Australia to open 24/7 crisis center to block terrorist content in real time

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At the 45th G7 summit currently being held in France, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has put forward stern plans regarding the management of terrorist content that is shared online.

As reported by Reuters, in the event of a crisis, Australia will block any domain that is hosting shared or original terrorist content. “We are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes”, Morrison said.

Beyond this, the government is also considering putting in place legislation that would force websites and digital services to better prevent this kind of proliferation of criminal material by boosting their safety measures.

While the issue has been hotly discussed in recent years, the latest push comes in response to the March 2019 attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, where social media services were accused of having not done enough to prevent the hosting and sharing of extremist and violent content on their platforms.

Plan of action

In order to enforce this new policy, Australia is looking to establish a Crisis Coordination Center that would be operational 24/7, monitoring for malicious content.

When criminal content is discovered by the center, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner would then review it and – on a case-by-case basis – determine whether or not it should be censored by blocking the offending domain(s).

Tech companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Amazon, as well as local telcos like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone are all working in collaboration with the government and are expected to detail their plans of action by the end of September.

Details of penalties relating to the hosting and distribution of violent, malicious content are yet to be revealed but will likely arrive in the coming months when the policies are further discussed.

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