Regulatory developments in relation to online content continue at pace. Australia’s classification regime for films and computer games is set to be revamped. Meanwhile, new regulatory powers to combat misinformation and disinformation are proposed.
The eSafety Commissioner has issued a decision on proposed industry codes of practice under Australian online safety laws, which has significant implications for all companies operating online services in Australia.
On 25 July 2022, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner published Regulatory Guidance on the “Basic Online Safety Expectations”, which are provided for by Part 4 of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) and the Online Safety (Basic Online Safety Expectations) Determination 2022. This comes a day after eSafety became entitled to issue notices seeking information from a wide range of online service providers regarding their compliance with the expectations.
The Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) (“Act”) passed Parliament on 23 July 2021 and commences on 24 January 2022 (being six months after it received royal assent, unless proclaimed earlier). A key element of the Act is the proposed “basic online safety expectations” (“Expectations”), which specify the core expectations (to be determined by the Minister) for:
• social media services;
• relevant electronic services (services that allow communication with other end-users e.g., email, IM, chat and certain gaming services); and
• designated internet services (including, with a few exceptions, those that deliver or allow access to material via an internet carriage service).
A reminder that submissions on the Government’s draft Online Safety Bill (Bill) close on 14 February.
On 23 December 2020, the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications began a consultation on the draft Bill. The Bill is designed to consolidate and supplement the range of existing regimes covering online content, most notably the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (Cth) (EOSA) and Schedules 5 and 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (BSA).
The Bill introduces an expanded take-down scheme for cyber-bullying and image-based abuse, a new take-down scheme for adult cyber-abuse, a set of basic online safety expectations (BOSE) for online services, a revised online content scheme and a blocking scheme for abhorrent violent material. It also reduces the time for responding to removal notices from 48 hours to 24 hours and incorporates civil penalties for non-compliance in certain circumstances.
If implemented, these proposed changes would increase the imperative for online services to take a pro-active approach and to have in place efficient mechanisms for responding to removal notices.
As 2020 draws to a close, the Federal Government’s staged media regulatory reform process continues to unfold with numerous reviews underway on aspects of both the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) (BSA) and other related laws.
The Australian Government has now released its response and an ‘Implementation Roadmap’ (Response) to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report (DPI Report), following a 12 week public consultation which closed on 12 September 2019. Our summary of the DPI Report is available here. The…
The boundary between consumer protection and privacy regulation is being scrutinised and challenged by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), as the collection and use of customer information plays an increasingly important role in customer service and profitability. This week, the ACCC commenced proceedings against the online health booking…
The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report has been released with 23 recommendations for wide-ranging regulatory change in areas including competition and consumer law, privacy, copyright and media regulation. This alert outlines the key points of the Final Report for consideration. Given the potential impact of these recommendations on the…