Australian ISPs ordered by government to block eight sites hosting violent content

Immediately after the terrorist attacks in Christchurch in early 2019, the The Australian government has introduced the bill "The Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material"who hastily included laws punishing websites and social media platforms that had failed to remove heinous violence within a "reasonable" period of time.

Since then, Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have diligently blocked a total of 43 websites hosting or sharing the hideous content associated with the Christchurch attack.

As such this ISPs called for laws and policies to be implemented to protect them Because of the possible implications of blocking these sites, they must receive clear government support.

The government intervenes

Now, six months after the attack, Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has given the appropriate government support in the form of a direct order to continue to block eight of these sites – the rest of the original sites that have rejected site abolition material.

This is the first example of unambiguous legal assurance that ISPs are blocking websites for these reasons, but this is not the case

Commissioner Inman Grant's office will be responsible for overseeing the six-month ban on monitoring the eight blocked sites, all of which are hosted outside of Australia to determine if they have complied with the removal request and thus can get the block.

The eight websites that were blocked were not named, which would probably avoid paying any further attention to them. Following the six-month blocking and monitoring period, the sites will undergo a full review and are likely to obtain another right of withdrawal if they fail to meet the requirements.

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Legislation in action

Speaking with ABC Radio's AM program, Commissioner Inman Grant said that her eSafety office received 413 reports of harmful online content since the abusive violence bill mentioned above was passed.

"About 93% of this is material for child sexual abuse, which we have eliminated through other regulatory powers we have granted," she said.

For the remaining 7%, which do not match the type of content covered by the bill, five tenders have been published so far, three of which have been followed but no prosecution has taken place so far.

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