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Amendments to Online Safety legislation impose further obligations on online service providers

Kids on Internet

A new set of amendments was registered for the Online Safety (Basic Online Safety Expectations) Determination 2022 (Cth). These amendments have created several additional expectations for online service providers.

Online technologies have been routinely faced with emerging threats. This has namely been posed by artificial intelligence (AI) and recommender systems (social media algorithms), with particular impact on children online. The amendments to the Determination make the following changes to address these issues:

  • Ensure children are a primary consideration in the design and operation of any service likely to be accessed by children online
  • Make availability controls that give users the choice and autonomy to decide who they interact with, the content they receive, and their level of privacy
  • Consider user safety in the design and operation of generative AI and recommender systems and proactively minimise the extent to which AI is used to produce or facilitate unlawful or harmful content
  • Take reasonable steps to detect breaches of website terms of use and respond to user complaints about unlawful or harmful content within a reasonable time, and
  • Provide, on request of the Commissioner, a report on the number of active end users of the service in Australia (identifying the difference between children and adults)

To meet these obligations, online service providers are expected to:

  • Publish regular transparency reports about measures they are taking to keep Australians safe online
  • Have processes for detecting and addressing hate speech breaches on their platforms
  • Assess whether business decisions will have a significant impact on the ability of end users to use the platform in a safe way
  • Have systems, tools, and processes to action complaints
  • Continually improve their technologies and processes for preventing access by children to class 2 material

The amendments have taken effect from 31 May 2024.

For a full reading of the Determination, see here.

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