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‘It’s disgraceful’: Concerns over ABC’s new viewing rules

May 13, 2021
From July 1, you'll be required to create an account in order to watch your favourite shows on iview. Source: Getty

The ABC has been criticised for its decision to force Aussies to create an account and login every time they want to watch programs on its iview platform.

The change means you’ll have to hand over personal details like your email address, first name, year of birth, suburb or postcode and gender in order to watch iview. Users will have the option of using a pseudonym instead of submitting their first name and can select “prefer not to say” for the gender option.

User accounts and logins are already common among privately owned news companies, but questions are already being raised about why the government-funded organisation is going down this path.

On Tuesday, the ABC’s Editorial Director Craig McMurtrie said while the introduction of account logins might seem “counterintuitive for a commercial-free taxpayer-funded broadcaster” it was simply moving “with the times”.

McMurtrie made a point to note that under the new change the ABC will not be collecting users’ information for advertising purposes, adding there will be an opt out option “if a person doesn’t want some data shared with third parties — like Facebook and Google — to personalise ABC recommendations, or if they don’t want ABC marketing emails”.

“Nothing about creating a login changes the editorial independence, integrity, or responsibility of the ABC,” he said.

He went on to say that the new move will also allow users to save their favourite programs in their profile and receive recommendations based off their watch list.

The new sign-up process, which will be mandatory from July 1, has received a mixed response from users online, with some saying it’s not fair for the ABC to force Aussies hand over personal details to access a service their tax dollars pay for.

Starts at 60 reader Linda Gillian said: “I love iview but if policies change won’t bother to watch it.”

Other Aussies took to social media to air their frustrations over the move.

One wrote: “Time for the government to show us it has some teeth and put a stop to this nonsense. As my wife says, it’s disgraceful!”

Others didn’t seem too fazed by the change, however, with some pointing out that most streaming services ask for the same details.

One person wrote: “So what? All commercial sites and media sites and retail sites too demand similar details to do business with them.”

Do you think this is fair?

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