Australia’s Internet Watchdog Proposes Crackdown on Deepfake Child Abuse and Pro-Terror Content

Date:

Updated: 1:47 PM, Mon November 20, 2023

Australia’s Internet Watchdog Proposes Crackdown on Deepfake Child Abuse and Pro-Terror Content

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is seeking to implement new industry-wide protocols that would require technology giants like Meta, Apple, and Google to take more decisive action against deepfake child abuse material and pro-terror content online. The proposed standards, which are currently open for consultation and pending parliamentary approval, aim to address the spread of harmful content, including synthetic child sexual abuse material generated using artificial intelligence.

The eSafety Commissioner stated that previous attempts to hold tech companies accountable for their platforms’ content have fallen short, necessitating regulatory intervention. The technology industry was initially given a two-year opportunity to develop its own codes, but the resulting measures were deemed insufficient in terms of safeguarding against the dissemination of known child sexual abuse material.

Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, a former employee of Twitter, emphasized that the new standards represent a pioneering effort to combat online content that poses the most severe threats, such as child sexual abuse material and pro-terrorism propaganda. The regulations would apply to various digital platforms, including websites, photo storage services, and messaging apps.

Australia has already taken a leading role in establishing digital safety standards by passing the groundbreaking Online Safety Act in 2021. This legislation has served as a global reference point for holding tech giants accountable for the content shared by their users on social media platforms. However, enforcing these extensive powers has proved challenging, and efforts to ensure compliance have sometimes been met with indifference.

In a recent case, the eSafety Commissioner fined Elon Musk’s X platform AUD 610,500 (USD 388,000) for failing to demonstrate effective measures to remove child sexual abuse content. Despite the deadline for payment, X has chosen to challenge the fine through ongoing legal proceedings.

With the proposed standards, Australia aims to compel technology companies to proactively address the proliferation of seriously harmful content, particularly synthetic child sexual abuse material. The guidelines seek to strike a balance between protecting users from objectionable material while respecting freedom of expression and promoting online safety.

By seeking consultation and parliamentary approval, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is demonstrating an ongoing commitment to promoting accountability and online safety. As the digital landscape evolves, regulating harmful content and ensuring the well-being of internet users remains a pressing priority.

In conclusion, the eSafety Commissioner’s proposal to crack down on deepfake child abuse material and pro-terror content reflects Australia’s determination to hold technology giants accountable and protect vulnerable individuals online. The adoption of these groundbreaking standards would establish a new benchmark in combating the spread of harmful content and safeguarding user well-being.

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Noah Williams
Noah Williams
Noah Williams, the Australia correspondent and news manager at The Reportify. Trust his accurate and insightful coverage of breaking news, interviews, and analysis. Gain a deeper understanding of Australia's politics, culture, and social issues through his captivating writing. Count on Noah for reliable and impactful news exclusively at The Reportify. He can be reached at noah@thereportify.com for any inquiries or further information.

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