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Australia drafts Net rating system (fwd)

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Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 18:53:24 -0800 (PST)
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Subject: Australia drafts Net rating system
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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 4 Nov 1996 11:25:45 -0500 (EST)
From: Noah Robischon <noah@pathfinder.com>
To: The Netly News' Answer to a Letters to the Editor Section
Subject: Australia drafts Net rating system!!


November 5, 1996

Code will define net etiquette


INTERNET users seeking guidance on net etiquette will
soon be helped by a new industry code being developed
to combat "offensive content and dishonest traders".

Under the code, which is being developed by the
Internet Industry Association of Australia (INTIAA),
content will be classified under the existing code used
by the Office of Film and Television Classification.
"R" or "X" rated material would have to be clearly
identified and provided only to registered subscribers.

Service providers would have to ask new users their age
before giving them unlimited access.

On-line sales will also be regulated. Vendors of
"physical products" would have to promise delivery
within 28 days or offer refunds, and software vendors
would have to give exact details of the software,
including the file size.

Under the code, personal information about users could
not be collected unless users knew it was being done.


There are no regulations on business use of this kind
of information, and Fair said INTIAA wanted the
industry to be self-regulated rather than restricted by

He said the rate of change of technology had made it
difficult to come up with a relevant code. On July 1
next year, the Australian Broadcasting Authority will
gain new powers over the Internet, and the new code
will not be implemented before it gets ABA approval.

Government consumer affairs bodies in most States have
also helped draft the code.

Dispute resolution would be by negotiation and
mediation. The code will not be legally enforceable,
but INTIAA hopes to encourage home-page providers and
Internet service providers to conform by allowing them
to use a seal of approval-type symbol which will
identify "ethical" Internet bodies.

Fair said the code of practice was "ground-breaking"
and INTIAA's New Zealand counterpart had already asked
to use it as a base for its own guidelines. Once the
code is established, INTIAA will establish an advisory
council to monitor it.

The code of practice is on the Internet at
www.intiaa.asn.au/codeintro. htm.

It is up for public comment until the end of October.