Following a report in the Daily Mail (Australia) in late December 2019 that Facebook is watching Australians as they shop at physical stores to target them with ads thanks to shops sharing data with Facebook, it has been claimed that under current Australian laws there is no way for the average Australian to escape this form of corporate surveillance.

In an interview with Channel 10 on Monday, 6 January 2020 Terry O’Gorman said that while theoretically users can opt out of being targeted by Facebook in this manner by selecting ‘ads’ in Settings in reality a significant law change was needed on a national level to deal with the increasing surveillance of Australians by tech giants such as Facebook and Google.

Terry O’Gorman told Channel 10 that in July 2019 a final report from Australia’s competition watchdog (the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is now considering the ACCC’s proposal for a significant crackdown on Google and Facebook in Australia.

Terry O’Gorman told Channel 10 that tech companies are collecting personal data from the average Australian through the widespread possession and use of mobile phones without people knowing that is occurring.

US technology firm Oracle indicated recently that users are unwittingly uploading a gigabyte of data for Google to analyse.

Terry O’Gorman told Channel 10 that the legislation that will flow from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s July 2019 report should be expanded to ensure that there are significantly increased penalties for breaches of privacy laws by tech giants.

Mr O’Gorman told Channel 10 that Facebook is currently the subject of a US investigation in relation to an alleged breach of US anti-trust law.

In Australia the head of the ACCC was quoted late last year that “there is no way in the world I would have a Google Home or the equivalent in my home”.

Mr O’Gorman said that there needed to be a national strengthening of privacy laws following the ACCC’s July 2019 report as regulating the might of overseas tech giants to protect the privacy of individual Australian’s was a task beyond the power of any individual State or Territory.