Fast-Track Your Knowledge of the Online Safety Act 2021

The enhanced online safety regime under the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth), which commenced on 23 January 2022, represents a new era of online regulation in Australia. Online service providers who do not comply with the legislation will face tough new enforcement measures.

Practical Law’s recent practice note will help bring you up to speed with establishing which entities are covered under the legislation and what they need to do to comply.

Why download the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) practice note?

Legal practitioners advising online service providers need to get across the scope and application of the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) to ensure companies are ready for:

  • the requirements under the various complaint schemes imposed under the legislation, for example, the new scheme to address adult cyber abuse, the cyberbullying scheme for children, the scheme to address image-based abuse and the online content scheme.
  • the compliance requirements under the new basic online safety expectations (BOSE) introduced under the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) which include requiring companies subject to the BOSE to be able to demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to minimise the extent to which material or activity on their online service is unlawful or harmful.

Online service providers will need to revise their end-user terms and conditions, policies and procedures for receiving and responding to complaints by end-users as well as their systems and procedures for monitoring content which is accessible to end-users in Australia.

Although Australia’s new online safety legislative scheme is aimed at BigTech such as Meta and Google, many online service providers may be captured under the various regulatory schemes implemented under the new online safety regime including gaming platforms, app distribution services and private messaging services.

Companies captured by the legislation will need to be ready to comply with the new obligations which include:

  • the new 24-hour timeframe (reduced from 48 hours) under removal notices issued by the eSafety Commissioner for removal of certain harmful content which contravenes the legislation.
  • requests for information from the eSafety Commissioner as to how the company is complying with the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth).
  • blocking notices or blocking requests issued by the eSafety Commissioner in relation to material that depicts, promotes, incites or instructs abhorrent violent conduct.
  • a range of new obligations under the BOSE which will require action such as updating the terms of use of the online service provider and reviewing default privacy and safety settings for services targeting children for compliance with the BOSE.

Industry codes and standards will be developed under the Online Safety Act 2021 (Cth) over the next 12 months in consultation with stakeholders. It’s never been more important to familiarise yourself with the new regime.

This resource is accurate at the time of first publication and is written by Practical Law’s experienced team of 30+ in-house lawyer writers that create and maintain resources so that you can respond quickly and effectively as regulation updates unfold.

Louise, Senior Lawyer Writer, joined Practical Law after more than 15 years in legal practice working in commercial and health law for both the government and in private practice including at top tier law firm, Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst). Louise is a subject matter expert on data protection and privacy laws and is a current member of the NSW Law Society’s Privacy and Data Law Committee. Louise’s expertise also includes advising across all areas of commercial and business law especially in the context of the provision of medical and health services including advising on major projects, information technology and outsourcing and goods and services contracts.

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