July 7, 2011

High-Wire Act: cybersafety recommendations

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High-Wire Act: Cyber-Safety and the Young, the block-buster report of the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety, was tabled in parliament by Senator Dana Wortley on 20 June, after 13 months of hearings, and 153 submissions including one from Roar. The report makes 32 recommendations aimed at improving cyber-safety for children and young people.

Tabling the report, Senator Wortley said, “Parents and carers have ultimate responsibility for educating and protecting their children, including in the online environment. The role that they play in cybersafety education is vital and, while many resources are available, it is not always clear where they can be found. We are concerned to assist those parents and carers whose familiarity with technology is not great and we have made recommendations that may assist this group. A number of other recommendations seek to strengthen the position of schools and teachers in dealing with cyber-bullying and other online abuses, including cyber-bullying of teachers themselves. Other important recommendations deal with the establishment of a greater degree of cross-jurisdictional cooperation between the various regulatory and law enforcement agencies.”

List of recommendations

Young people in the online environment
Recommendation 1
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth consider the feasibility of assisting preschools and kindergartens to provide cyber-safety educational programs for children as part of their development activities.
Cyber-bullying
Recommendation 2
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy invite the Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety, in consultation with the Youth Advisory Group, to develop an agreed definition of cyber-bullying to be used by all Australian Government departments and agencies, and encourage its use nationally.
Recommendation 3
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Minster for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth work with the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate the feasibility of developing and introducing a cyber-safety student mentoring program in Australian schools.
Breaches of privacy and identity theft
Recommendation 4
That the Australian Government consider amending small business exemptions of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to ensure that small businesses which hold substantial quantities of personal information, or which transfer personal information offshore, are subject to the requirements of that Act.
Recommendation 5
That the Australian Privacy Commissioner undertake a review of those categories of small business with significant personal data holdings, and make recommendations to Government about expanding the categories of small business operators prescribed in regulations as subject to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Recommendation 6
That the Office of the Privacy Commissioner examine the issue of consent in the online context and develop guidelines on the appropriate use of privacy consent forms for online services and the Australian Government seek their adoption by industry.
Recommendation 7
That the Australian Government amend the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to provide that all Australian organisations which transfer personal information overseas, including small businesses, ensure that the information will be protected in a manner at least equivalent to the protections provided under Australia’s privacy framework.
Recommendation 8
That the Office of Privacy Commissioner, in consultation with web browser developers, Internet service providers and the advertising industry, and inaccordance with proposed amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), develop and impose a code which includes a ‘Do Not Track’ model following consultation with stakeholders.
Recommendation 9
That the Australian Government amend the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to provide that an organisation has an Australian link if it collects information from Australia, thereby ensuring that information collected from Australia in the online context is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Recommendation 10
That the Australian Government amend the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) to require all Australian organisations that transfer personal information offshore are fully accountable for protecting the privacy of that information.
Recommendation 11
That the Australian Government consider the enforceability of provisions relating to the transfer of personal information offshore and, if necessary, strengthen the powers of the Australian Privacy Commissioner to enforce adequate protection of offshore data transfers.
Recommendation 12
That the Australian Government continue to work internationally, and particularly within our region, to develop strong privacy protections for Australians in the online context.
Schools
Recommendation 13
That the Attorney-General, as a matter of priority, work with State and Territory counterparts to develop a nationally consistent legislative approach to add certainty to the authority of schools to deal with incidents of inappropriate student behaviour to other students out of school hours.
Recommendation 14
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth propose to the Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs:
to develop national core standards for cyber-safety education in
schools,
to adopt a national scheme to encourage all Australian schools to introduce ‘Acceptable Use’ Agreements governing access to the online environment by their students, together with the necessary supporting policies, and
to encourage all Australian schools to familiarise students, teachers, and parents with the ThinkUknow program, and the Cyber- Safety Help Button and other resources of the Australian Communications and Media Authority to promote the cyber-safety message.
Recommendation 15
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy consider extending the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Connect-ED program and other training programs to non- administration staff in Australian schools including school librarians, chaplains and counsellors.
Teachers
Recommendation 16
That the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy work together to ensure that sufficient funding is available to ensure the Australian Communications and Media Authority can provide the necessary training for professional development of Australian teachers.
Recommendation 17
That the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy encourage all Australian universities providing teacher training courses to ensure that cyber-safety material is incorporated in the core units in their curriculums.
Recommendation 18
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth establish a position similar to Queensland’s ‘reputation management’ position to provide nationally consistent advice to teachers who are being cyber-bullied by students about the role and processes of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, law enforcement agencies and Internet service providers in facilitating the removal of inappropriate material.
Recommendation 19
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy investigate funding a national, online training program for teachers and students that addresses bullying and cyber-bullying, and is validated by national accreditation.
Whole-of-school community
Recommendation 20
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth invite the Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs to formulate a cooperative national approach to the development of a whole-of-school community approach to cyber-safety, and to provide all schools with the necessary information and strategies to measure the effectiveness of their cyber-safety policies.
Legislative basis
Recommendation 21
That the Attorney-General work with State and Territory counterparts to invite all Australian Police Forces to develop a range of online courses to provide training in cyber-safety issues for all ranks, from basic training for recruits and in-service and refresher courses for more senior members.
Recommendation 22
That the Attorney-General work with State and Territory counterparts to initiate a mandatory training program for judicial officers and all relevant court staff addressing cyber-safety issues, to ensure they are aware of these issues, and of emerging technologies.
Recommendation 23
That the Attorney-General in conjunction with the National Working Group on Cybercrime undertake a review of legislation in Australian jurisdictions relating to cyber-safety crimes.
New technologies
Recommendation 24
That the Australian Communications and Media Authority facilitate the development of and promote online self assessment tools to enable young people, parents/carers and teachers to assess their level of awareness and understanding of cyber-safety issues.
Recommendation 25
That the Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety investigate possible improvements to the information provided to parents at the point of sale of computers and mobile phones.
Recommendation 26
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy negotiate with mobile phone companies to increase affordable access to crisis help lines, with a view to ensuring greater accessibility by young people seeking assistance.
Input from young people
Recommendation 27
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy invite the Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety, in conjunction with the Youth Advisory Group, continue to advise Government on enhancing the effectiveness of cyber-safety awareness campaigns including targeted media campaigns and educational programs.
Recommendation 28
That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth consult with the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to develop measures to introduce:
youth leadership courses enabling students to mentor their school communities about cyber-safety issues, and
courses on cyber-safety issues for parents/carers and other adults are developed in consultation with young people and delivered by young people.
Recommendation 29
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy facilitate a cooperative approach to ensure all material provided on cyber-safety programs is accessible through a central portal, and that a national education campaign be designed and implemented to publicise this portal, especially to young people.
Recommendation 30
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy encourages industry including the Internet Industry Association, to enhance the accessibility to assistance or complaints mechanisms on social networking sites; and develop a process that will allow people who have made complaints to receive prompt advice about actions that have been taken to resolve the matter, including the reasons why no action was taken.
Recommendation 31
That the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy invite the Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety to negotiate protocols with overseas social networking sites to ensure that offensive material is taken down as soon as possible.
Recommendation 32
That the relevant Ministers in consultation with service providers consider how costs may be reduced for law enforcement agencies collecting evidence against online offenders.

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