eSafety grilled about lack of WA Police awareness on its new takedown powers

Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

Australia’s eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant was questioned by senators on Tuesday morning about the efficacy of the recently enacted Online Safety Act, which expanded the commissioner’s takedown powers to cover more cyberbullying content – including those targeting adults — intimate images of someone that was shared without their consent, abhorrent violent material, and restricted content.

The grilling arose in response to a letter written by Western Australia Police Minister Paul Papalia to Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher that called for the Online Safety Act powers to be used more expeditiously. 

Papalia wrote the letter after a TikTok video surfaced online of a stolen vehicle occupied by boys aged 11 and 12, and a girl aged 13, ramming a police car into a tree in Broome, injuring two police officers. The video was posted by the children shortly before they crashed the vehicle.

Explaining the aftermath, Inman Grant said her agency was not aware of the TikTok content until Papalia’s letter was published by a media outlet on Sunday evening. After becoming aware of the letter, the eSafety commissioner said her agency contacted the WA Police, Snapchat, and TikTok to ascertain what actions were being taken.

Prior to the

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