Here’s a test for your memory: remember when the Government said it wanted to make the internet safer for our children, and proposed a rather silly way to go about it with the implementation of a so-called “cyber commissioner” to take on online bullying material and other such nasties? Despite widespread panning of the plan by Facebook, Twitter and Google (nobody major then) the Government will introduce the e-commissioner from next year.
The government confirmed as part of the 2014-15 Federal Budget that the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner would be established from next year.
The role of the government’s new Net Nanny would be to develop a system whereby bullying material “targeted at Australian children” would be taken down quickly from sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
The Office of the e-Safety Commissioner will also look to develop a new cyber-bullying offence (kill me now) and a civil penalty regime for offenders.
Back when the e-Safety Commissioner was just a threat over the heads of Australia’s tech giants, they came together to pan it, with Twitter, Facebook and Google backing a report from their media union saying:
A policy that clamps down heavily on the things that young people can say to each other on larger responsible sites has potential to drive young people to engage in risk-taking behaviour on services that have less well-developed protections in place and are not covered by the legislated scheme.
Given the government’s commitment to de-regulation and reduction in red tape and lack of evidence that existing mechanisms are not operating as intended, we respectfully submit that the government should reconsider the proposal to introduce legislation to take down content and rather work to extend [existing protocols] to apply to more services.
You’re going to hear the word “cyber” used in a lot of asinine ways over the next four years. Here’s our guide on how to deal with that effectively.
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