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Austrac wants to change digital platform’s payment features to prevent terrorist abuse

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (Austrac), alongside the Home Office, has recommended a change in the way payment features on digital platforms are used, as it hopes to prevent their misuse by terrorists and violent extremist figures.

In a submission [PDF] to the Senate Special Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Center as part of its investigation into the industry in Australia, Austrac said social media and other platforms, both traditional and alternative, offer payment options that continue to be exploited by violent extremist actors as a means of financing.

“For example, violent extremists can exploit YouTube’s ‘Super Chat’ feature, which gives users the option of receiving funds under the pretext that supporters pay to ask questions,” he wrote.

“Use of this system by violent extremist actors has been observed in the UK and Australia.”

See also: Law enforcement relies on Austrac as legislation “lags” on technology

Austrac said Patreon and other crowdfunding platforms have been used by violent extremist actors as a means to generate income in the United States and Australia, and that e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Redbubble have also been exploited. by violent extremists seeking to sell manifests, t-shirts and other merchandise.

“The majority of platforms already ban categories such as ‘hate speech’ and ‘incitement to violence’ in their terms of service. Therefore, requiring platforms to ban such conduct is unlikely to produce a more beneficial outcome than the status quo, “he said. .

An alternative, the government entity suggested, could be to introduce guarantees into the financial models of these platforms to prevent exploitation by terrorists and violent extremists.

“YouTube has introduced such protection by demonetizing videos on ‘sensitive topics’ (removing the ability for those who post these kinds of videos to earn money from videos and live streams),” he said. -he declares.

“After the Christchurch terrorist attack in 2019, several platforms introduced live streaming guarantees that indirectly limit the use of live streaming tools for funding.

“For consistent and effective safeguard measures, any safeguard must be adopted as an industry best practice.”


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