The Australian federal government has proposed new cyber safety laws which will lead to huge fines for internet service providers, social media companies and other online platforms if they do not remove harmful online content within 24 hours. These world-first laws are specifically targeting image-based abuse, cyberbullying, harmful online trolling, revenge porn and other types of cyber-abuse. Companies can be fined $555,000 and individuals $111,000 if they fail to respond in time.
As the law currently stands, takedown notices must be actioned within 48 hours. Under the new law, if a website or app does not remove damaging content such as child sexual abuse material within 24 hours, the eSafety commissioner will require search engines and app stores to block access to those services. This new law is part of a nationwide policy to crack down on online abuse. These sanctions are currently in place for cyberbullying on social media and will now be extended to online games, websites, messaging and hosting services. Social media companies would be forced to provide the personal details of online offenders which would put a stop to people hiding behind fake profiles.
This is very welcome news and the Australian government is to be commended for taking online abuse so seriously. We believe other countries should follow Australia’s lead and bring in harsher penalties for online criminals.