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[FYI] Australische Internet-Zensurierung


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     Internet content regulation 

     The Government will introduce stronger measures to protect
     Australian citizens, especially children, against illegal or
     highly offensive material on the internet, the Minister for
     Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator
     Richard Alston, announced today. 

     The internet, and other online services, have the capacity to
     significantly improve the lives of all Australians by providing
     access to services, by creating new jobs and new categories of
     jobs, and by providing access to information and entertainment
     sources around the world. 

     But the internet can also be used as a forum for the
     dissemination of offensive or illegal material. The Government
     takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a workable and
     effective regime to prevent the publication of this material. 

     The Government will therefore establish a regime to regulate the
     carriage of content over the internet. The Australian
     Broadcasting Authority (ABA) will administer this regime. 

     The Government does not believe, however, that online service
     providers including internet service providers (ISPs) should, in
     the first instance, be liable for material carried on their
     service. Primary responsibility for such material should lie with
     the creator of the material. 

     But online service providers do have a responsibility to remove
     highly offensive or illegal material from their services once
     they have been notified of the existence of the material. 

     The Government's regime will provide that the ABA, rather than a
     service provider, is the first point of contact for complaints
     about internet content. This decision recognises the limited
     resources of many service providers, and the need to provide a
     speedy response to complaints. 

     The Government will also establish a community/industry body to
     monitor online material, to provide advice about the complaints
     mechanism, to provide community education and information - for
     example, about filtering products - and to operate a public
     complaints "hotline" to receive information from the public about
     offensive material and to pass on this information to the ABA and
     to relevant law enforcement agencies in Australia or overseas. 

     For content hosted in Australia, the regime provides that: 

          If in the opinion of the ABA the content is of a
          sufficiently serious nature (that is, likely to be Refused
          Classification or X) to prevent access pending an
          investigation, the ABA must issue an interim notice to the
          service provider to prevent publication of, or access to,
          that content, and that the ABA must seek a National
          Classification Board opinion or classification; If in the
          opinion of the ABA the content is likely to be classified R,
          the ABA must seek a National Classification Board opinion or
          classification; If the material is determined by the
          National Classification Board to be proscribed content, the
          ABA must issue a final notice to the service provider to
          prevent publication of or access to the content; and The
          service provider or the content provider may apply to the
          ABA to rescind an interim or final order relating to R-rated
          material that lacks adult verification mechanisms if
          appropriate adult verification procedures have subsequently
          been put in place. 

     The regime will define proscribed online content as: 

          any material that has been, or would be, Refused
          Classification or classified X under the National
          Classification Code, and material that is, or may be,
          R-rated and that lacks adult verification mechanisms, such
          as PIN codes, to prevent access by minors. 

     For content hosted overseas, and when the complaint relates to
     content that would likely to be RC or X by Australian
     classification standards, the regime provides for the ABA to
     notify State, Territory or Federal Police for their referral to
     relevant overseas enforcement bodies. 

     The regime also provides for self-regulatory codes of practice
     for the online service provider industry, to be overseen by the
     ABA. These codes of practice must include a commitment by an
     online service provider to take all reasonable steps to block
     access to RC or X material hosted overseas, once the service
     provider has been notified of the existence of the material by
     the ABA. 

     In relation to R rated material sourced from overseas, codes of
     practice will encourage service providers to offer differentiated
     services to filter out unacceptable content as far as possible. 

     As new technologies become available which will enable service
     providers to effectively ensure that R rated material is only
     available to adults, the codes of practice will be updated

     The regime will also provide protections for service providers
     against civil actions arising from actions taken pursuant to a
     notice from the ABA, and protections for officers of the ABA. 

     The Government believes that this classification regime
     recognises the widespread availability of the internet to minors,
     and the technical difficulty of effectively blocking access to
     illegal and highly offensive material from all sites. This regime
     is consistent with the content regulation regime for subscription
     narrowcast services such as adult pay-TV services. 

     The Government will bring forward legislation to establish this
     regime as soon as is practicable. 

     Media Contact:
     Terry O'Connor, Senator Alston's office 02 6277 7480
     Website www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au

     19 March 1999

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