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We invite all Australians to add their signature to the open letter below.
7 February 2023
Dear Prime Minister,
RE: Civil society calls for tech industry measures to protect children online
As leaders of faith groups and non-profits, and members of the Australian community, we are concerned about the significant rise in child sex abuse taking place online.
Australians are living in an increasingly digital world that offers many benefits to society. But regulation and law enforcement have not kept up with the rapid growth in online activity.
- We are concerned that over 85 million images and videos of child sexual abuse (CSAM) were identified last year.
- We are concerned that Australians are taking advantage of technology to pay for young children to be sexually abused via webcam.
- We are concerned that the existing practices of tech companies are clearly inadequate in the face of the real danger posed to children by predators on their platforms.
We cannot stand by while children are being abused over the internet, and revictimised each time their video or photo is shared or viewed.
Tougher measures must be put in place to ensure predators and traffickers are not at liberty to harness this technology to abuse young children – and profit off that abuse.
That’s why we urge you and your government to increase the accountability of the technology industry for abuse facilitated by their platforms. The Australian Government can build on our country’s proactive approach by supporting the following recommendations:
- Ensuring providers of online platforms and services are required to use technological tools to detect not only known CSAM, but also newly created and livestreamed CSAM.
- Ensuring providers of encrypted electronic services are required to use technological tools and behavioural indicators (such as keywords relating to money transfers and sexual interest in children) to detect CSAM before it enters the encrypted space.
- Making sure the digital industry uses its policies, tools, and rules to tangibly support the privacy and security of victims and survivors to create a safer online environment for all.
We are proud of the deserved reputation that Australian law enforcement has at the forefront of the global fight to protect children from exploitation. We are proud that Australia has the world’s first eSafety Commissioner.
But we can do more.
Please continue to ensure protection for children online – please support stronger industry regulation under the Online Safety Act.
Ruby* – Survivor Leader, Global Survivor Network
Steve Baird – CEO, International Justice Mission Australia
The Most Rev Kanishka Raffel – Archbishop, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Matthew Maury – CEO, Tearfund Australia
Rev Tim Costello – Executive Director, Micah Australia
John Hunt – CEO, ACCI Relief
Ross Piper – CEO, Australian Ethical
Melinda Tankard Reist – Collective Shout
The Right Rev Christopher Edwards – Bishop of North Sydney, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
The Right Rev Dr Michael Stead – Bishop of South Sydney, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
The Right Rev Peter Lin – Bishop of South Western Sydney, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
The Right Rev Peter Hayward – Bishop of Wollongong, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
Rev Stu Cameron – CEO and Superintendent, Wesley Mission
Phil and Lucy Dooley – Interim Global Senior Pastors, Hillsong Church
Wendy Francis – National Director, Australian Christian Lobby
Rev Ben Peletier – Chairman, NSW Reformed Church, Northern Beaches Christian Reformed Church
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