Freedom of speech needs “recalibration”, eSafety Commissioner says

Talking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos
01 June 2022
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant told the World Economic Forum in Davos that she believes freedom of speech, among other human rights, is in need of “recalibration.”

Grant did not explain what this “recalibration” would specifically entail, but her comments about the need to tamper with a right as fundamental as freedom of speech have caused strong criticism on social media by those who see no reason to reinvent this particular wheel.

Grant is no stranger to Big Tech and social media – after spending nearly two decades working for Microsoft, Adobe and Twitter, she became Australia’s first eSafety Commissioner. She also works with the current US administration’s Gender Policy Council and WEF’s Global Coalition for Digital Safety.

The eSafety commissioner position was created as part of Australia’s Online Safety Act, controversial for its treatment of people’s online privacy and free speech. The World Economic Forum website states that the office of eSafety Commissioner is the only government regulatory agency of its kind in the world.

The agency’s powers include protecting people from online abuse, but the regulator’s website doesn’t explain what exactly it considers to be online abuse, although it does mention cyberbullying.

The office headed by Grant can also penalize internet service providers who fail to comply with its orders to remove content.


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