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The Department of Home Affairs has called for more oversight on social media algorithms and online platforms using encryption as being a potential mechanism for preventing online abuse.
Those calls were made by Home Affairs representatives on Tuesday afternoon when they appeared before the Select Committee on Social Media and Online Safety. The committee is currently undertaking a social media probe into the practices of major technology companies to curb toxic online behaviour.
The committee’s probe was approved by the federal government at the end of last year with the intention of building on the proposed social media legislation to “unmask trolls”.
Home Affairs digital and technology policy head Brendan Dowling on Tuesday said his department has become increasingly concerned about the rollout of encryption on online platforms. In expressing these concerns, Dowling said his department was not anti-encryption and acknowledged the cybersecurity and privacy benefits of the technology, but noted the rollout of encryption on online platforms has not been done with the intention of prioritising the safety of users.
“I think we’re seeing platforms adopt the idea of safety by design, but that continues to be a concern where safety seems to be an after feature or an afterthought to