GNI welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback on the industry codes recently published for comment pursuant to the Online Safety Act. GNI’s global and multistakeholder membership is closely following developments in Australia, in no small part because of the important role that Australia plays as a model for democratic governance in Asia, throughout the Commonwealth, and globally. That reputation and influence creates both opportunity and peril.

In our submission, we emphasize care in ensuring that the industry codes preserve freedom of expression and privacy rights for all users as Australia seeks to ensure the safety of its citizens both on and offline through the codes. Throughout the document, we expand on this assertion, providing analysis and raising concern for how regulators considering content moderation decisions can navigate the complex interplay between the codes, relevant laws and regulations outside of Australia, and international human rights law.
Given the vast scope of the codes and the wide range of actors in the online ecosystem, we also recommend regulators should tailor recommendations and requirements for online services based on their purpose, and limit and clarify circumstances where proactive detection of harmful content is required.
We encourage the industry associations to consider these recommendations as they revise and update the codes for registration. We look forward to further engagement with the industry associations and the Australian government on future industry codes and technology policy development.