Amendment to the Online Safety (Basic Online Safety Expectations) Determination 2023: Our submission

We welcome this opportunity to comment again on the BOSE Determination, made under section 45 of the Online Safety Act 2021. The proposed amendments are a significant improvement. We especially welcome stronger requirements relating to generative AI, transparency, terms of use, and accountability.

While platforms and providers need flexibility to adopt new technologies as they arise to meet the goals of the Online Safety Act, the BOSE could be further improved by being more specific in terms of elements included in the requirements and in terms of actions given as examples, so that no aspects of a service can fall through the cracks, either inadvertently or deliberately.

We have continued to express concern that large social media companies have put profits ahead of safety. Digital industry groups in Australia did not prioritise community safety in some of their draft Codes of Practice, and as such were not accepted by eSafety. Big Tech has not to date shown a strong propensity to develop new means of improving children’s online safety.

Typically, action comes only after harms are made public, via leaks or independent research. Accordingly, civil penalties must be more substantial so as to be compelling. And oversight must be independent, with audits by qualified assessors.

Australia, as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, has a responsibility to advocate for children’s rights in the digital space. Children’s best interests should be independently evaluated, regularly and explicitly, in the context of all aspects of the platforms on which children can or do interact, or on platforms where children may be featured.

In some amendments, the term ‘reasonable’ should be changed to ‘necessary,’ and ‘could’ should be changed to ‘should,’ to protect children from grave harms and ensure that the digital industry - proven to be reluctant to implement certain safety measures- will do the right thing.

Read our submission here.

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  • Caitlin Roper
    published this page in News 2024-03-09 21:17:22 +1100

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