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
issues. Google’s recommendations as to improvements to the RAS Declaration are made in this context.
Application of Schedule 7 to Google’s current services
The provisions of Schedule 7 of the BSA on their face have limited application to Google’s current services, including YouTube, for a number of reasons:
YouTube does not host content in Australia. Accordingly, YouTube is not a content service with a relevant Australian connection pursuant to clause 3 of Schedule 7.
Google YouTube implements a policy of responding promptly to complaints concerning sexually explicit content such as would be classified RC, X18+ or R18+ under current Australian Classification Board guidelines. This policy includes takedown of unacceptable content.
YouTube is available for free – in terms of Schedule 7, “other than on payment of a fee (whether periodical or otherwise)”. Accordingly content that has been or would be classified MA15+ by the Classification Board is not prohibited content in terms of paragraph 20(1)(c) of Schedule 7 (by virtue of operation of paragraph 20(1)(c)(v)). That noted, Google YouTube implements restricted access in relation to content that has been identified as inappropriate for viewing by children.
Many current Google services are not “content services” relevantly regulated by Schedule 7 as the services are respectively “exempt Internet directory services”, “exempt Internet search engine services”, or email or instant messaging services within the exemptions from the definition of “content service” in paragraph 2 of Schedule 7.
Other Google services are “news services” or “current affairs services” or consist of text or still visual images (as well as being provided other than on payment of a fee) and accordingly do not satisfy the conditions (pursuant to clause 20 of Schedule 7) for MA15+ content being prohibited content.
Although Schedule 7 therefore has limited relevance to Google’s current services, Google’s innovation as a service provider, its desire to promote international best practice in regulation, and Google’s concerns as to uncertainties in scope of operation of both Schedule 7 and the draft RAS Declaration, lead Google to suggest a number of amendments to the draft RAS Declaration.
Regulatory Policy under the BSA and ACMA’s Regulatory Discretions
ACMA is required to make a RAS Declaration in order to specify the attributes of an access-control system. The broad characteristics of an access-control system are that the system must satisfy one of the following (pursuant to clause 2 of Schedule 7):
persons seeking access to the relevant content have been issued with a personal identification number that provides a means of limiting access by other persons to the content; or
persons seeking access to the relevant content have been provided with some other means of limiting access by other persons to the content.