Child sex abuse websites should be more quickly identified and removed following an agreement signed by the Australian Federal Police and the nation's media watchdog.

The AFP and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced the new memorandum of understanding on Tuesday, saying it should expedite the process of pinpointing and taking down abuse pages from the internet.

The ACMA said the new agreement will allow it to provide much greater detail about the web pages it uncovers to police overseas, where the majority of abuse sites are hosted.

This will include possible clues and tip-offs about the location or origin of depicted abuse, such as logos or scenery.

"It frees up the ACMA to target the referral of content to potentially allow law enforcement to target the producers of the material, wherever they may be," ACMA content classification manager Jeremy Fenton told AAP.

It comes after AAP revealed in January that the number of child sex abuse internet pages that authorities have identified and asked for removal has quadrupled since 2006, to 1286 in 2012.

These include a smaller number that promote abuse and advise pedophiles on how to avoid detection.

Sites originating in Australia were shut down immediately.

But overseas sites are mostly referred to local police forces to take action, with varying results.

Some sites that are shut down may reappear quickly using different web addresses.

The only direct power that Australian authorities have to block overseas-hosted child abuse sites is to ask family internet filter makers to remove them from view in Australia.

While Australian authorities cannot block overseas-hosted web pages, the federal government did reach agreement in November with internet service providers who volunteered to block 1432 websites on an Interpol "worst of the worst" blacklist.


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