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Adrian Lawrence

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Adrian Lawrence is the head of the Firm's Asia Pacific Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group. He is a partner in the Sydney office of Baker McKenzie where he advises on media, intellectual property and information technology, providing advice in relation to major issues relating to the online and offline media interests. He is recognised as a leading Australian media and telecommunications lawyer.

On 29 April 2024, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts opened public consultation as part of the ongoing independent statutory review (“Review”) of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) (“Act”) with the release of an Issues Paper (“Issues Paper”). Public consultation will close on 21 June 2024, with the final report of the Review expected to be provided to Government by 31 October 2024.

On 4 April 2024, the Minister for Communications opened consultation on significant and comprehensive stage two reforms to the National Classification Scheme (“Scheme”). The Scheme is comprised of a number of laws and regulatory instruments – together, operating as a regulatory framework for classifying films, certain publications and computer games under cooperative arrangements between the Commonwealth, and the States and Territories. In addition, the Scheme directly underpins the online content scheme in Part 9 of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) (“OSA” ) and informs elements of the broadcast television self-classification requirements in place under industry codes of practice under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth).

On 26 March 2024, the Australian Senate resolved to establish the Select Committee on Adopting Artificial Intelligence (“Committee”) to inquire into and report on the opportunities and impacts arising out of the adoption of AI technologies in Australia.
The Committee’s inquiry provides an important opportunity for Australian companies to shape the future direction of Australia’s AI-related regulatory reforms as the Government continues to formulate its position on the regulation of AI.

On 13 February 2024, the Minister for Communications announced the Terms of Reference for the upcoming independent review into the operation of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) (OSA). For more information about other recent developments in the Australian online safety roll-out.
The Review is required by section 239A of the OSA, and will examine the effectiveness of the OSA, and consider whether additional protections are needed to prevent the publication and spread of harmful online material.

The Australian Government’s interim response to the “Safe and responsible AI in Australia” discussion paper flags a risk-based approach to AI governance in Australia including a mix of voluntary AI safety standards, voluntary labelling and watermarking for generative AI and the development of mandatory guardrails with a particular focus on high-risk and frontier AI applications.

2023 has been a big year in Australia for developments in artificial intelligence (AI). We have pulled together the main announcements, key insights and regulatory themes to emerge this year and recommendations for risk management that will be of interest to Australian companies engaging with AI technologies into 2024 and beyond.

2023 has ended with a flurry of activity from Australian authorities and regulators that provides deep insights into Australia’s current and emerging cyber threat environment and will heavily influence the development of Australia’s cyber policy in the years to come. We have pulled together key insights, important trends in the cyber threat landscape and recommendations for cyber risk management that should be of interest to all Australian businesses and directors moving into 2024 and beyond.

On 20 November 2023, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner (“eSafety”) released drafts of two new industry standards under the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) (OSA) for public consultation.
The Standards cover providers of:
• Relevant electronic services, which cover a wide category of services that allow end-users to communicate online (including email, SMS, MMS, chat, instant messaging, various online games and dating services).
• Designated internet services, which cover a broad range of websites and apps not otherwise captured by the RES Standard or the industry codes that have been registered by eSafety under the OSA.

The Australian Government has released its much-anticipated response to the Commonwealth Attorney-General Department’s report on its review of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). The Report recommended wholesale amendments to Australia’s principal privacy legislation and contained 116 proposals for consideration by the government.

On 22 July 2023, the Competition and Consumer (Consumer Data Right) Amendment Rules (No. 1) 2023commenced. The amending rules enhance the existing Consumer Data Right (CDR) regime for business consumers by improving access to and use of CDR data for businesses and enabling more participants in the CDR regime to use third-party service providers.