The Australian Government Wants Your Input on a New Online Safety Bill

The Australian Government Wants Your Input on a New Online Safety Bill

Our presence online and the safety risks that come with that has been at the centre of many conversations in recent years. Whether we’re talking about cyberbullying or the protection of dating app users, there are gaping holes in the way we approach safety online and the Australian Government is after your thoughts on the topic.

In a new update, the Australian Government has announced it is “seeking submissions on an exposure draft Online Safety Bill”.

It has shared that the decision comes because “Online safety affects all Australians. This is your chance to have your say on updates to Australia’s online safety laws”.

The window in which you can submit your thoughts runs from December 23 (6:00 AEDT) through to February 14, 2021 (17:00 AEDT).

The Government has shared its intention is to use submissions from regular ol’ Aussies to “inform changes to an exposure draft Online Safety Bill”.

This Online Safety Act draft includes (quoted from the Australian Government website):

  • The provisions in the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (EOSA) that are working well to protect Australians from online harms, such as the image-based abuse scheme;
  • A set of core basic online safety expectations for social media services, relevant electronic services and designated internet services, clearly stating community expectations, with mandatory reporting requirements;
  • An enhanced cyberbullying scheme for Australian children to capture a range of online services, not just social media platforms;
  • A new cyber abuse scheme for Australian adults, to facilitate the removal of serious online abuse and harassment;
  • A modernised online content scheme, to replace the schemes in Schedules 5 and 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA). The Bill will create new classes of harmful online content and will reinvigorate out of date industry codes to address such content;
  • New abhorrent violent material blocking arrangements that allow the eSafety Commissioner to respond rapidly to an online crisis event such as the Christchurch terrorist attacks, by requesting internet service providers block access to sites hosting seriously harmful content; and
  • Consistent take-down requirements for image-based abuse, cyber abuse, cyberbullying and harmful online content, requiring online service providers to remove such material within 24 hours of receiving a notice from the eSafety Commissioner.

You can read on about the bill, and how you can contribute here.