What are Dark Patterns?
Dark Patterns are elements on the User Interface that can distort consumers' autonomy and manipulate them into making choices that benefit businesses. This could involve design features that make them share more of their personal information, credit card details, or trick consumers into making purchases they did not intend to make.
While the Australian Consumer Law, SPAM Act 2003 and the Privacy Act address some kinds of Dark Patterns, a few others exist outside the scope of the existing laws. The recent consultation on Unfair Trading Practices by the Treasury aims to introduce a combination of general and specific prohibitions that would comprehensively outlaw the use of Dark Patterns.
These are already illegal under the EU GDPR, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, and the Digital Services Act in the EU, and US's FTC Act and various state laws.
These laws are fast evolving, as various countries are amending their consumer laws to outlaw the use of Dark Patterns.