Under the Online Safety Act, industry associations developed eight codes of practice to protect Australians from Class 1A and 1B content under Australia’s classification scheme and submitted those to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner with a request for registration.
On 16 June 2023, the eSafety Commissioner registered five of the industry-drafted codes for these sections of the online industry. On 12 September, the Commissioner registered a sixth Code which had been revised to reflect developments in generative AI.
These codes create community protections for Australians in relation to materials such as child sexual exploitation material, pro-terror content, and extreme crime and violence. The codes become enforceable six months after registration. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner will proceed to making Standards for the sections of the industry covered in the codes that were declined for registration.
Further information on which codes have been registered can be found here.
Online Safety Codes
Under the Online Safety Act, the industry associations must develop codes of practice to protect Australians from Class 1 content under Australia’s classification scheme.
On 31 March 2023, industry associations submitted the Consolidated Industry Codes of Practice for the Online Industry, Phase 1 (class 1A and class 1B material) for registration to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.The codes cover participants across eight key sections of the online industry specified in the Act: providers of social media, messaging, search engine and app distribution services, internet and hosting service providers, manufacturers and suppliers of any equipment that connects to the internet, and operators of all websites that can be accessed by Australian users.
Codes registered: On 16 June 2023, the eSafety Commissioner formally registered the following codes:
Social Media Services Code
Apps Distribution Services Code
Hosting Services Code
Internet Carriage Services Code
On 12 September 2023, the Commissioner registered the
Internet Search Engine Services Code
as a sixth Code. This Code had been re-submitted to the Commissioner to reflect recent developments in generative AI.
These codes will become enforceable six months after registration,
i.e. on 16 December 2023 and 12 March 2024, respectively.
Codes declined for registration:
Relevant Electronic Services Code
Designated Internet Services Code
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has moved to develop mandatory and enforceable industry Standards for Relevant Electronic Services and Designated Internet Services.
The draft Standards, once developed by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, will be subject to a public consultation period of at least 30 days.
Further information on the codes development process is outlined on this website.
In developing the codes, industry associations worked to reflect the detailed regulatory requirements for the code outlined by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner in their September 2021 position paper.
These are the industry codes of practice under Online Safety Act on Class 1 content, organised by industry section as registered by the eSafety Commissioner on 16 June and 12 September 2023.
This is an explanatory paper that explains the approach taken in the draft industry code, which should be read as a companion document to the codes.
This is the regulatory guidance released by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on the requirements for the code.
In accordance with Part 9, Division 7, of the Online Safety Act, the eSafety Commissioner has asked industry associations to draft industry codes. The codes have been developed by a steering group of industry associations that represent the online industry, consisting of (in alphabetical order) BSA | the Software Alliance (BSA), the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Communications Alliance, the Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA), the Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI), and the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (IGEA).
Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association
BSA | The Software Alliance
Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association
Digital Industry Group Inc
Interactive Games and Entertainment Association
Frequently Asked Questions
What will this code achieve for consumers concerned about online safety?
Once registered, the codes will be enforceable under the Online Safety Act. In short, the codes create improved standards across the entire online industry to address harmful Class 1 materials.
What types of content are covered under this code? What does 'Class 1' content mean?
Class 1A is any material which:
- promotes or provides instruction of paedophile activity (‘child sexual exploitation’),
- advocates the doing of a terrorist act, including terrorist manifestos (‘pro-terror’),
- describes, depicts, promotes, instructs or otherwise deals with matters of extreme crime, cruelty or violence (including sexual violence) without justification (for example, murder, suicide, torture and rape), (‘extreme crime and violence’).
Class 1B is any material which:
- describes, depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters of crime, cruelty or violence without justification (‘crime and violence’),
- promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime or violence (‘crime and violence’),
- describes, depicts, promotes, instructs or otherwise deals with matters of drug misuse or addiction without justification (‘drug-related content’)
Industry has further developed and defined each subcategory with reference to the national classification scheme. Please see the Head Terms, including Annexure A, for further detail.