Microsoft and MySpace join Govt's fight against online predators

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Microsoft and MySpace join Govt's fight against online predators

Government launches Working Group to battle against sexual predators on social-networking sites.

Microsoft has joined the likes of MySpace and the child protection advocacy group Bravehearts to help launch an extension of the Federal Government’s NetAlert initiative, the Consultative Working Group.

Other participants include the Federal Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Federal Police, CrimTrac, and the Internet Industry Association.

The group will address the risk of sexual abuse over social networking sites by paedophiles and sex offenders.

According to Microsoft’s representative, Julie Inman Grant, regional director, corporate affairs, internet safety and security APAC, convening a consultative group that includes members from Government, industry, law enforcement and the non-profit sector is important to ensure that a multiplicity of views informs a consensus on the best solutions for Australia.

“As the use of social networking services and related online services proliferate, we need to continue to look at new and innovative ways to make sure that these are both positive and safe experiences,” said Grant.

Senator Helen Coonan Minister for communications, information technology and the arts said: “Industry organisations such as MySpace and Microsoft, and community groups such as Bravehearts are already on the front line.”

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator David Johnston, joined Senator Coonan in announcing the members and terms of reference for the Working Group.

“I am pleased with the range of participants in the Group and particularly welcome industry and community representatives,” Senator Johnston said.

The Working Group will report on existing measures and suggest reforms providing children with more protection when they use these sites.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston said: “My aim is to make sure those spaces are safe places so our kids can learn, grow and lead happy and healthy lives, free from the horror of child sexual assault.”
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