Life Tech Huge fines planned for online bullying
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Huge fines planned for online bullying

Due to the privacy breach of data, many have opted to delete their Facebook account.
The federal government is launching a crusade against cyberbullying. Photo: Getty
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The Morrison government is putting big tech companies on notice as it tries to clamp down on cyber bullying and abuse, particularly against children.

The government has opened public consultations on a new set of basic online safety expectations (BOSE), which sets out a series of demands reflecting the community’s expectations of safety online.

“We 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,” Communication Minister Paul Fletcher said in a statement on Sunday.

Core expectations include taking actions to deal with longstanding harms such as cyberbullying or kids accessing violent material.

But reasonable steps could also include actions against emerging risks such as ‘volumetric attacks’ where ‘digital lynch mobs’ seek to overwhelm a victim with abuse, Mr Fletcher said.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner will have 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.

Submissions are open until October 15, and after considering feedback, the minister will make the final BOSE in early 2022.

Other expectations include:

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

-AAP