NEWS

Analysis: Keeping Online Safety Real

Australia introduced an En­hancing Online Safety Act in 2015. In 2017 they amend­ed it to further enhance safety of Australians from cyberbullying, sextortion and cyber stalking amongst other areas. In
30 May 2018 10:41
Analysis: Keeping Online Safety Real
Cyber Crime

Australia introduced an En­hancing Online Safety Act in 2015. In 2017 they amend­ed it to further enhance safety of Australians from cyberbullying, sextortion and cyber stalking amongst other areas.

In the United States of America, a study was conducted in 2012 of over 11,925 students in which it was reported that 23 per cent of adolescents reported being a vic­tim of cyber bullying, 30 per cent of which reported experiencing suicidal behaviour.

When our Government intro­duced the Online Safety Bill in Parliament, there was widespread misinformation that it was to curb any criticism of Government. Far from it. Fiji is following countries Opposition and others see as the barometer of democracy.

Fiji is doing more to safeguard women and children who are the worst affected or are often the vic­tims of cyberbullying.

In February, the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to review laws to make sure that what is illegal offline is illegal online.

They had made plans known in the Internet safety strategy green paper, published in October 2017, that abusive and threatening be­haviour online is totally unaccep­table. Many countries are follow­ing suit.

Why does it have to take a politi­cal turn when the same stance is adopted here?

Leading democracies have long thought about the ills of having an unregulated internet, where wom­en and children are abused and those who can no longer cope with the pressure turn to suicide.

Countries have even raised con­cerns about the emergence of fake accounts to spread misinforma­tion, but that is another issue.

Just yesterday, a staff member of a local supermarket had her photo go viral with derogatory comments targeted at her.

In some places she could defend herself, but on forums she was not a member of, she could do nothing, but read the comments.

Is that fair? No.

The allegations against her would never make it into mainstream me­dia, so why is it alright for it to go viral on social networking sites? Another woman had her home ad­dress, photo and phone number plastered all over a page called Chat (fiji) on Facebook. Is that fair? No.

Even the dead have not been spared by Fijian keyboard warri­ors and recently there was much hatred for a victim of an alleged murder. Disgraceful.

No one should be allowed to get away with such hatred and such invasion of their privacy. Govern­ment criticism has not declined on social networking sites, so there is no merit in the arguments heard in Parliament from the Opposition side or the arguments on Facebook from keyboard warriors.

It is about protecting the vulner­able.

Fiji is doing what other countries have done. We can only hope to do better.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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