IIA Breakfast and Conference
Thu, 30 Oct 1997 20:07:15 +1030 (CST)
Richard Cousins wrote:
> The Internet Industry Association (IIA) has arranged a
> half-day conference with key industry bodies to address
> some of the current industry concerns on
> * Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman - John
> * Department of Communications, the Information
> Economy & the Arts - interception issues
> * Australian Federal Police - Michael Hawley -
> child protection and Internet policing
> * Telstra - John Rolland - ISP issues and areas of
> * Australian Broadcasting Authority - content
> * Australian Competition and Consumer Commission -
> service provider requirements
> It is also expected that a couple of significant
> announcements, impacting the ISP community in particular,
> will be made at the conference.
I'm not sure whether to thank Richard for the obvious amount
of work he has gone to in organising this, or to curse him.
The people attending this event are not going to be a
representative sample of the Australian Internet community,
by any stretch. Yet it gives each of the presenters the
opportunity to claim "industry consultation".
At the very least, surely we can arrange multicast video of
the proceedings? Or the transcript on a web site?
The AFP's view on equipment seizure would be interesting, as
this is potentially the largest operational threat to web
proxies and mail relays belonging to large ISPs and
universities, especially as the AFP have a history of
maximum (and inappropiate) application of the law regarding
Then again, it would do the ABA representative some good to
get told in person that its proposals for content regulation
are simply unworkable. And who knows, Richard Alston may
even begin to understand that the net is not TV with a
In two minds,
PS: Personally, I'd love to attend. Then I could kick the
butt of the DOCA representative for sheer hell the
idiocies of the Telecommunications Act have put me
through in the past months. It's getting to the stage
that I'm considering selective assassination of DOCA
staff (starting with the Minister) as the best way of
improving the current legislative environment.
A small example. We have a microwave to another
university campus, which uses a repeater on a hospital.
We also have an ISDN link to that hospital. It makes
good technical sense to retire the ISDN link (since
Telstra have announced the withdrawal of that service)
and use some of the 34Mbps capacity of the microwave
instead. No can do under the Telco Act.
Another small example. We have a single fibre network
covering our campus, connecting every building. In the
middle of the university campsus we have the student
facilities and bookshop. The student facilities are
wholly owned by the students, the bookshop is 50:50
owned by the student facilities and the university.
Both are not-for-profit organisations. But we cannot
connect either to the univeristy-wide network without
breaking the Act. So, without an exemption, we will
have to replicate our entire campus fibre network in
order to connect student facilities, bookshops, alumni
associations, the staff club, the theatre, etc. The
other alternative is to become a telecommunications
carrier, but univerities cannot become carriers (because
DOCA says that carriers must be businesses, and the ATO
says that businesses must pay sales tax, and DEET will
not increase the university budget to pay sales tax.
Note that I mean sales tax on *everything* bought by the
uni -- you can't set up a business just to own and pay
tax on the network, because that's an "artifical scheme"
under the Tax Act). Arrrggggh.
These and about one hundred other issues have been
dicussed with DOCA staff for almost a year. They now
understand the issues, but they have not been delegated
the decision-making power, rather that lies with the
minister. And he can't see the issues (because, I
suspect, of his ideological blinkers).
Basically, the Telco Act was written by the telcos for
the telcos and DOCA ignored the advice that we gave to
the Senate committee that said "this won't work for us".
In doing so, DOCA have put the educational and research
infrastructure of the country at risk and a strict
interpretation of the Act would see Australian
cooperative research centres lose their current cheap
and fast access to the Internet. Imagine downloading
satelite images over a 33.6Kbps modem when you currently
analyse them over a 10Mbps ethernet and you'll see just
what an impact that would have.
[I am sorry, but I am basically letting off steam, so
you can't quote this outside of the Link mailing list.]
firstname.lastname@example.org Network Support Specialist
Tel: (08) 8303 3936 Information Technology Division
Fax: (08) 8303 4400 University of Adelaide SA 5005