BLUF

Proposed changes to Australian digital media regulation have to be skillfully handled at a foreign policy level to avoid upsetting the USA, our most important ally.

Summary

Australia’s US alliance is the cornerstone of our defence and foreign policy. However, to support local media organisations, the government is prepared to make Google and Facebook pay for content generated by traditional Australian media. Mandatory local content rules are also under consideration for streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.
The government is reacting to pressure from Australian media who believe that they are under threat due to the loss of advertising revenue. Privacy advocates are worried about identity theft and are also demanding the regulation of social media organisations.
Australia is proposing Google submit its news search algorithms to a government agency for review and approval. However, the algorithms are a personalised service that uses machine learning to provide bespoke search results that match personal profiles. 

Other countries, including the US, are watching what Australia is doing and might consider introducing similar legislation—this is a critical issue for Australia, therefore, worth investigating further.