Tuesday, March 21, 2006

IIA Questions ALP Policy Position on Internet Content

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
Peter Coroneos.

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."

Ends

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:
Peter Coroneos
Chief Executive
Internet Industry Association
www.iia.net.au
phone (02) 6232 6900

3 comments:

shane said...

this comment does not strictly relate to the post. I thought some people might be interested in the IIA's internet researchers' conference in Brisbane this September:
http://conferences.aoir.org/index.php?cf=5

Simon said...

I do not agree with Labour's plan to implement ISP filtering. The Electronic Frontiers Australia website provide a good summary of the issues. Senator Helen Coonan also provides a good retort to the proposed policy.

Given that the only realistic/effective way for ISPs to block content is via IP/URL addresses(as opposed to artificial intelligence) it would be impossible to sift through the billions of webpages and classify potentially prohibited content.

Furthermore reports suggest that implementing such a scheme at an ISP level would slow down the internet.

I don't feel it's appropriate for a commercial ISP to decide what gets blocked and what doesn't.

Filtering should be done by the end-user! Filtering software can operate more effectively at this level and the user retains control.

Cian said...

Labor's ISP filtration policy is a direct contradiction of their previously stated position on the matter. Former shadow minister for IT & Telecommunications, Kate Lundy, previously stated that to force all Australian ISPs to filter their content would be unworkable, costly and slow down internet speed significantly.

Although users will be able to opt-out of the clean feed, mandatory filtration at the ISP level will dramatically slow down internet speed. This is of great concern, particularly when safe content could become unavailable during peak times.

For example, with more than more than 105 million Internet users in China, even the chinese language version of Google.com, is so slow and unreliable that when clicked on, stalls out the user’s internet browser. The cause of the slowness and unreliability - extensive filtering performed by China’s licensed ISPs.