Tech Check Digest - December 10, 2021

This might be our last Tech Check Digest for the year but the news and announcements have certainly not slowed down, in fact, it's going to be a very busy summer period for anyone working in technology policy, legislation and digital rights.


What are the Coalition's proposed anti-trolling social media laws? (via Guardian Australia). The new anti-trolling bill proposed by the Morrison government frees media companies from potential defamation counteracting the controversial high court decision in Dylan Voller's defamation case. The Bill places more emphasis on the responsibility of digital platforms but privacy advocates are particularly critical of the Bill's stance against anonymity, which many say are essential to protect the public online.

Australia to launch an inquiry against Big Tech and the "toxic material" on their platforms (via Zdnet). The inquiry will investigate the practices of major technology companies and consider evidence relating to the impact social media platforms have on the mental health of Australians.

Craig Kelly: MP banned from Facebook appointed to parliament's social media inquiry (via Guardian Australia). The credibility of the recently announced inquiry is called into question after appointing Craig Kelly, who unapologetically spreads disinformation online, to the point where Facebook and Youtube have banned his videos.

Review of Australia's electronic surveillance framework (via Karen Andrews MP). The Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews released a discussion paper reviewing Australia's electronic surveillance laws and arrangements. This will form part of the government's response to a review of the legal framework of the National Intelligence Committee.

From crypto to Afterpay, the government plans consumer and business change (via SMH). The Treasurer has revealed a string of regulatory and tax proposals covering digital wallets, the 'buy now pay later' sector and even a possible central bank digital currency designed to address the growing digital currency and fintech economy.


The Public Square Project book launch (via The Australia Institute). The Australia Institute's Centre for Responsible Technology has released their new book in a politics in the pub event in Canberra including Centre director Peter Lewis, Guardian Australia political editor Katharine Murphy and book contributor and former World Economic Forum adviser Nicholas Davis.


Can regulating the online world protect users from harm? (via ABC Life Matters). Online harms, particularly in social media are very real, so what is being done to address these? Guests discuss the proposed new anti-trolling laws and the parliamentary committee on social media and online safety

Web3 is a scam, not a revolution (via Tech Won't Save Us). Podcast discusses why technologists are divided on crypto, what's wrong with blockchain, why crypto assets are scams and why web3 is a rebranding effort.