Australian Internet Providers Ordered To Block Eight Sites Found Hosting Christchurch Footage

Australian Internet Providers Ordered To Block Eight Sites Found Hosting Christchurch Footage

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner ordered the country’s internet service providers to block eight sites for purportedly hosting footage of the Christchurch massacre, the Guardian reported Sunday, protocol officials recently outlined at this year’s G7 leader’s forum.

Australian telecommunications companies and internet providers voluntarily blocked 43 sites hosting similar content shortly after the incident in March, according to the Guardian. However, Sunday’s order only targeted eight because several have since removed the footage or gone offline completely, such as 8chan, the online forum where the suspected shooter purportedly posted a manifesto before livestreaming the murder of more than 50 people in Christchurch, New Zealand.

“The remaining rogue websites need only to remove the illegal content to have the block against them lifted,” Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said per the Guardian. A review process will be conducted every six months for potential appeals.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, per the Guardian, emphasised the move’s importance even if the country still has a long way to go in its commitment to stamp out extremist violence online:  

“We cannot allow this type of horrific material to be used to incite further violence or terrorist acts. Website blocking is not a universal solution to online harms, but it is important that this option be available to the e-safety commissioner in extreme cases such as this.”

Last month, officials announced they were establishing the framework for an official block order like this, which is determined by the commissioner on a case-by-case basis.

They went on to promise that any domain hosting material “showing murder, attempted murder, rape, torture, or kidnapping” recorded by someone involved in the act will be met with similar action, according to a Reuters report at the time. Since this announcement, the commissioner has issued “four notices to websites hosting child abuse,” per the Guardian, all of which have since taken down the material.

[The Guardian]