eSafety welcomes government’s response to age verification roadmap

The eSafety Commissioner welcomes the Australian Government’s response to the age verification roadmap and the government’s support to keep using powers under the Online Safety Act to protect children from harmful, age-inappropriate content.

The roadmap for age verification and complementary measures to prevent and mitigate harms to children from online pornography was provided to government in March 2023, and was the result of almost two years of cross-sector consultation, extensive research and an independent technical assessment of age assurance technologies, including age verification technologies.

The roadmap explores how age verification and other measures could be used to prevent and mitigate harms to children from online pornography. eSafety took a holistic approach that respected and affirmed a range of human rights, such as the right to privacy, and promoted the best interests of the child.

eSafety was tasked by the previous government to develop the roadmap as part of its response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report, ’Protecting the age of innocence’.

The roadmap identifies ‘next steps’ for eSafety to carry out as part of its existing regulatory and educative functions.

In particular, eSafety will support industry associations to draft a set of industry codes to limit children’s access to ‘class 2’ material, including online pornography. If an industry drafted code doesn’t meet the statutory requirements, the eSafety Commissioner can develop a mandatory industry standard for that section of the online industry. This work will commence in earnest after the first phase of codes and standards is complete, which deals with ‘class 1’ content, such as child sexual abuse material and pro-terror content.

The background report to the roadmap includes considerations for industry to protect children from harmful, age-inappropriate content. eSafety expects industry associations to draw on these considerations when drafting the next phase of the codes.

Read the Australian Government’s response.

Read the age verification roadmap and the full background report.

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