eSafety provides age verification roadmap to Government for consideration

The eSafety Commissioner has provided an age verification roadmap to the Australian Government today for its consideration.

eSafety has been developing the roadmap since June 2021, at the request of the previous government as part of its response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report, ‘Protecting the age of innocence’

The roadmap explores if and how age verification and other measures could be used to prevent and mitigate harm to children from online pornography. 

In developing the roadmap, eSafety has conducted research, technical assessments and consultation with stakeholders, and taken into account feedback from industry, stakeholders, experts and the public, including children and young people.

Following delivery of the roadmap, it will now be the role of government to decide on next steps, including the release of the roadmap.

Without pre-empting any decisions by government, eSafety’s research and engagement in developing the roadmap has identified that any potential technological solutions need to strike the right balance between safety, security and privacy. They must also go hand in hand with education and awareness raising for children and young people, as well as parents, carers, educators and other supporting adults.

Children’s access to age-inappropriate content will also be addressed through the second phase of mandatory industry codes or standards, which will apply across the online industry.

Revised versions of the first phase of the industry codes (which deal with illegal content including child sexual abuse material and pro-terror content) are due on 31 March. 

eSafety will assess whether each industry code provides appropriate community safeguards before making a decision to register the code or determine a binding standard for that section of the online industry.

The second phase of industry codes will have a focus on high-impact content that can be harmful to children, including pornography, with the aim of ensuring the online industry has meaningful measures in place to prevent children from accessing or encountering age-inappropriate content. Development of this set of industry codes will follow the registration of the first phase of industry codes or the determination of industry standards.  

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