The government may soon remove links from Google | Information age

The Electronic Security Commissioner will be able to tell Google to get rid of certain links. Image: Shutterstock

The electronic security commissioner will be able to tell search engines like Google to remove links to offending content under legislation that will come into force early next year.

Under reconfiguration Online content program, the Online Safety Commissioner can order internet companies such as social media platforms, ISPs, app stores, and even search engines to remove or restrict access to system-based material. national classification which is commonly used for movie, television and video game ratings.

Failure to remove content could result in penalties of up to $ 555,000 per violation for businesses.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the updated program gives the Online Safety Commissioner global reach.

“While the online content program has been in operation for over 20 years and has enjoyed great success in Australia, the Online Safety Act extends the program’s reach overseas in recognition of the global nature of the Internet.” , did he declare.

“Online communities know no borders, yet many Australians access documents online.

“This new program will hold the industry accountable for user safety and allow the Online Safety Commissioner to remove the worst of the worst content online, no matter where it is.”

The online content system contains provisions for the Commissioner to issue various notices to Internet services, including notices to search engines to remove links and to app stores to remove applications if they are deemed inappropriate.

However, these powers are not blind, as the commissioner’s scope is currently limited to material that has been denied classification or that is otherwise rated at least R18 +.

But it could have consequences for some content like controversial video games that can pass censors to other jurisdictions only to find out that they are banned in Australia.

Award-winning RPG this year Disco Elysium – the final cut was initially classification refused due to his description of drug use, although this decision was ultimately reversed.

Adult content will also be further restricted under the Online Content Program, which allows the Online Safety Commissioner to issue remedial notices for services that host R18 + content.

Restricted access system

The correction notice includes a provision to place R18 + content behind a “restricted access system” that restricts access to those under the age of 18.

What exactly qualifies as a “restricted access system” is at the discretion of the Online Security Commissioner who requested a public consultation about those age verification systems this year.

A draft declaration says that a “restricted access system” for R18 + hardware “must incorporate reasonable steps” to confirm the age of a user who does not need to include the provision of government identification but might involve binding of unrelated services.

In its submission to the online security commissioner, rights group Digital Rights Watch urged caution when implementing rules on restricted access systems, saying it should aim to adopt ” the least invasive approach to privacy ”.

“Rather than implementing an invasive diet for all adults in Australia, we would prefer to see an approach that prioritizes websites to ensure their content is more easily filtered by parental control software, as well as leverage the ability of ISPs to filter content on devices intended for children, ”said Digital Rights Watch.

He also cautioned against allowing government agencies or private companies to “track or link an individual’s identity to their viewing habits of online pornography or other” material inappropriate for their age. “to which he could access”.

The Online Security Commissioner is to register his “Restricted Access System” declaration when the Online Security Access takes effect on January 23, 2022.

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