For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 21 2006
The Internet Industry Association has questioned the rationale for the
fundamental change to Australia's internet content regulatory scheme
proposed by the ALP today.
"We are not convinced that Australian families will benefit from
fundamentally changing a scheme which is internationally recognised as
the most advanced of its kind in the world", said IIA chief executive
Mr Coroneos added: "Under the government-backed Internet Content Code
scheme which applies in Australia, ISPs are already required to provide
their customers with access to a filter or filtered feed. Furthermore,
these filters must pass rigorous independent testing to ensure they not
only catch the kind of content referred to the in the Opposition's
proposal, but also thousands of other sites which are likely to cause
offence to adults and potential disturbance to children. On top of all
this, the scheme prohibits ISPs from profiting from the provision of
these filters - they must be offered on a cost recovery basis, and some
ISPs even offer them for free."
Under Australia's Broadcasting Services Act, industry Codes of Practice
are developed and enforced. The Codes apply to all ISPs in Australia who
are required to adhere to the scheme, and substantial penalties exist
for non-compliance. These penalties are enforceable in the Federal Court.
Mr Coroneos added: "It is important to recognise that the UK 'Cleanfeed'
scheme (upon which the Labor proposals are modelled) was a
market-drivien initiative which arose because the UK lacked the strong
legislative protection available to Australians. We can't understand why
we'd adopt measures that will impose significant extra costs on users,
degrade network performance and deliver no real upside for Australian
families beyond that currently available."
"For families and those concerned with child safety the message is
simple," Mr Coroneos concluded. "Follow the advice given by your ISP and
take advantage of the tools and services they provide to shield your
children from unsuitable sites."
More information about the IIA Codes and family friendly filters is
available at www.iia.net.au/guideuser.html. For details of Australia's
co-regulatory scheme see www.acma.gov.au. For general information about
protecting children online, see www.netalert.net.au.
For further information please contact:
Internet Industry Association
phone (02) 6232 6900