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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.

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