Safety by Design (SbD) is an initiative that places the safety and rights of users at the centre of the design, development and deployment of online products and services.

While the concept of SbD is gaining momentum internationally, our own Australian initiative — to create safer online environments and reduce potential harms — is well progressed. Our work is being shared with international partners to create a consistent global approach.

 

Background

Work on SbD has been underway for some time, developed and finessed with the support of industry, service providers, parents and young people. Our eight-month consultation process, outlined in the Safety by Design Overview, led to the development of Safety by Design Principles — guidelines that provide a model to assess, review and embed user safety into online services. The Principles, which were overwhelmingly welcomed by those consulted, also provide industry with a valuable benchmark.

As part of the consultation process, we asked young people to prepare their vision of how the online industry could help users to navigate the online world, freely and safely. We focused on children and young people because research has consistently highlighted that their rights and needs online are not being met. This is a significant gap, as one in three internet users globally are children, children are early adopters of online products and technology, and they can be the most vulnerable to online harm. The vision is a powerful statement that young people’s needs and expectations should be heard and actioned.

Next steps

With the core SbD Principles established in early 2019, work has begun to create a Framework of guidance for industry use. We are now also consulting directly with key stakeholders about the tools and resources they need to ensure user safety is embedded into the design, function and content of their services.

Further updates will be available as the initiative progresses. For more information, please contact safetybydesign@esafety.gov.au

 

For more information, including a copy of the SbD Principles, please email safetybydesign@esafety.gov.au

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