PICS: Peter Webb's speech in Singapore
Sat, 29 Jun 1996 12:47:56 +0000
Peter Webb: PICS Evangelist
Please check out:
This is the text of a speech given by Australian
Broadcasting Authority Chairman Peter Webb, to a
communications conference in Singapore at the start of
He speaks about Digital Sound Broadcasting, Digital
Terrestrial Television Broadcasting. Then there is one and
a half pages introducing the ABA's recent online content
regulation inquiry and then nearly three pages devoted to
I think that "Internet" should be spelt with a capital "I",
that PICS is a protocol rather than an organisation and I
am uncertain about the idea of making PICS compulsory
(presumably labelling of resources, not enforcing the use
of PICS based access control software) - but these are
Peter Webb's description of PICS and discussion of some of
the finer points regarding context sensitive access
control, and the desirability of some international
coordination to create one or more widely useable ratings
systems, is erudite and seems well targeted for this
Furthermore, to devote so much of his speech to PICS as an
alternative to traditional state based censorship, is
provocative in Singapore - where chewing gum is forbidden
and a recently passed law imposes fines of $5000 on people
seen naked in their own homes.
Although he mentions the role that "national personality"
will play in shaping policy for new technologies, he has a
bit of a dig - "Until the death of the nation state can be
confirmed . . " and highlights the Internet's "unbounded
ability to ignore national boundaries".
He repeats his call for better representation of "the
online industry", says that the ABA report will be positive
about PICS and explores the need for flexible, multi-
dimensional ratings from both the content creators and
third parties - and means by which such third party efforts
might be funded.
So Hoorah for Peter Webb's interest in PICS and his
promotion of it to an audience which is grappling with the
threat Internet communications makes to existing state-
centric cultural control arrangements!
Anyone who thinks governments and government organisations
are inherently fixed in their ways should read this speech,
and then check out his previous speech and my critique of
it, to see how much can change in a month or so.
. Robin Whittle .
. http://www.ozemail.com.au/~firstpr firstname.lastname@example.org .
. 11 Miller St. Heidelberg Heights 3081 Melbourne Australia .
. Ph +61-3-9459-2889 Fax +61-3-9458-1736 .
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