Have your say on draft industry codes to protect Australians from harmful content
1 SEPTEMBER 2022 | JOINT INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION MEDIA RELEASE
Six associations representing the online industry in Australia have today released for public consultation the draft Consolidated Industry Codes of Practice for the Online Industry, Phase 1 (class 1A and class 1B material) (the Draft Codes) to help protect Australians from harmful content on the internet.
The Online Safety Act 2021 (Act), which came into effect in January 2022, requires the development of codes by industry associations to regulate certain types of harmful online material, known as Class 1A and 1B material with reference to Australia’s classification scheme. This includes material promoting child sexual abuse, terrorism, extreme crime and violence, crime and violence, and drug-related content.
Once finalised, the Draft Codes will be submitted for registration to the eSafety Commissioner. Registered codes are enforceable by the Commissioner. The Draft Codes released today have been informed by input from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner reflected in their September 2021 Position Paper.
The associations represent different parts of the online industry and, together in consultation with their members and other companies, have developed the Draft Codes. These organisations are: the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA), Communications Alliance, the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA), the Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI), and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA).
A public consultation process has been launched today inviting feedback on the Draft Codes from the general public through the launch of a new consultation website www.onlinesafety.org.au. Feedback is being sought from key stakeholders including consumer organisations, a diverse range of civil society groups, academics and industry.
The Draft Codes cover participants across eight key sections of the online industry specified in the Act, including providers of social media, messaging, search engine and app distribution services, as well as internet and hosting service providers, and manufacturers and suppliers of any equipment that connects to the internet, including smart devices and computers. Importantly, the codes are required to cover operators of all websites that can be accessed by Australian users.
DIGI Managing Director, Sunita Bose, said: “The draft codes strengthen the safeguards across the online industry to help protect Australians from certain harmful content, and also make existing protections more consistent and transparent.”
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said: “The new codes are there to protect all Australians. It is important that we hear from many different stakeholders and users of the internet whether the Draft Codes work for them.”
The Draft Codes and an accompanying explanatory memorandum can be downloaded at www.onlinesafety.org.au. Submissions on the Draft Codes can be lodged via the website and will be accepted until 2 October.
Under a two-phased approach agreed with the eSafety Commissioner, the Draft Codes arethe first of two set of codes that will be developed, covering higher risk ‘class 1’ material such as child sexual exploitation and pro-terror material.
Media enquiries should be directed to Doublejump Communications at email@example.com. More information about the industry associations is overleaf.
About the industry associations
The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) (amta.org.au) is the peak body and trusted voice of the mobile telecommunications industry in Australia. Its members span telecommunications carriers, network vendors, infrastructure providers, handset manufacturers and various other smaller providers. Its mission is to promote an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable mobile telecommunications industry in Australia.
BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) (www.bsa.org) is the leading advocate for the global software industry. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that help businesses of all sizes in every part of the economy to modernise and grow. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 30 countries, BSA advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.
Communications Alliance (commsalliance.com.au) is the primary communications industry body in Australia, representing carriers, carriage and internet service providers, content providers, platform providers, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to create a co-operative stakeholder environment that allows the industry to take the lead on initiatives which grow the Australian communications industry, enhance the connectivity of all Australians and foster the highest standards of business behaviour.
The Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA) (cesa.asn.au) provides a united forum and voice for suppliers of consumer appliances to focus on regulatory, technical and commercial issues that affect the capacity of member companies to supply products in the Australian market.
The Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI) (digi.org.au) is a non-profit industry association that advocates for the interests of the digital industry in Australia. DIGI’s vision is a thriving Australian digitally-enabled economy that fosters innovation, a growing selection of digital products and services, and where online safety and privacy are protected.
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) (igea.net) is the industry association representing and advocating for the video games industry in Australia, including the developers, publishers and distributors of video games, as well as the makers of the most popular gaming platforms, consoles and devices. IGEA has over a hundred members, from emerging local game development studios to some of the largest technology companies in the world.