Kyabram Free Press

Social media crackdown to protect kids

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Children aged under 16 would need their parents’ consent to use social media platforms under a proposed online crackdown.

Attorney-general Michaelia Cash on Monday released an exposure draft of new legislatio­n to create a binding privacy code for social media services, data brokers and other large online operators.

All platforms would be forced to receive parental consent for users under the age of 16.

Social media companies would be required to take all reasonable steps to verify users’ age and put children’s best interests first when handling personal informatio­n.

There would be tougher penalties and more enforcemen­t powers handed to the privacy regulator.

Online platforms subject to the code would need to comply with strict new privacy requiremen­ts, including new rules about children and other vulnerable groups.

The code will be developed with the Australian Informatio­n Commission­er and industry.

Organisati­ons would face tougher requiremen­ts to be transparen­t about how personal informatio­n is handled.

Senator Cash said the bill would ensure Australian­s’ privacy would be treated more carefully and transparen­tly by online platforms.

“We know that Australian­s are wary about what personal informatio­n they give over to large tech companies,” she said.

“Our draft legislatio­n means that these companies will be punished heavily if they don’t meet that standard.”

A 2018 Headspace survey of more than 4000 people aged 12 to 25 found social media was the main reason youth mental health was worsening.

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