Australia has passed the worlds first legislation to enforce the removal of adult cyberbullying content.
The first Cyber Adult Abuse Scheme that can enforce the removal of content from an online site when it has the intention of causing serious harm was announced by the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.
To be considered ‘serious abuse’ the abuse must have the intent to cause serious physical or psychological harm and it must be menacing, harassing or offensive in all circumstances according to Mr Fletcher.
Examples of serious abuse include physical threats posted online and racist, sexist or religious based attacks.
According to the Minister defamation is not included.
Online service providers have 24 hours to remove the content, half the time they previously had.
Fines up to $555,000 can be issued if the content is not removed from the sites.
Individuals can be fined up to $110,000 for failing to remove harmful material they posted.
Childrens cyber security has also been broadened to include all online sites not just social media Mr Fletcher said.
Online game chats, websites, direct messaging platforms and hosting services are now included in the legislation and can be ordered to remove content causing harm to children.
Child cyberbullying includes content aimed at an Australian child which has the effect of seriously humiliating, harassing, threatening or intimidating the child.
Minister Fletcher said, “Australians deserve to be able to use online platforms in the knowledge that they will be safe from the vile and unacceptable online abuse and other dangers.”