Online safety review brought forward

Former deputy ACCC commissioner Delia Rickard will lead a government review of Australia’s online safety laws to see if they need updating to take into account new forms of online abuse and emerging technologies like AI.

Delia Rickard

Communications minister Michelle Rowland says the review has been brought forward by 12 months to ensure the online safety framework remains fit for purpose and that the eSafety Commissioner is appropriately empowered.

Ms Rickard will be supported in the review by staff from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts.

The review will look at the effectiveness of the 2021 Online Safety Act and consider whether additional protections are needed with respect to a range of issues including hate speech, deepfakes, cyber-bullying, pile-on attacks and non-consensual sharing of intimate material.

It will also consider existing penalties and whether they need to be toughened up to ensure compliance.

See the terms of reference here.

An issues paper is expected to be released in the first half of the year with a final report to be handed to the government by October 31.  

“So much of modern life happens online which is why it is critical our online safety laws are robust and can respond to new and emerging harms,” Ms Rowland said in a statement.

“Our laws can never be a set-and-forget, particularly as issues like online hate and deepfakes pose serious risks to Australian users.”

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