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The ABA and the Internet

The ABA is working with the Internet industry and the community advisory body NetAlert to help ensure that people's use of the Internet is a positive experience and that children, in particular, are protected from material that is unsuitable for them.

While the Australian community recognises the enormous potential of the Internet and believes there are more advantages than disadvantages, many people also believe that there are risks.

Risks include the distribution of illegal content, for example, child pornography and material providing detailed instruction in crime or violence, as well as the exposure of children to content that is unsuitable for them.

Research shows widespread community support for a range of regulatory responses to these risks including content labelling and complaints hotlines.

Research has also found that Australians see industry, government and Internet users themselves as all having a part to play in the appropriate supervision and selection of Internet content.

The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Act 1999 addresses Internet content issues by:

  • providing a mechanism for addressing complaints about Internet content;
  • encouraging the development of codes of practice by the Internet industry;
  • educating and advising the community about ways to manage their, and their children’s, use of the Internet.

The regulatory scheme applies to the activities of Internet service providers and Internet content hosts only. The Federal Government has stated that it will be encouraging the States and Territories to develop uniform legislation that will complement the Commonwealth legislation and cover the activities of users and content creators.

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