Statement: announcement of age assurance trial

eSafety welcomes the Government’s announcement of an age assurance trial, encompassing both age verification and age estimation technologies, to explore their efficacy in protecting children from encountering pornography and other high-impact online content.  

The eSafety Commissioner has already engaged the technology sector on the development of phase 2 industry codes which will run in parallel to the announced trial and will focus on preventing children’s access to online pornographic and other harmful material, such as detailed and graphic portrayals of real violence.  

The Commissioner will soon outline her clear expectations to industry of the kinds of protective actions each sector should be able to commit to through the second phase of industry-drafted codes. 

eSafety sees clear benefits in having the trial run in conjunction with the phase 2 codes development process.  

Noting that a broad range of technology providers already have many automated measures in place to deal with high-impact nudity, violence, and other themes, we expect each industry sector – whether they be  social media sites, search engines, app stores, ISPs, device manufacturers,  gaming or dating sites – will do what they can to prevent harm to children associated with violent pornography and other harmful material accessed through their services.   

The eSafety Commissioner expects that the industry work with urgency to put forward industry codes for consideration.   

While the codes will be drafted by industry, they must ultimately be registered by the eSafety Commissioner, and this will only take place when she is satisfied they provide appropriate community safeguards.  

Should the Commissioner assess any code as falling short of that requirement, she may determine an industry standard that applies to that section of the online industry. 

A trial of age assurance technologies was one of the key recommendations provided to government by eSafety’s age verification roadmap.  

The roadmap was the result of almost two years of cross-sector consultation, extensive research and an independent technical assessment of age assurance technologies, including age estimation and age verification technologies.  

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