Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is encouraging the community and stakeholders to have their say on draft industry codes intended to reduce the risk of illegal and harmful online content.
Industry groups have released drafts of the first phase of eight codes for public review and is inviting feedback by 2 October 2022 at onlinesafety.org.au.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the new codes are required under the Online Safety Act 2021 and are intended to address the detection and removal of illegal content, including child sexual exploitation material and pro terror content.
“eSafety has been working closely with industry since July 2021 to support the development of these mandatory codes to help safeguard Australians from the most serious of online harms,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“The objective of the industry codes is to protect the community and so it is vital that the public has their say on these draft proposals.”
The codes were drafted by industry and apply to eight industry sections, including social media services, websites, search engines, app stores, internet service providers, device manufacturers, hosting services, and electronic services, including email, messaging, gaming and dating services.
eSafety has not endorsed the draft codes released this week and will undertake an assessment of whether they meet the statutory requirements when industry submits the codes for registration later this year.
“Before deciding whether the codes go far enough to keep Australians safe, I need to be sure industry has consulted adequately and taken submissions into account in the final versions. I strongly encourage Australians to review the codes and make their opinions known to the industry,” Ms Inman Grant said.
The codes will be an important addition to eSafety's regulatory toolkit to help tackle online safety weaknesses at the systemic and processes level. Together with the new Basic Online Safety Expectations and other measures contained in the Online Safety Act, the codes create an interlocking set of protections for Australians online.
If industry is unable to establish appropriate codes, the eSafety Commissioner has the power under the Act to declare industry standards.
eSafety will be able to receive complaints and investigate potential breaches of the codes or standards, which will be enforceable by civil penalties, enforceable undertakings and injunctions to ensure compliance.
Read more about mandatory industry codes on eSafety's website.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
0439 519 684 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The eSafety Commissioner is Australia’s independent regulator for online safety. Our purpose is to help safeguard all Australians from online harms and to promote safer, more positive online experiences. For more information visit esafety.gov.au