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Australian Government releases new BOSE for public consultation

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Australian Government releases new BOSE for public consultation

After passing the new Online Safety Act 2021, the Australian Government is taking further steps to better online protection by releasing a new set of Basic Online Safety Expectations (BOSE) for public consultation. 

Putting the proposed BOSE under public consultation will allow Australians to have their say on how social media and tech companies can protect their users from cyber bullying and abuse.  

The proposed BOSE sets out a series of demands to tech companies that reflect how the community expects to be kept safe online. With it, online providers will be subject to core expectations, additional expectations and reasonable steps to ensure the safety of users on their platforms.  

While core expectations for the BOSE include taking actions to deal with online harms, reasonable steps could also include actions against emerging risks such as ‘volumetric attacks’ where ‘digital lynch mobs’ seek to overwhelm a victim with abuse, or that products for children have the highest privacy and safety settings set as default. 

Other expectations include the following: 

  • Online providers take steps to prevent children from accessing class 2 material such as R18+ content; 
  • Online services do more to prevent unlawful or harmful material on anonymous accounts; 
  • Online providers take steps against cyber-bullying, non-consensual intimate images of a person and promotion, incitement or instruction in abhorrent violent conduct; and  
  • That users have clear ways to make reports or complaints to services. 

The Online Safety Act 2021 gives the eSafety Commissioner the power to order tech companies to report on how they are responding to these harms and issue hefty fines of up to $555,000 if they don’t respond. 

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said online safety was a priority of the Australian Government.

“We will always fight to protect all Australians, but especially children, from online harm and we expect big tech to step up and deliver on these expectations,” Minister Fletcher said  

Consultation is now open for all Australians to have their say on the proposed BOSE. After the feedback, Minister Fletcher will make the final BOSE in early 2022. Submissions are open until Friday 15 October 2021. 

SOURCE: DEPARTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT, REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA RELEASE

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