Government to regulate Net porn

The Australian Government will crack down on Internet porn that can be accessed by minors, through a new regulatory regime to be administered by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), it was announced today.

Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, today announced that the Government will establish a new regime to regulate Internet content considered illegal or highly offensive. The ABA will become the first point of contact for public complaints regarding such Web pages.

Under the regime, Internet content that is considered by the ABA as likely to be classified R, will be judged by the National Classification Board.

Online service providers (such as ISPs) that carry content found to be R-rated and lacking adult verification mechanisms to prevent access by minors, will be required to remove the content. Liability for such content though, will rest with its creator.

The regime will also provide for self-regulatory codes of practice for online service providers, encouraging them to offer "differentiated services to filter out unacceptable content as far as possible", said a statement issued by Senator Alston's office.

ISPs will also be encouraged to filter out R-rated Internet content that is hosted overseas, whilst the ABA will work with State, Territory or Federal Police to contact the appropriate authorities overseas to deal with such Web sites.

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