We should be proud Australia is once again leading the way when it comes to the ongoing battle to keep the online world a safer place.
The Online Safety Act came into force at the end of last month. This strong legislation gives my office the powers to better protect Australians online and heralds a new era when it comes to support for our citizens in the fight against online harms.
Part of this new law includes establishing a world-first adult cyber abuse scheme which gives us formal powers to demand online service providers take down serious cyber abuse online, as well as the ability to issue fines to individuals and companies who do not comply.
The adult cyber abuse scheme is designed to protect those who are being subjected to the worst types of online abuse - abuse that intends to cause serious harm and is menacing, harassing or offensive.
Also within the Act is an expansion of our cyberbullying scheme, to better protect children on gaming platforms and private messaging services - the places where children are spending a lot of their online time.
And our online content scheme which deals with illegal content like the online proliferation of child sexual exploitation material will be significantly strengthened, giving us extraterritorial powers to tackle this content no matter where in the world it is hosted.
So, we now have even stronger regulatory powers to help protect our citizens in the online space, but that's just one of the weapons in our armoury. eSafety is also taking what we call a 'systems-based approach' into the battle against online harms.
The online world is an ever-changing, complex ecosystem, crossing borders and boundaries.
It never stands still for long and there are always new technologies and challenges coming our way that we must be ready for.
eSafety has, with this philosophy in mind, developed a series of position papers on everything from anonymity and identity shielding to sexual extortion, doxing and the potential perils of an AR and VR world. Decentralisation, too, is becoming a hot topic.
We need to be looking critically at internet governance models now for this Web 3.0 future.
We also need to focus on preventing online harms from occurring in the first place - across the board - and across the world.
Other governments are watching with interest our approach in Australia, and many are beginning to come on board with their own approaches on tackling online harms including the UK, Canada, Ireland, the EU and the US.
And as more governments scrutinise the actions of Big Tech, there needs to be a consistent, fundamental way in which they design, develop and deploy technologies with the safety of their users of the core.
This has been at the heart of eSafety's 'Safety by Design' program of work - encouraging online services and platforms to embed safety principles from the design phase of any online service.
Put simply, it encourages them to put safety first, before the harms actually occur.
That's why, as we focus locally on keeping Australians safer online, we will simultaneously look internationally to making the online world a safer place, and champion 'Safety by Design' as the way forward.
We will look beyond the technology horizon and our own borders to become true agents of change, demonstrating to the world that Australia is leading the charge in making the online world a more civil place.
As we continue to engage on the global stage, bilaterally and through multilateral groups such as the G20, the OECD and the World Economic Forum - organisations that are taking a firm interest in online safety and the work we are doing - it is our chance to lead by example.
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