New laws tackle objectionable online content

Two Bills dealing with objectionable online content, which we have discussed previously, have now become law.

Objectionable publications

The first of these is the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Act 2021, which was passed on November 2021 and came into force on 1 February 2022. The main purpose of this Amendment Act was to allow for urgent prevention and mitigation of harm caused by objectionable publications.  It did this by introducing a criminal offence and a take-down regime for such publications.

One key change was made since our previous commentary on this legislation.  The controversial filtering mechanism for objectionable online content proposed by the legislation as originally introduced was dropped by the Select Committee and so did not become a part of the Amendment Act. Public submissions to the Select Committee strongly opposed this proposed mechanism. Consequently, the filter mechanism did not make it into the Act.  In all other respects, only technical amendments were made to the Amendment Act before it became law.

Harmful digital communications

The second is the Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Act 2022, which was passed on 8 March 2022 and came into force the next day.  The main purpose of this Amendment Act was to make it an offence for a person to post a digital communication comprising intimate visual recordings of another person.  It has not had any material changes since we commented on it previously.

Our earlier article which discussed this legislation as originally introduced can be found here.

If you are interested in how this legislation may affect you, please contact us.

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