Online Safety codes decision
Thursday 1 June 2023
Commenting on the eSafety Commissioner’s decision to register the majority of the Online Safety codes, a spokesperson for the industry associations said:
“We are pleased to see that the majority of codes proposed by industry associations will be registered and become enforceable, creating new community protections for Australians online. Industry associations welcome the deferment of a decision on the Search Engine Services Code (The Code) to allow industry to reflect recent developments in relation to generative AI. We will continue to collaborate closely with the eSafety Commissioner on the next steps of the process for all of the codes.
“The development of the codes involved a rigorous and widespread industry-led project to regulate seriously harmful online content. The process involved over 19 months of collaborative effort, including two rounds of public consultation, independent research, engagement with government and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, and input from multiple stakeholders from around the globe. We worked hard to ensure the proposed codes contained effective measures for the diverse range of regulated products and services, while providing further community safeguards.”
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Background on the codes
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. 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. On 1 June 2023, the eSafety Commissioner released a decision on the draft codes.
Codes accepted for registration:
- Social Media Services Code
- Apps Distribution Services Code
- Hosting Services Code
- Internet Carriage Services Code
- Equipment Code
Codes rejected for registration:
- Relevant Electronic Services Code
- Designated Internet Services Code
- Search Engine Services Code
Further information on the codes development process is outlined at onlinesafety.org.au
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.