Proposed codes for online safety regulation have been posted to the OnlineSafety website, with submissions invited until October 2.
The codes, developed by six industry peak bodies under the purview of the eSafety Commissioner, cover what’s referred to as Class 1A and Class 1B content.
A further code covering adult content will be published once the Class 1 code is registered.
The codes are complex: one document provides head terms for all code schedules, and there are eight sector-specific codes.
These codes cover social media services; “relevant electronic services” including SMS, MMS, encrypted messaging and gaming; designated internet services, covering websites and online storage; Internet search engine services; app distribution services; hosting services; Internet carriage services; and equipment manufacturers.
The codes reach into every aspect of someone’s online interaction.
For example, manufacturers, sellers and repairers of phones, TVs, PCs, or operating systems – or anything else that can run a web browser and display images or videos – would be expected to comply with this code.
Requirements include offering filtering capabilities, letting customers know how to use the filters, tell them how to contact the eSafety Commissioner, and take part in industry forums.
Codes covering services (like social media and messaging services) impose notification and removal requirements on providers if they become aware of Class 1A or 1B material.
Search engines would be subject to rules that require them to limit access to offending material by deranking it, and remove links in response to regulator requests.
Because of the range of sectors involved, code development involved a number of individual industry bodies, including the Business Software Alliance, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, the Communications Alliance, the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association, the Digital Industry Group, and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association.