ACMA releases self regulation guidelines

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ACMA releases self regulation guidelines

The ACMA has moved to increase awareness of the enforceable undertakings launched under the September amendment to the Telecommunications Act with a new guidelines report.

The ACMA has moved to increase awareness of the enforceable undertakings launched under the September amendment to the Telecommunications Act with a new guidelines report.

An enforceable undertaking sees a person or organisation commit to taking or refraining from specific action in order to comply with the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.

According to ACMA this regulatory approach meant the undertaking party takes responsibility for its own organisational and behavioural change.

In this way the regulator was able to address systemic problems rather than simply penalise isolated instances of non-compliance or misconduct, the body claims.

Despite enforceable undertaking being launched six months ago, the new guidelines were not a response to ISP and telco confusion over the move toward more industry self-regulation.

“Prosecution, fines and cancelling license conditions are always open to the ACMA as options, but the enforceable undertakings give us an extra tool,” she said. “They may be more timely than taking [an organisation] to court and they also give the chance to affect behavioural change.

With similar a similar approach being used by the ACCC, APRA and ASIC, the ACMA’s awareness campaign merely sought to achieved “best practice” amongst telcos and ISPs, the spokeswoman said.

IDC telco analyst Jerson Yau said the enforceable undertaking policy appeared to be a trust-based proposition, but the underlying directive also seemed to promote organisational efficiency for both the ACMA and telcos.

“It depends greatly on the context, and the initiative of the participating organisations, but in Europe, for example, the mobile adult content market has generally taken great care and responsibility to operate lawfully and thus 'self-regulate' on their own accord,” he said.

“However, at the same time, they do not feel like they are compromised or are not delivering to their customers because of this. They accept it as a natural part of their business environment.”

Information on the guidelines can be reached at:

http://www.acma.gov.au/acmainterwr/_assets/main/lib100540/eu_guidelines.pdf
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