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ACMA Annual Reports on Online Risk and Safety in the Digital Economy

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Overview Edit

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has provided three annual report to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on measures for promoting safety in the online environment.

Reports Edit

  • Developments in Internet Filtering Technologies and Other Measures for Promoting Online Safety: First Annual Report to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Feb. 2008) (full-text).
This first report observed that given the range of possible responses to online risks, including varieties of internet filtering, no single response can adequately mitigate all forms of online risk.

More specifically, this report examined a range of measures used to minimise online risks, including:

  • network-wide blocking of illegal content
  • parental control technologies
  • parental monitoring of children's activities
  • educational initiatives
  • reporting potentially illegal content to relevant organisations for investigation and prosecution.

By way of a case study, the 2007 report examined the implementation of these measures in the European Union, particularly the United Kingdom and Germany, and observed that:

  • Developments in Internet Filtering Technologies and Other Measures for Promoting Online Safety: Second Annual Report to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Apr. 2009) (full-text).
This second report identified that the effectiveness of strategies to mitigate online risk and promote online safety is enhanced when responses to risk are deployed at multiple points along the supply chain for online content and services.

The report had, as an overarching theme, the usefulness of targeting different points in the supply chain for online content and services with a suite of measures to reduce availability and access to certain kinds of content and to build resilience to ]]online]] ]]risk]].

Responses to online risk were examined across four strategic areas including:

  1. establishing a knowledge base
  2. promoting a safer online environment
  3. reducing illegal activity
  4. achieving effective public awareness.

The report observed that the worldwide increase in user-generated content poses significant potential for increased risk because of its interactive nature and dispersed supply and distribution models. The latest industry developments in both device and network-level filtering were also considered, including:

This third and final report built on the earlier reports in this series. It explores the implications of the way ICTs are used in the emerging digital economy for the management of online risk and promotion of safety. The report explores the roles of different players in the digital economy noting that governments, regulators, operators of online services and users themselves can all contribute towards the effective management of online risk.

This report builds on the previous reports through its focus on the way in which the use of ICTs is deeply embedded in everyday life and in the everyday behaviour of Australians today. This reveals itself in the way in which people across generations interact socially and engage in economic transactions: through online social networks, online entertainment, online shopping, and through the ubiquitous mobile phone which enables access to online content and services and records innumerable aspects and details of one's own life. This is the digital economy at work.

This report explores how aspects of the digital economy give rise to particular risk behaviours that apply across all age groups. Thus, the increasing use of social media and online transactions gives rise to risks associated with disclosure of personal information. The increased functionality on mobile phones, and the use of that functionality, gives rise to risks associated with having one's entire life recorded on and lived through a personal and transportable device. Nevertheless, the risks are typically encountered differently for people of different ages, and the report examines these different experiences of risk between children and adults.

The incidence of risks associated with people's engagement with the digital economy invites a whole-of-digital economy response. This report examines how different players in the digital economy — from governments and regulators, to operators of online services and online access providers, to users themselves — can contribute towards effective management of risks.

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