Twitter and Snapchat have defended online anonymity as the Australian Government continues to develop stringent social media legislation.
As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, Twitter and Snapchat have voiced privacy concerns over proposed laws that would force Australian’s to verify their age on many popular websites.
Such legislation would effectively require technology companies to keep users’ IDs and contact information.
Snapchat argued that this erosion of anonymity could hurt people who use it to protect themselves online.
Potentially affected groups include survivors of domestic violence or Australian’s critical of repressive foreign regimes that target dissidents abroad.
As earlier reported by B&T, the Federal Government has made clear its increasing ire for online harassment and yearn to protect young people from harmful web content.
Nonetheless, in a submission, Twitter argued that anonymity alone does not lead to abuse online.
The company stated, “In many cases people post harassing, toxic replies under their real name, with a photo of their real face.”
In concurrence with Twitter, B&T previously reported that Reset Australia believed that emerging Government policies weren’t likely to resolve the scourge of hatefulness that’s become all too familiar online.
Though, despite the ardent disagreements between technology companies and the Government, both parties have acknowledged the complexities of introducing effective regulation.
Evidently, communications minister Paul Fletcher said, “This is a complex issue and we will always need to look carefully at how to balance safety, privacy and anonymity.”
Last year, the Online Safety Act strengthened Australia’s existing restricted access system that is intended to stop people under 18 from seeing this like pornography online.
The success of this legislation is crucial when considering the implications of the WA Child Safety Services report that outlined, “In Australia, the average age of first exposure [to pornography] is being reported at between 8 and 10 years of age.”
Speaking on the matter of children’s online safety, e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant has said, her agency is focused on identifying technical measures that preserve privacy while minimising the sharing of personal information.
To mitigate risks, she has proposed things like AI-driven age estimates based on users’ webcam pictures or analysis of user behaviour on a service.
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