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Monday, 09 September 2019 11:14

ISPs directed to continue block on websites with Christchurch terror attack videos Featured

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ISPs directed to continue block on websites with Christchurch terror attack videos Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australia’s eSafety Commisssioner has issued a direction to Australia’s largest Internet service providers requiring them to continue blocking access to eight websites that host video of the Christchurch terrorist attacks or the manifesto of the alleged perpetrator.

“Australian Internet service providers acted quickly and responsibly in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Christchurch in March this year to block websites that were hosting this harmful material,” Communications and Cyber Safety Minister Paul Fletcher said.

“ISPs called on the government to provide them with certainty and clarity in taking the action they did, and today, we are providing that certainty.”

Fletcher says the eSafety Commissioner has consulted with the specific website administrators, providing them with the opportunity to remove this content – and most have complied with the eight remaining offending websites to be subject to the blocking directive.

“We cannot allow this type of horrific material to be used to incite further violence or terrorist acts,” Fletcher said.

“Website blocking is not a universal solution to online harms, but it is important that this option be available to the eSafety Commissioner in extreme cases such as this.”

The direction requires ISPs to implement a six-month block, during which time the eSafety Commissioner will review and remove sites from the list as and when the offending content has been appropriately taken down.

The eSafety Commissioner is working with industry to develop an additional protocol to govern the rapid removal of terrorist and extreme violent material in a crisis event.

Fletcher said the arrangements announced today implemented a key recommendation of the report of the Taskforce to Combat Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material Online, which is a joint industry/government group formed to develop clear and tangible actions to prevent the dissemination of terrorist and extreme violent material online.

“The prime minister led the development of the Osaka G20 Leaders’ Statement that secured a global commitment to prevent online platforms from being used for terrorist and violent extremist acts, and was one of 17 country signatories to the pivotal Christchurch Call to Action,” Fletcher said.

“The government’s commitment to addressing this type of horrific material was again demonstrated during the August G7 Summit in Biarritz, when Prime Minister [Scott] Morrison announced a new OECD project to develop voluntary transparency reporting protocols for the major online platforms.

“This work will help to establish standards and deliver on commitments under the Christchurch Call to Action to implement regular and transparent public reporting in a way that is measurable and supported by clear methodology.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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