Home » Australia and the United Kingdom join forces to advance online safety and security

Australia and the United Kingdom join forces to advance online safety and security

Australia and the United Kingdom have today (Tuesday 20 February) co-signed an historic Online Safety and Security Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), ushering in a new era of bilateral cooperation between the two countries to support safer and more positive experience online.

The first arrangement of its kind, the MoU has a broad focus and encompasses a wide range of digital online safety and security issues, including illegal content, child safety, age assurance, technology facilitated gender-based violence, and addressing harms caused by rapidly changing technology, like generative artificial intelligence.

The MoU will help amplify the world class regulatory regimes in both countries, including the UK’s Online Safety Act 2023, and Australia’s Online Safety Act 2021, which seek to make the two countries the safest places in the world to be online.

The UK and Australia have a shared commitment to upholding and promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law, both online and offline, and the MoU enshrines that commitment.

The MoU pledges to deepen and intensify cooperation across several key pillars, including deeper cooperation on online safety and security.
Both governments have committed to closer cooperation in the form of in-person dialogues, coordinated bilateral and multilateral engagement, regulatory engagement, shared research projects, and working with industry to address safety challenges posed by design choices.

The partnership will allow both countries to lead the international agenda and shape a global consensus on tackling online harms.

The MoU will be taken forward by the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Australian Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA), in collaboration with other relevant departments and agencies on both sides.

For more information, you can find the UK-Australia Online Safety and Security MoU on GOV.UK here.

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, the Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP said:

The UK and Australia are at the forefront of online safety, and I am proud of our internationally pioneering approaches which are already helping to create a safer and more secure digital world, protecting our citizens and holding platforms to account. 

The signing of the joint Memorandum today signifies a new chapter in our shared history. I look forward to building on this partnership which will help address the challenges and harness the opportunities of the digital age.

Australian Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP said:

Both Australia and the United Kingdom are resolute in our commitment to keeping our citizens safe online. We are likeminded allies and key partners in the fight for safer and more positive online experiences.

This historic Memorandum of Understanding will bring our two countries closer together, ensuring greater collaboration and engagement as we deal with online harms.

Working together, we will protect the privacy, safety and security of our citizens, without stifling the innovation that is vital for economic, social and individual progress.

Online safety is a shared, global responsibility. We must be proactive in ensuring that our legislative frameworks remain fit-for-purpose, and continue to evolve as new harms emerge.