ACMA approves online content code of practice

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ACMA approves online content code of practice

The Australian Communications and Media Authority [ACMA] has approved the industry code of practice for web and mobile content providers

The code of practice was developed by peak body the Internet Industry Association [IIA]. Under the code, all web or mobile content hosted in Australia likely to be rated MA15+ or above must be classified by trained content assessors, hired by the content providers.

Sites which host content rated MA15+ or higher will be forced to take steps to ensure minors are not accessing the content, such as requiring a credit card or driver's license number, prominently displaying content warnings and/or requiring age confirmation.

Mobile content providers will be prohibited from distributing content with an MA15+ or R18+ rating unless users have requested it and provided some form of proof-of-age identification.

X18+ and RC rated online and mobile content will be banned outright.

Both types of content hosts must also have a take-down procedure in place in case they receive complaints from the Australian Broadcasting Authority [ABA].

The code of practice will form part of the new legislation mandating a regulatory framework for all content delivered on-line or via mobile phones.

Under the legislation, ISPs must provide filtering software for their customers, but won't be required to ensure the filter is installed.

End-users can still choose whether or not to activate the filtering software provided to them.

ISPs will also be obligated to encourage commercial content providers to use the labelling system, and provide users with information about filtering methods and avenues for complaint about on-line content.

Those ISPs who comply will be eligible to apply for IIAs 'Family Friendly ISP' status, and will be authorised to display a Ladybird Logo on their sites.

Tom Worthington, Adjunct Senior Lecturer of the Department of Computer Science at the Australian National University, notes it's sensible to create converged legislation as online and mobile technologies converge.

“However, there does not seem to be any good reason why X rated material is not available to adults, with access control to block viewing by children,” he says.

“Also the effect of the controls will be limited as much of the objectionable content comes from overseas.”

The complete list of approved scheduled filters is Net Nanny, Optenet PC Filter, ContenKeeper Web, Safe Eyes, Interscan filtering module, and iShield Plus.
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