ISPs and CSPs may be subject to industry codes of practice, the content of which is prescribed by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth). The codes (Internet Industry Codes of Practice – Internet and Mobile Content 2005 and Content Services Code 2001) deal with matters including:

  • take-down procedures relating to prohibited Australian-hosted content
  • content assessment
  • compliance with online provider rules, and
  • complaints handling.

In addition, they set out how ISPs deal with overseas-hosted prohibited content. Failure to comply with aspects of the codes—such as online provider rules—may incur heavy financial penalties.

To deal with overseas-hosted prohibited content, ISPs have a responsibility to follow the procedures set out in the relevant industry code of practice. One method of dealing with this type of content is through the Family Friendly Filter Scheme, overseen by Communications Alliance. Family Friendly Filters provide opt-in filtering for end users, and are offered by participating ISPs to their customers at, or below, cost.

More information about internet industry codes and Family Friendly Filters can be found on the Communications Alliance website.

Content service providers and law enforcement agencies

In addition to complying with relevant industry codes, ISPs have obligations under section 474.25 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). If an ISP becomes aware that their service has been used to access what is believed on reasonable grounds to be ‘child pornography material’ or ‘child abuse material’, the ISP must refer the details to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

For further information please visit the AFP’s Child Protection Operations page.

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