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The three principles of Safety by Design

Key Principles of Safety by Design

Watch this video of the eSafety Commissioner providing an overview of the three Safety by Design principles.

These overarching principles are at the heart of Safety by Design. They provide online services and platforms with guidance on how to incorporate, assess and enhance user safety.

Service Provider Responsibility icon Principle 1: Service Provider Responsibility The burden of user safety is a shared responsibility and should never fall solely on the user. Providers should ensure online harms are understood, assessed and addressed in the design and provision of products and services.
User Empowerment and Autonomy Principle 2: User Empowerment and Autonomy The dignity and safety of users is of central importance. Products and services should align with the best interests of users, providing them with the tools they need to protect their own safety and privacy.
Transparency and Accountability icon Principle 3: Transparency and Accountability Transparency and accountability are hallmarks of a robust approach to safety. They provide assurances that services are operating according to their published safety objectives. They also educate and empower users to address safety concerns.

The Safety by Design principles outline realistic, actionable and achievable measures that online product and service providers of all sizes and stages of maturity can use as part of the design and development process to safeguard users from online risks and harms. The principles elevate user safety as the third pillar in the developmental process for all online and digital technologies, sitting alongside privacy and security.

Vision of young people for the online world

Research and consultation on the Safety by Design principles began in 2018. To encapsulate a diverse array of experiences when positioning user safety as a fundamental design consideration, eSafety had in-depth discussions with large and early-stage companies, NGOs, advocates and parents.

Importantly, as part of eSafety’s consultation process with key stakeholders, young people were also consulted and asked to prepare a vision statement to lay out what they want and expect from technology companies to help them navigate the online environment freely and safely.

In April 2022 the eSafety Youth Council was appointed, made up from 24 young people from across Australia. Aged 13 to 24, these young people are from a diverse range of experiences, genders, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and locations. The Council provides young people with a voice about online safety, informing eSafety’s youth policies and programs, and allowing them to provide advice to the Government about issues that young people experience online.

On Safer Internet Day in February 2023, the eSafety Youth Council released a letter to big tech aligned with the Safety by Design principles. The letter highlighted that 70% of young people in Australia had had a negative experience online. The letter asked platforms to ensure consequences were imposed for rule breakers, to put safety and wellbeing ahead of profits, and to say no to hate and abuse, allowing more space for positivity and collaboration to shine.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about the concepts covered in this step, check out the following links.

The Safety by Design principles will be examined in detail in the following sections of the course. You can download a copy of the three principles to keep as a ready reference tool.

For the full vision statement for young people, you can access the full statement here.

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Safety By Design

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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