New Online Safety Act 2021

To keep up to date with advances in technology and in responding to new online threats, harmful behaviour and toxic content, a robust new law has come into effect as of January 2022. The Online Safety Act 2021 makes Australia’s existing laws for online safety more expansive and much stronger, making Australia at the international forefront in the fight against online harm.

What are the changes?

According to eSafety the changes relate to six areas:

  1. A world-first Adult Cyber Abuse Scheme for Australians 18 years and older, across a wide range of online services and platforms.
  2. A broader Cyberbullying Scheme for children to capture harms that occur on online services and platforms other than social media
  3. An updated Image-Based Abuse Scheme to address the sharing and threatened sharing of intimate images without the consent of the person shown
  4. Targeted powers to require internet service providers to block access to material showing abhorrent violent conduct
  5. Stronger information-gathering powers
  6. A modernised Online Content Scheme to regulate illegal and restricted content no matter where it’s hosted, bringing in app distribution services and search engines.

How does this affect Cyberbullying of children?

The Act makes online service providers more accountable for the online safety of the people who use their service.

  • In terms of cyberbullying the scheme is no longer limited to specific social media platforms rather applies to all social media services. This means eSafety can order online service providers such as online game chats, websites and direct messaging platforms to remove material.
  • Service providers now only have 24 hours to respond to direction by eSafety for the removal of content.

Cyberbullying material: anything posted on a social media service, relevant electronic service or designated internet service which is intended to target an Australian child, and which has the effect of seriously humiliating, harassing, intimidating, or threatening the child. eSafety

To report cyberbullying material click here.

How can Brennan Law Partners assist?

It is important to be kept up to date with changing legislation that protects your students safety and wellbeing. If you have any queries relating to this brief, or require assistance to respond to something happening at your school, please contact us. If you would like to learn more about the new Online Safety Act read the eSafety Commissioner’s Fact Sheet here.

If you have any queries relating to this brief, or require assistance to respond to something happening at your school, please contact us.

This is meant as a guide only and should not be taken as legal advice.

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