Australia to block websites that host or publish extremist contents during terror attacks

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Australian government announced Sunday it will block access to websites that publish terrorist material during crisis events, Reuters reported. Australia further said it will consider legislation to force digital platforms to improve the safety of their services.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is currently in France to join the G7 leaders’ forum, said the government intended to prevent extremists from exploiting digital platforms to post extremely violent content.

“We are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes,” he said in a statement.

Following the Christchurch massacre in March, where 50 worshippers were killed in separate New Zealand mosques attacks, Australia and New Zealand have increased scrutiny of websites and social media companies.

The terrorist attack in March was livestreamed on Facebook by alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant.

50 dead in horrifying terrorist attack at two mosques in New Zealand

Following the incident, Australian government said it would establish a 24/7 Crisis Coordination Centre to block domains hosting extremist contents. Australia’s eSafety Commissioner would determine on a case-by-case basis what should be censored, and was working with industry on arrangements to quickly block access during an attack.

Tech giants including Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter, along with Telstra, Vodafone, TPG and Optus are expected to provide details to the government by the end of next month on how they will carry out the recommendations.

The government did not say which legislative options will be used if digital platforms fail to improve safety.

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