Australia to block extremist content online

Australia to block extremist content online
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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced plans to block websites that spread extremist content during crises.

“The shocking events that took place in Christchurch demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content,” Morrison said Sunday while in Biarritz, France, for the Group of Seven (G-7) economic summit.

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“That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.”

Morrison linked the measures to the shootings that killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year. The suspected shooter livestreamed the killings and had posted a hateful and racist screed on online messaging boards before the attack.

Australia's eSafety commissioner will now have authority to quickly shut down domains hosting terrorist or extreme violent material.

The government is also creating a protocol which will include a "24/7 Crisis Coordination" center to monitor and notify relevant government agencies of online crisis events.

On Monday, Morrison announced a new partnership with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to improve tech company transparency and stop terrorist activity online.

"This work will establish standards and provide clarity about how online platforms are protecting their users, and help deliver commitments under the Christchurch Call to implement regular and transparent public reporting in a way that is measurable and supported by clear methodology," he said.

Seventeen nations have signed the so-called Christchurch Call, a nonbinding pledge to crack down on extremist or violent content online. Top tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have signed on to the agreement.

The Trump administration has cited concerns about free speech and has not joined the agreement.