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Sunrise with Edwina Bartholomew

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash


Subjects: privacy laws, privacy legislation, social media companies, online privacy

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: Joining me now is Attorney-General Michaelia Cash. Good morning to you Michaelia. You want Facebook to verify users age get parental permission for sign up, this would be a world first if you can pull it off.

MINISTER CASH: Absolutely. And it's all about ensuring that your personal information is protected online. But for all the mums and dads out there ensuring that your children's personal information is protected online. You know, with the growth of social media, more and more Australians are worried about what's happening with my personal information in the digital age. And so the government has today released an exposure draft of legislation that is going to require in particular, those big social media companies to put the best interests of your children first when dealing with their social media information. But also if your children are under the age of 16, we're going to require parental consent before they can deal with their personal information.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: So Michaelia, they are tougher new laws, including rules, as you say on how kids personal information is passed on to other companies. But Facebook doesn't have a great track record here. Do you think they'll find any loopholes in this legislation?

MINISTER CASH: Well, we're increasing the penalties there are going to be incredibly substantial penalties in the event of ongoing and sustained breaches, and we say to all of those social media companies out there, we want you to do the right thing by Australians with their personal information. But in particular, when you look at the increase in mental health issues, when you look at the increase in particular in young people of eating disorders. This is all about ensuring that they are not improperly targeted online. How many parents do you hear say to you, why is my 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old daughter receiving information about diet pills online? This is all about ensuring you have control of your personal information online, but in particular, putting the best interests of our children, Australia's children, first when social media companies are dealing with their personal information.

EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW: Sure lots of parents out there agree with you. Thank you so much for your time. Attorney-General Michaelia Cash.

MINISTER CASH: Thanks a lot, Eddie.