The Turnbull Government has promised to introduce new laws aimed at limiting the market power of Facebook and similar online operations, following revelations last week about how forces behind Donald Trump manipulated his election as US president.

This comes after the latest Facebook data leak, which revealed that the profiles of 50 million users – including many Australians – were accessed by a consulting company linked to Trump’s election campaign.

The Government said it will introduce legislation to Parliament this year which would be aimed at giving consumers greater control over their data and how it is used – though how it can control an overseas operation like Facebook is not immediately apparent.

In Australia, the reforms will be rolled out gradually, sector by sector, the Government says

The first area to be targeted will be banking, followed by energy retailers, telecommunications companies and then social media platforms, government sources say.

“We know there is a great deal of work to do in this area,” Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor has said. “But the basic principle behind these laws is that people control their own data and [that] it is only used in a way they consent to.”

The catalyst for the new Australian laws appears to have been a Productivity Commission report released in March last year, which said tinkering with existing laws was not sufficient and a complete overhaul is necessary.

It recommended that entities should have to inform consumers about any of their data being traded or disclosed.

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