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Groundbreaking Initiative: Australia Takes Pioneering Steps to Combat 'Deepfake' Porn

  • Business
  • Monday, 20 November 2023 03:29

In a groundbreaking move, Australia's eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, is set to unveil world-first industry standards compelling major tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Meta, to intensify their efforts against online child sexual abuse material and pro-terror content. The standards, to be released on Monday after over two years of development and following the rejection of industry-drafted codes, will specifically target cloud-based storage services such as Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive, along with messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

Former Twitter executive Julie Inman Grant expressed her hope that Australia's pioneering standards would serve as a catalyst for similar global regulations, aiming to combat harmful content effectively. The draft standards focus on holding tech companies accountable for eliminating unlawful content from their services without mandating the compromise of their end-to-end encryption, a feature default on platforms like WhatsApp.

While major tech platforms already prohibit child sexual abuse material, Inman Grant highlighted the inadequacy of their efforts to police their own platforms. The proposed standards acknowledge technical feasibility concerns but emphasize the moral and legal responsibility of tech companies to address the issue. Inman Grant cited examples of collaborative efforts with WhatsApp, an end-to-end encrypted service, which employs behavioral signals to scan non-encrypted sections, including profile and group chat names, in their commitment to identifying and addressing harmful content.

In conclusion, Australia's bold step in establishing world-first industry standards to combat online child sexual abuse material and pro-terror content signifies a pivotal moment in the global fight against harmful online content. Spearheaded by eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, the draft standards, set to impact major tech players such as Apple, Google, and Meta, underscore the urgent need for enhanced measures to address these pressing issues.

The proposed regulations, carefully crafted over a two-year period and born out of a rejection of industry-drafted codes, demonstrate Australia's commitment to holding tech giants accountable for ensuring the safety of their platforms. Julie Inman Grant's hope that these standards will act as a catalyst for similar global regulations emphasizes the collaborative and interconnected nature of addressing online harms on an international scale.

Crucially, the standards seek to balance the imperative to combat harmful content with the preservation of end-to-end encryption, acknowledging the technical challenges while asserting the moral and legal responsibility of tech companies to actively police their platforms. The collaborative efforts with platforms like WhatsApp, employing innovative methods to identify and address harmful content, exemplify a nuanced approach to safeguarding online spaces.

Australia's proactive stance in setting these standards serves not only as a model for responsible tech governance but also as a beacon encouraging other nations to adopt comprehensive measures to create a safer online environment for users, especially vulnerable populations.