Government cracks down on child sexual exploitation

International Justice Mission (IJM) Australia congratulates the Communications Minister for strengthening Australia’s Basic Online Safety Expectations (BOSE) to better protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse.

Commencing today, the BOSE Amendment Determination includes new provisions that require tech companies operating in Australia to design products and services with child safety in mind before rolling them out in the Australian market.

IJM Australia Country Director, David Braga, stated, “IJM applauds the Minister for including a new requirement for digital service providers operating in Australia to undertake child safety risk assessments and ensure that identified risks are appropriately mitigated.”

“The additional requirement for service providers to invest in systems, tools and processes to improve the prevention and detection of unlawful material or activity on services is much needed. Tech companies are best placed to develop tools to improve prevention and detection efforts, especially for more tricky forms of exploitation to detect such as the livestreaming of child sexual abuse,” Mr Braga stated.

IJM welcomes the additional expectation that service providers will take reasonable steps to ensure that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration in the design and operation of any service that is likely to be accessed by children but notes this new expectation should be expanded.

“IJM is hopeful that an expanded focus of the best interest of the child will include children who are involuntarily exposed to digital services as part of the Government’s response to the Online Safety Act review currently underway,” said Mr Braga.

“This would further protect children around the world who are exposed to products and services like webcams, streaming services, messaging platforms and social media for the purposes of online sexual exploitation at the direction of Australian offenders,” said Mr Braga.

IJM welcomes the additional requirement for tech companies to share information to prevent and address illegal material or activity on their platforms, such as livestreamed child sexual abuse, and urges the Government to expand this requirement for tech companies to also collaborate with law enforcement agencies.

“IJM further encourages the Government to create a set of standard obligations for tech companies to swiftly provide robust digital evidence to law enforcement agencies during investigations of suspected child sexual abuse,” Mr Braga stated.

“Overall, the BOSE Amendment Determination marks a significant improvement in the protection of children around the world from online sexual exploitation by Australian offenders. IJM congratulates the Australian Government and Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, on this important milestone.” Mr Braga said.

Minister Rowland media release:

Media: Briony Camp | [email protected] | 0468 308 696

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