, X (formerly known as Twitter), WhatsApp, Telegram and Reddit, requiring each company to report on steps they are taking to protect Australians from terrorist and violent extremist material and activity. The six companies have 49 days to respond.


  • Hearings in the Federal Court began this week over a clash between Apple and software developer Epic, with the latter accusing Apple of illegally using its control of the iPhone to stifle competition. A similar 2021 lawsuit against Google has been merged into the Apple trial. Epic wants the Federal Court to mirror the European Union’s Digital Markets Act in its approach. However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said because international rules “aren’t rolling out globally, it’s unlikely Australian consumers will gain any benefits unless we enact our own reforms.”
  • The Labor government and news businesses condemned Meta’s March 1 announcement that it will not renegotiate deals to pay for news content. For its part, the Liberal-Nationals opposition called on the government to use the “world-leading” 2021 News media bargaining code, which it introduced when in government. Canberra will almost certainly designate Meta under the code, requiring the company to negotiate in good faith with news businesses or face fines. Many commercial agreements between Australian news businesses and digital platforms will expire over the next year. Google has so far has engaged constructively in renegotiations. Publishers have been urging the government to include TikTok, YouTube and X as platforms under the mandatory code and have called for artificial intelligence (AI) models such as ChatGPT to be forced to pay for access to content.


  • The government is preparing a raft of measures to regulate the tech industry: a scams code that is expected to introduce new mandatory industry codes for digital platforms, changes to the Privacy Act to protect Australians’ personal information and a review of the Online Safety Act 2021 that will consider international developments in online safety regulation.
  • The government’s regulation of AI will focus on the technology’s use in high-risk settings by establishing mandatory guardrails. Canberra is working with industry to develop a voluntary AI safety standard and options to label and watermark AI-generated materials. Australia’s response has been informed by developments in the European Union, the United States and Canada, and the government intends to deepen international cooperation on setting AI standards.

We will continue to keep you updated on developments in Australia as they occur. If you have any comments or questions, please contact BGA Australia Managing Director Michael “Mick” McNeillat

Best regards,

BGA Australia Team