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Online child safety measures up for comment until 7 March

By GovTechReview Staff
Thursday, 30 January, 2014

The federal government will seek to expedite removal of harmful content from the likes of Facebook and Instagram by introducing a number of measures aimed at improving online safety for children – and is seeking comment on the measures through 7 March.

Reflecting policy objectives set out in its election platform, the Coalition government's Department of Communications this month announced a call for public submissions on its Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children.DeptOfComms

As outlined by the department, measures mooted within the policy include:

  • The establishment of a Children's e-Safety Commissioner, positioned as a single point of contact for online safety issues for industry, Australian children and those charged with their welfare. The Commissioner will also take the lead across government in implementing policies to improve the safety of children online.
  • Development of an effective complaints system, backed by legislation, to get harmful material taken down fast from large social media sites, and
  • Examining existing Commonwealth legislation to determine whether to create a new, simplified cyber-bullying offence.

“The clear policy intent of the Government is to have a single organisation which takes the lead in relation to online safety for children, allowing for greater efficiency and addressing duplication and overlap,” the report says, noting that there may be overlap between the Commissioner's responsibilities and other programs within other government agencies.

“It is a key objective that the Commissioner will maintain a high public profile to provide visible leadership on enhancing online safety for children.”

The policy document also explores the range of content measures to be taken, how they might be applied to Australian ando overseas-hosted materials, procedures for complaints handling, and more.

You can view the document here.

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