Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is taking a strong stance against the proliferation of deepfake child abuse material and pro-terror content on the internet. In an effort to crack down on this seriously harmful content, the eSafety Commissioner is developing new industry-wide protocols that would require technology giants to take greater responsibility. Previous attempts to hold tech giants accountable have proven challenging, but Australia is determined to enforce stricter regulations to protect its citizens.
The eSafety Commissioner expressed its disappointment with the technology industry’s inability to develop effective codes and standards to address the issue of harmful content. Despite providing a two-year window for self-regulation, the industry’s efforts have fallen short, especially in identifying and removing synthetic child sexual abuse material. As a result, the eSafety Commissioner decided to intervene and establish new standards that would compel companies like Meta, Apple, and Google to take immediate action.
The proposed standards, which are currently in the consultation phase, would encompass various online platforms, including websites, photo storage services, and messaging apps. By targeting the “worst-of-the-worst” content, such as child sexual abuse material and pro-terror content, Australia aims to ensure that the technology industry implements significant measures to prevent the proliferation of such harmful materials. The new protocols also advocate for the use of artificial intelligence to combat deepfake content, further emphasizing the seriousness of the issue.
The Challenge of Enforcement
Australia’s previous attempt to hold tech giants accountable through the “Online Safety Act” faced challenges in enforcement. While the act was groundbreaking in its mission to make tech companies responsible for user-generated content on social media platforms, the exercise of these powers has been met with indifference at times. For instance, Elon Musk’s company, X, was fined Aus$610,500 for failing to address child sexual abuse content on its platform. Despite the penalty, X has chosen to ignore the deadline to pay the fine and is currently engaging in legal action to have it overturned.
Despite the difficulties faced in enforcing regulations, Australia remains committed to protecting its citizens from deepfake child abuse material and pro-terror content. The eSafety Commissioner’s push for stricter industry-wide protocols reflects the urgency of the matter and the need for technology giants to fulfill their responsibility in safeguarding online spaces. With parliamentary approval pending, these new standards hold the potential to create a safer digital environment for all Australians.
Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is taking a proactive and critical stance against the spread of deepfake child abuse material and pro-terror content on the internet. Recognizing the failures of self-regulation, the commissioner is pushing for new industry-wide protocols that would compel technology giants to take stronger action. Despite the challenges of enforcement, Australia’s determination to protect its citizens from harmful online content remains steadfast. By holding tech companies accountable, Australia aims to create a safer digital landscape for its citizens and set a global example in combating deepfake child abuse material and pro-terror content.