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New laws proposed by the federal government could block Internet service providers and social media companies like Facebook if they don’t remove harmful content in time.

The proposed bill, currently under consultation until February next year, would require platforms to remove seriously harmful, abusive or intimidating content within 24 hours or face restrictions within Australia.

Currently, social media platforms must remove such content within 48 hours.

New laws proposed by the federal government could block Internet service providers and social media companies like Facebook if they don’t remove harmful content in time. (9News)

If a website or app ignores serious content removal notices, the legislation will give the government powers to require search engines like Google and app stores like iTunes to remove access to that service.

Specifically, the bill supports stricter protections for adults, including giving Australia’s electronic security commissioner the power to reveal the identities behind false or anonymous profiles used to spread harmful content.

“The Internet has brought great social, educational and economic benefits,” read a statement from the Department of Infrastructure, Transportation, Regional Development and Communications.

The proposed bill will add greater protections for adults facing harmful abuse online. (AP / AAP)

“But just as a small proportion of human interactions go wrong offline, there are also risks online.

“By putting in place adequate protections to help keep Australians safe online, we can in turn help Australians realize the substantial benefits to be gained from using the Internet.”

The eSafety commissioner will also have a new rapid website blocking power, which could be used in the event of a crisis event where violent or terrorist material is spread online.

Websites and applications could crash if they consistently ignore removal requests. (Getty)

There will also be a set of basic online safety expectations enshrined in law, and if passed, it will be a world first.

“It is the primary responsibility of the digital technology industry to create products and services that Australians can use safely,” the department notes.

“However, experience has shown that many platforms lack the required built-in security features or fail to properly enforce their terms of service.

“That is why the Government established the eSafety Commissioner in 2015 to act as a safety net when platforms fail to keep their users safe.

“The Government intends for Australia to remain a world leader in regulating online safety.”

The nine-year-old host Erin Molan has been instrumental in pushing for tougher penalties for online stalkers.


www.9news.com.au

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