eSafety releases roadmap for the future to keep all Australians safe online

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner has released a new four-year strategy outlining how the world’s first government online safety regulator will continue to protect Australians from all forms of online harm.   
The eSafety Strategy 2022-2025 outlines its continued dual role as both regulator and educator, its boosted powers and regulatory posture under the Online Safety Act 2021, and its continued focus on encouraging industry to prioritise safety at every stage of product design and development.  
The strategy is accompanied by a future tech-focused strategic outlook which examines some of the key regulatory challenges facing all online safety regulators, such as end-to-end encryption, the growing influence of AI and algorithms, the potential for a range of new forms of abuse in the metaverse, and what regulation might look like in a decentralised Web 3.0 world.   
“This strategy and future-focused strategic outlook give the public and technology industry a unique insight into our priorities and focus over the coming years,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.  
“Our regulatory powers under the new Online Safety Act, while unique and world leading, are only one part of a larger mission to reduce the harms experienced by Australians online.  
“In fact, we want to stop the harms from happening in the first place, and to achieve this we also have a big focus on prevention through research, evidence gathering and education programs, as well as proactive and systemic change through our Safety By Design tools which encourage industry to make their products safer.  
“But we also must keep an eye on the horizon for new regulatory challenges heading our way and the potential harms they may bring. When it comes to the metaverse, the future is already upon us and we need to start thinking about how we build in safety from the ground up.” 
For the first time, eSafety will also have strong new regulatory tools to target systemic safety failures endemic in the technology ecosystem and process weaknesses from industry.  
New mandatory industry codes will regulate the availability and accessibility of a range of illegal and harmful online content. Tech companies can also be compelled to provide transparency reports on how they are meeting their obligations to protect users under the government’s Basic Online Safety Expectations.  
“Our expanded powers under the Online Safety Act, combined with mandatory industry codes and Basic Online Safety Expectations, create an interlocking framework to protect all Australians from online harm, now and into the future,” Ms Inman Grant said.   

The eSafety Strategy and strategic outlook can be found here.

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