Govt names Alastair MacGibbon as e-Safety Commissioner

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Govt names Alastair MacGibbon as e-Safety Commissioner

Leaves DiData to tackle child cyberbullying.

The federal government has appointed former AFP cybercrime expert and general manager of security for Dimension Data Alastair MacGibbon as the country's new e-Safety Commissioner for children.

MacGibbon - who is also the director of Canberra University's Centre for Internet Safety - will officially start his role on July 1.

DiData confirmed MacGibbon would depart the company from April 10 to take on the new role.

His appointment follows the passing of the Government's Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill 2014, legislation which compels web giants and social network operators to take down bullying material in an effort to improve online safety for children.

The legislation involves a two-tier scheme - overseen by the e-Safety Commissioner - in which companies can be fined for not co-operating with take-down requests related to content deemed to be bullying.

The establishment of the Office of the Children's e-Safety Commissioner, which MacGibbon will lead, is expected to cost $2.4 million.

It will be made up of resources transferred from elsewhere in the public service, and located within the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Parliamentary secretary to the Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, today said MacGibbon had 'deep expertise' in online safety and security.

MacGibbon helped establish the Australian Federal Police's high-tech crime centre during his long stint with the federal police force, and also previously worked at eBay as its senior director of trust, safety and customer support, and as the local CEO of infosec certification not-for-profit CREST Australia.

"MacGibbon was appointed from a strong field of candidates following a public call for nominations and a thorough selection process," Fletcher said.

MacGibbon said one in five Australian children between eight and 17 were exposed to cyberbullying, and "the overwhelming message from the Australian public is that we must do more to protect Australian kids online – it will be the mission of this office to do just that".

Alongside the $2.4 million allocated by the Government to establish the Office of the Children's e-Safety Commissioner, it has also promised $7.5 million to help schools access "accredited online safety programs". 

Fletcher said once the office was set up, the focus would then be on establishing an effective complaints system to facilitate the removal of harmful material from social media sites, which he said would run over the course of this year.

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