January 20 will mark an era for Australian Internet
content, as sweeping new rules will take affect that enforce mandatory
age-verification on mature or adult-oriented web pages and services.
According to a press release from
the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), “content service
providers” are required to verify and enforce the minimum age of all individuals
attempting to access content that is rated according to the Australian
classification office’s MA15+ (mature, restricted to age 15 and up) or R18+ (restricted
to age 18 and up) ratings.
Telcos are under additional controls as well, as the
new rules require age verification by the cell provider on “premium rate SMS or
MMS services” and “mobile content portals.”
The new rules come from the Australian government’s Restricted Access
System Declaration 2007, which governs “age restricted content” across
almost every information medium in Australia. All content, including web pages and mobile phone content, is examined by the Office of Film and Literature
Classification (OFLC) and assigned a rating according to the country’s national
Content that is rated above the R18+ rating (namely, X18+ or
"refused classification") is banned entirely from the Australian Internet; if that content is found to reside within the country its owner is sent a “takedown
notice,” and if content resides outside of Australia it is added to the blacklist
on the country’s mandatory Internet censor.
The Declaration makes no mention of how it would handle
user-generated content, leaving social networking and similar services in a
legal gray area. According to the press release, ACMA will “continue to liaise
and consult on these matters” with the industry.
While developing the new rules, ACMA chairman Chris Chapman
said that the committee “was guided by its disposition to allow adults to continue
to read, hear and see what they want, while protecting children from exposure
to inappropriate content,” yet simultaneously acting “conscious of avoiding
unnecessary red tape for Australian businesses.”
Australia has long carried a reputation for having one of
the most restrictive censorship protocols in the western world. Books, movies,
and video games that are rated X18+ (roughly equivalent to AO or NC-17) are
heavily restricted in their sale – oftentimes, banned entirely – and content
that does not fit into any of the OFLC’s guidelines is banned and blocked from
quote: That is actually true, but I encourage children and teenagers to go out and have sex with whoever they wish
quote: Hell, I am THANKFUL that I started being sexually active at the age of 3 with other children and at 7 with adults and teenagers because it was the ONLY thing that kept me sane when I was a child!
quote: (confirmed by 7 psychologists even knowing I am a pedosexual).
quote: Unfortunately, some parents are not doing that and doing it REPEATEDLY so that it sinks into their children's heads.
quote: Content that is rated above the R18+ rating (namely, X18+ or "refused classification") is banned entirely from the Australian Internet
quote: The way I see it, video stores and game retailers have been implementing these laws for years. Now we have a way to implement the same laws for what was a largely unprotected medium such as the internet.
quote: we should allow children to be sexually active, but protect them by having it out in the open and getting rid of all the 'statutory rape' and 'child sexual abuse' laws
quote: We should be ENCOURAGING children to drink while in the view of parents where they can be monitored and make sure that they don't get drunk, encourage them to have sexual relationships from an early age with ANYONE so that they realize what is a good sexual relationship, and start letting them experiment with drugs in front of their parents in order to monitor how much they use.
quote: Yes I am atheist, hell you can even call me a devil worshiper.
quote: if people are so concerned about what kids can see maybe they should create a kids only internet
quote: plus credit card companies give cards and debit cards to kids also..or they can buy a prepaid.. so thats not a good way to verify age.
quote: Australia has long carried a reputation for having one of the most restrictive censorship protocols in the western world. Books, movies, and video games that are rated X18+ (roughly equivalent to AO or NC-17) are heavily restricted in their sale – oftentimes, banned entirely – and content that does not fit into any of the OFLC’s guidelines is banned and blocked from import.
quote: Firstly, this is not China, there is no "mandatory internet censor" currently in place within Australia.
quote: I don't know where the author got this information
quote: So, the EFA exists for no reason in Australia? I've never been exposed to the ACMA directly, but it seems very clear that anything the ACMA deems "questionable" must be taken down immediately. But the ACMA is barely saying what's questionable and what isn't. Odd.
quote: One of the primary sources for this article was the Electronic Frontiers Australia -- which is similar to the EFF in the U.S. Specifically, view this document that compares Australia'a censorship policies to others around the world.
quote: All content, including web pages and mobile phone content, is examined by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) and assigned a rating according to the country’s national ratings system