Google Australia Level 18, Tower 1 Darling Park 201 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000
Tel: 02 9374-4000 Fax: 02 9374-4001 www.google.com.au
Google submits that for these reasons, ACMA may wish to consider implementing a different RAS requirement for MA15+ content, such as a self-declaration requirement supported by age (i.e. date of birth) information. Google also notes that these practical challenges may be resolved by the Declaration adopting high level objectives and principles of what a RAS must achieve, which would enable industry to implement effective technological solutions to achieve these solutions that would adapt to the technical capabilities and requirements of individual content services.
Google appreciates that ACMA has been endeavouring to address similar concerns as identified by industry. Google has endeavoured to develop a practical alternative approach. Google notes that the Internet Industry Association (IIA) has suggested an alternative approach to achieve the Government’s policy objectives of protecting children from exposure to unsuitable content while not imposing unnecessary financial and administrative burdens upon the providers of internet content services. The core elements of this approach are that a restricted access system in relation to particular MA15+ content that is the subject of a take-down notice (that is, in a type B remedial situation, such as under clause 47(7)) would be required to have the following characteristics:
an access seeker is required to make a declaration prior to access to ‘covered MA15+ content’ (under clause 20(1)(c) and 20(1)(d) of Schedule 7) that the content access seeker is 15 years or over;
the site provides a warning notice before ‘covered MA15+ content’ is first made available that content is suitable for persons 15 years or over;
the site provides a link to an approved internet content filter (e.g. a IIA Family Friendly filter which may include a PAFO approved filter) whereby persons seeking access to the relevant content will be provided with a means of limiting access by other persons to the content;
the access provider has conducted an internal risk assessment as to the likelihood of access by children under the age of 15 to their content (guidelines for which assessment may be set out in relevant industry codes of practice as registered by the ACMA); and
the access provider has in place measures to takedown covered MA15+ content where the ACMA believes that the preceding four measures have not been adequately implemented and no remediation has occurred within a reasonable time following notification by the ACMA to the designated content/hosting service provider.
The above requirements should also be stated so as to facilitate use of a password or other unique identifier (such as a cookie) that has been issued to a person so that this person can subsequently access content within that classification category by entry of that password or by the provider’s system recognizing that unique identifier.
Google considers that the requirements for an access control system in relation to R18+ content should take account of the extent of control of a content provider over the content available through the service and the character of the content service.