Australian researchers launch database to combat misinformation

Developed with funding from the Australian Research Council, the IDPO will offer comprehensive insights into global digital policy landscapes, starting with misinformation and expanding to include areas like artificial intelligence regulation, online harms, cyber security, and digital identity.

Australia flag is depicted on the screen with the program code

Australian researchers have unveiled the International Digital Policy Observatory (IDPO), a pioneering free online database tracking global policies and regulations on misinformation and other digital issues.

Initially focusing on misinformation and fake news, it will expand to cover areas such as AI regulation, online harms, cybersecurity, and digital identity. Professor Terry Flew, the project lead, emphasises the importance of this resource in empowering stakeholders with accurate information and regulatory insights.

Developed with funding from the Australian Research Council, the IDPO promises to provide invaluable insights into digital policy landscapes worldwide, empowering stakeholders to combat misinformation and promote regulatory best practices. It involves collaboration between academics from the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales, and the University of Technology, Sydney.

The official launch of the IDPO is scheduled to take place in Sydney next week.

Why does it matter?

The launch of the IDPO aligns with increased government efforts to combat misinformation, particularly on social media. The proposed legislation aims to give the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) authority to enforce codes of conduct on tech companies, potentially issuing fines for non-compliance. Criticism of the current voluntary industry code overseen by DIGI, alongside recent events such as the spread of misinformation following the Bondi Junction shopping centre attack, adds urgency to the initiative.