cyber daily logo

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter

Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter X facebook linkedin Instagram Instagram

Protection of children a key concern in government review of online safety legislation

The federal government has announced a review of existing online safety laws to ensure that protections and frameworks are up to date and appropriate for the modern day.

user icon Daniel Croft
Wed, 22 Nov 2023
Protection of children a key concern in government review of online safety legislation
expand image

The review of the Online Safety Act, announced by Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland, will involve a careful evaluation of the legislation’s Basic Online Safety Expectations (BOSE), which outlines “the government’s expectations of industry with regard to user safety and improves transparency and accountability through mandatory reporting”.

“Australia’s online safety laws are world-leading, but that doesn’t mean they are a set-and-forget,” said Minister Rowland.

“We need to continually reassess the tools available to the government and the eSafety Commissioner to respond to new and emerging harms.”


Minister Rowland said the government will discuss a number of potential amendments to the BOSE, with the overall goal being to better protect those most vulnerable to online content, such as children.

The BOSE amendments hope to ensure “the best interests of the child as a primary consideration for all services used by children”, according to Minister Rowland, who added that measures need to be added by those services to protect children from that content.

In addition, there will be a focus on minimising the development of harmful or unlawful material using generative AI, new processes for detecting and addressing hate speech developed, and new requirements of service providers to publish “regular transparency reports to explain steps being taken to keep Australians safe online”.

“Under the proposed changes, services using generative AI would explicitly be expected to proactively minimise the extent to which AI can be used to produce unlawful and harmful material,” said Minister Rowland.

“We are also proposing a new expectation that industry consider the best interests of children in the design and operation of their services.

“This could include implementing appropriate age assurance mechanisms and technologies to prevent children from accessing age-inappropriate material.”

Minister Rowland has also announced that the review of the Online Safety Act will be led by former ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard, who will harness over a decade of experience protecting consumers.

“Ms Rickard has extensive experience in regulating consumer harms and is highly regarded for her efforts to promote a safer online environment through regulating scams,” said Minister Rowland.

“As the deputy chair of the ACCC for more than 10 years, she witnessed firsthand the changing digital landscape and how the vectors for harm have become increasingly sophisticated.“

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

cd intro podcast

Introducing Cyber Daily, the new name for Cyber Security Connect

Click here to learn all about it
cyber daily subscribe
Be the first to hear the latest developments in the cyber industry.