Australian politics live blog: Legislation on Afterpay, deepfake porn being introduced

Buy-now-pay-later services such as Afterpay and Zip will be required to conduct stricter credit checks on new customers and set credit limits for some users under new consumer protection laws.

Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones tabled legislation in Parliament on Wednesday to classify buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) products as credit products.

He told Parliament that BNPL provided Australians with access to cheaper loans; but he said it could cause financial damage, citing a study that found 73 percent of financial advisers said users had cut back on buying essentials to pay off their BNPL debt.

About 40 per cent of Australians have used a BNPL service in the past six months, according to a March Finder survey.

Under current rules, people don’t have to prove their income to use the service, which would change with stricter regulations.

“We want to make sure that the consumer protections that we think are necessary for credit products apply to the buy-now-pay-later sector, and when we introduce these new laws, that’s exactly what will happen,” Mr Jones previously told ABC. .

“It will ensure that we retain the great innovation and competition that the buy-now-pay-later sector has brought to credit markets, but the same consumer protections will also apply.”

The next step for deep counterfeiting laws

Australians could face up to six years in prison for sharing sexually explicit images generated by artificial intelligence, as part of efforts to curb a spike in high rates of violence against women.

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus introduced new legislation on Wednesday to criminalize the creation and distribution of deep fakes.

Under the tough new laws, which have been specifically designed to protect people over the age of 18, offenders can face up to six years in prison.

According to RMIT research carried out last year, Australia has much higher victimization rates of involuntary sharing of deeply fake pornography (3.7 per cent) compared to the global average (2.2 per cent).

Mr Dreyfus previously told the ABC that the Criminal Code already contained provisions covering the dissemination of child abuse material.

“These are very serious sentences that we will provide. There is a maximum of six years for sharing and seven years for a felony. That is if you both created the material and shared it,” he said.

“But as the Commonwealth’s jurisdiction is limited to the activity of sharing, we may have to wait for states to catch up and criminalize the activity of creation.”

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