Mr Rowland said he would speak with federal, state and territory attorneys-general to examine criminal justice responses and that the government would investigate law enforcement, privacy and data issues before deciding to force disclosure of users with criminal records.
Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, who will work with Rowland’s department to collect data from the apps and identify key loopholes, said no online dating company met all online safety standards d ‘Australia.
He said apps should better use their AI capabilities to scan language, then prompt users when they’re doing something harmful or issue red flags when they identify a user might be in danger.
Inman Grant will write to the companies over the next two months to ask for details on how many people using their apps are perpetrating abuse, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and sending explicit images without consent. It also wants data on the effectiveness of its prevention tools and its plans to weed out repeat offenders.
“[The apps] I don’t want to share absolute numbers. Maybe they’re not looking [that] information because what they don’t know, they don’t have to deal with,” he said. There was also a disincentive to improve user empowerment tools due to cost.
“We need to change the incentives around protecting profits to actually protect human beings… If I don’t get full transparency, I have legal powers of compulsion that I used against the big mainstream platforms that I can use again,” he said. said
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the apps should also encourage education around respect for women and consent, a move welcomed by Teach Us Consent founder Chanel Contos, who he said businesses had a responsibility to invest in public education.
A spokeswoman for Match Group, the multibillion-dollar company that owns Tinder, Hinge, Match.com and OkCupid, said this week it had published new dating safety guidance for an Australian context.
“We stay focused on building security in everything we do, from leveraging technology to investing in moderation tools and machine learning to partnering with leading security experts and building innovative in-app security features “, he said. “We will continue to work with local officials to maintain and improve our security efforts.”
A Bumble spokeswoman said it had introduced some safety features, including an artificial intelligence tool that blurred out lewd images and in-app calls that prevented users from having to share personal phone numbers.
“We know that domestic and sexual violence is not only a huge problem in Australia, but around the world, and that women, members of the LGBQTIA+ communities and First Nations are most at risk,” she said.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to trust and safety throughout our community, continuing to help educate our members on ways to stay safe on and off our platform.”
If you or someone you know needs assistance, you can contact the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Advice Service on 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732).
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