Overall the mountain has laboured - boasting that the Committee took "into account the opinions and internet habits of an unprecedented 33,751 young Australian internet users" (along with submissions by myself) - and brought forth a mouse, albeit a large and bureaucratic mouse.
The Committee's recommendations are -
Young people in the online environment(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).
R1 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth consider the feasibility of assisting preschools and kindergartens to provide cyber-safety educational programs for children as part of their development activities.
R2 - That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
R3 - That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy and the Minster for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth work with the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development & Youth and the Australian Communications & 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
R4 - 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.
R5 - 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).
R6 - 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.
R7 - 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.
R8 - That the Office of Privacy Commissioner, in consultation with web browser developers, Internet service providers and the advertising industry, and in accordance 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.
R9 - That the Australian Government amend the Privacy Act 1988
R10 - 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.
R11 - 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.
R12 - That the Australian Government continue to work internationally, and particularly within our region, to develop strong privacy protections for Australians in the online context.
R13 - 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.
R14 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth propose to the Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development & Youth Affairs:
• to develop national core standards for cyber-safety education in schools,R15 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth and the Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy consider extending the Australian Communications & Media Authority's Connect-ED program and other training programs to nonadministration staff in Australian schools including school librarians, chaplains and counsellors.
• 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 CyberSafety Help Button and other resources of the Australian Communications and Media Authority to promote the cyber-safety message.
R16 - That the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs & Workplace Relations and the Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy work together to ensure that sufficient funding is available to ensure the Australian Communications & Media Authority can provide the necessary training for professional development of Australian teachers.
R17 - That the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs & Workplace Relations and the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
R18 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & 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 & Media Authority, law enforcement agencies and Internet service providers in facilitating the removal of inappropriate material.
R19 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth and the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
R20 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth invite the Ministerial Council of Education, Early Childhood Development & 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.
R21 - 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.
R22 - 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.
R23 - 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.
Australian and International Responses
R24 - That the Australian Communications & 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.
R25 - 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.
R26 That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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
R27 - That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
R28 - That the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood & Youth consult with the Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy to develop measures to introduce:
• youth leadership courses enabling students to mentor their school communities about cyber-safety issues, andR29 - That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
• courses on cyber-safety issues for parents/carers and other adults are developed in consultation with young people and delivered by young people.
R30 - That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
R31 - That the Minister for Broadband, Communications & 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.
R32 - That the relevant Ministers in consultation with service providers consider how costs may be reduced for law enforcement agencies collecting evidence against online offenders. The breadth and often anodyne nature of those recommendations reflects the Committee's portmanteau Terms of Reference -
i) the online environment in which Australian children currently engage, including key physical points of access (schools, libraries, internet cafes, homes, mobiles) and stakeholders controlling or able to influence that engagement (governments, parents, teachers, traders, internet service providers, content service providers);
ii) the nature, prevalence, implications of and level of risk associated with cyber-safety threats, such as:
• abuse of children online (cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking and sexual grooming);iii) Australian and international responses to current cyber-safety threats (education, filtering, regulation, enforcement) their effectiveness and costs to stakeholders, including business;
• exposure to illegal and inappropriate content;
• inappropriate social and health behaviours in an online environment (eg technology addiction, online promotion of anorexia, drug usage, underage drinking and smoking);
• identity theft; and
• breaches of privacy;
iv) opportunities for cooperation across Australian stakeholders and with international stakeholders in dealing with cyber-safety issues;
v) examining the need to ensure that the opportunities presented by, and economic benefits of, new technologies are maximised;
vi) ways to support schools to change their culture to reduce the incidence and harmful effects of cyber-bullying including by:
• increasing awareness of cyber-safety good practice;vii) analysing information on achieving and continuing world’s best practice safeguards;
• encouraging schools to work with the broader school community, especially parents, to develop consistent, whole school approaches; and
• analysing best practice approaches to training and professional development programs and resources that are available to enable school staff to effectively respond to cyber-bullying;
viii) the merit of establishing an Online Ombudsman to investigate, advocate and act on cyber-safety issues; and
(b) such other matters relating to cyber-safety referred by the Minister for Broadband, Communications & the Digital Economy or either House.