HomeInsightsUK-Australia cooperation on online safety: memorandum of understanding

The Governments of the UK and Australia signed an online safety and security memorandum of understanding (“MoU”) on 20 February 2024. The MoU, which is not legally binding, will serve as a framework for the participants to deliver concrete and coordinated online safety and security policy initiatives and outcomes to support their citizens, businesses and economies. The scope of the MoU covers a large number of policy areas including harmful online behaviour, age assurance, safety by design, technology-facilitated gender-based violence, online media and digital literacy, user privacy and freedom of expression, online child sexual exploitation and abuse, terrorist and violent extremist content, lawful access to data, encryption and misinformation and disinformation.

The ten joint actions include coordination of engagement with international partners that champions a commitment to an open, safe and secure internet and in which the parties play a key role in shaping principles relating to online safety (including on issues such as age assurance, age appropriate design and safety by design); sharing information, intelligence and best practice and increased coordination between respective law enforcement agencies and regulators; coordination with the global technology industry to ensure safety by design, to help to develop common positions among like-minded partners and enhance collaboration between industry and governments to address challenges posed by design choices, and to ensure end-to-end encryption and technologies that aim to enhance privacy and security do not undermine the right to safety, especially for children, and tightly-controlled lawful access to data; sharing best practice and deepening collaboration on countering misinformation, disinformation and foreign interference that threatens democracy; and sharing evidence on technologies that can protect safety and trust in information online, especially where this is challenged by emerging technologies like AI.

The MoU will establish a new annual online safety and security policy dialogue to review strategic progress under the MoU, including helping to set future priorities and areas of cooperation.

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