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Australia’s Chief Censor To Force Online Digital ID Within Six Months

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

It’s really a no-brainer both for politicians and those crafting the wording and perception of their policies.

Namely – if you want genuinely complex and controversial initiatives (such as those related to mass surveillance and privacy infringements) fast-tracked both in legislatures and the media/public, just frame them as geared toward “child safety.”

Job done. Not many will even attempt to stand up to this, even if arguments in favor are patently disingenuous.

One gets the sense this is what Australia’s “chief censor” – eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant – is there to do – and she seems to understand her assignment well. Whether she succeeds, though, is a whole different question.

For right now, Grant is not letting up on trying to attack online security and privacy via demands for swift implementation of age verification schemes by online platforms.

Grant is now setting a six-month deadline and threatening mandatory codes unless these platforms play along.

It might bear repeating, and louder, “for the people in the back”: The only way to truly verify anyone’s age online is for adults with a government-issued ID to present a copy of it to the platforms ruling the internet – ruled by governments.

This effectively destroys online anonymity, and in many countries and under many regimes, people’s (physical) safety.

To her “credit” – Grant does seem to always be more concerned about how her initiatives are perceived, rather than what they actually realistically can achieve.

And so reports say her latest push is to have online platforms implement age verification over the next six months or be forced to do so by a “mandatory code.”

The alternative to the country enforcing “child safety rules” is that these rules will eventually be imposed.

(The rules in question are related to access to pornography but also “other inappropriate” content; “suicide,” and “eating disorders” are lumped into this, and, it’s unclear if “eating disorders” as defined by Grant, include only undereating, or overeating as well.)

Effectively, Grant has set October 3 of this year as the deadline for tech companies to tell the Australian government how they plan to implement their own “codes” – before the government does it for them. As any good democratic government does /s.

The scope of the envisaged standards is quite wide: standards for “app stores, websites including pornography and dating websites, search engines, social media platforms, chat services, and even multi-player gaming platforms check(ing) that content is suitable for users,” Grant is quoted.

If you’re tired of censorship and surveillance, subscribe to Reclaim The Net.

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