In 2012, the UNHCR declared that our online human rights are no different to our offline human rights. Yet – almost ten years on – many Australians are still unaware that they have online human rights, or how to ensure they are protected.
In the rapidly evolving realm of the Internet and social media – which we rely on to conduct our lives on a daily basis – navigating online human rights and ensuring they are protected can be challenging.
That’s why we, at JustSociale, are developing Australia’s first Online Code of Conduct, with a focus on collective action amongst all stakeholders with an interest in Internet governance.
Our Online Code of Conduct is for all Australians with an interest in Internet governance. This includes tech platforms, government, non-profit organisations and charities, creatives, media outlets, communications agencies, law enforcement, academics, AI experts, tech developers and members of diverse, regional and remote communities and any individual who uses the Internet in some way. All are invited to become signatories to this collective Code of Conduct and show their commitment to the human rights of Australians online.
The Code of Conduct provides guidelines for all signatories to hold themselves accountable to, in the effort to achieve and model the highest standards of good online behaviour and actions possible. These include:
The Code is underpinned by a set of core values that will inform the behaviours of all signatories all of the time. These values are:
Quality Principles and Commitments
The Code also sets out a list of quality principles and commitments that its signatories will commit to strive to adhere to. These are:
Broadly speaking, all online platforms do not tolerate depictions of violence, aggression, or content that may be designed to incite violence, aggression or terrorism.
Similarly, all online platforms do not tolerate depictions of nudity or pornography, which includes the display of nipples, except in some contexts, such as if a woman portrays a photo of herself breastfeeding in a forum for mothers. Or, content shows an artwork or sculpture depicting nudity is generally considered to be acceptable, but we encourage you to check the guidelines of the platforms you use before posting any type of nude imagery.
Sharing nude photos of another person without their permission or consent is a criminal offence in Australia, and this includes the online distribution or the showing of intimate imagery of a former partner or spouse on your technology device, which is also termed ‘revenge porn’.
Both distributing and accessing child pornography are also a criminal offence.
With regards to nudity, we have included links to the policies of the major technology platforms for you below:
Furthermore, all online platforms do not tolerate depictions of self harm, suicide, or content that may glorify self harm or suicide. This also extends to content that glorifies eating disorders.
However, each platform does frame its guidelines around what imagery is permitted in a different way. To view the guidelines for each platform below, see here:
The Code is the first of its kind in Australia to encourage all stakeholders – from a diverse range of sectors and communities – working in the realm of Internet governance to ensure their work respects people’s online human rights.
It is self‐regulatory, and is being developed in conjunction with stakeholders working in the Internet governance, digital innovation and social media management sectors. This means that the responsibility for compliance with the Code rests primarily with JustSociale’s Code signatories who will self-assess against a set of Compliance Indicators.
Anyone can contribute to the development of the Code, by reading the full document available on this page, and then outlining if and where they think the Code could be further enhanced or amended.
Once contributions have been made by the deadline of December 31, 2020, JustSociale’s Board will review all contributions, along with human rights lawyers & the eSafety commissioner), and decide on the first official version of the Code, which will remain a living document that will be regularly updated and reviewed in order to stay up to date with rapidly evolving online realm. Those who have contributed to its development will be thanked on our website, unless they wish to remain anonymous.
The Code is owned by JustSociale and JustSociale’s Board has autonomy in decision-making in regard to determining the status of JustSociale’s Code signatories, who may apply directly via the contact form on this page. That said, the Code seeks to be representative of diverse stakeholders and members of the public, and reflect the collective interests and voices of all those who engage with the Internet.
Signatories to the Code are asked to agree to a set of compliance mechanisms, which are detailed in the full draft of the Code of Conduct document.
Particularly during these current times, when we are relying on connecting online more than ever – including emails, online meetings and social networking – there is research to suggest that staring at a screen for extended periods of time can deplete our energy, which can then impact our mental wellness. This is why we encourage people to set aside time to do other activities – such as socialising with friends, enjoying a creative pursuit, reading, exercising, getting the right amount of sleep, eating well and ‘unplugging’ from devices on a regular basis.