Policing the Internet?
Fri, 20 Nov 1998 01:03:20 +0000
I've been cogitating over the Attorney-General's letter published in the IT
section of the Australian on Tuesday.
In the letter Darryl Williams QC writes that "a regulatory scheme is being
considered by government."
The short, seven-paragraph letter does not say specifically so, but the A-G is
presumably referring here to proposed amendments to the Broadcasting Act;
amendments which are said to be required to facilitate industry self-
regulation. ( For example, through the much-awaited Internet Industry
Association code of conduct.)
Williams reassuringly stressed that "it is not the Federal Government's view
that Internet Service providers police the Internet or vet online content."
And doubtless the (nearly invisible) hand of "light-touch regulation" is what
is envisaged here.
All well so far.
But then I thought, do the police agree?
Policing the Internet appears to be very much an issue for the police services
of Australia at the moment.
If not then why would so many police and law enforcement officials have turned
up to a Telstra Big Pond seminar in Sydney late last month.
As I reported briefly in the Age this week, and will in more detail in the
upcoming fortnight's issue of Electronic Commerce Report (due out Monday),
some 260 people, mostly police and law enforcement officials, attended the
Organised by Telstra Big Pond it was officially titled 'Exchange of
Information Forum - Internet Fraud and Related Crime.'
It seems clear that some at the seminar, which was closed to the press and
Telstra's competitors, felt there was room for debate about policing ISPs in
the absence of any light-touch regulation.
For example, it would be interesting to see the paper entitled 'ISP's -
victims or offenders'. Thus far, however, Telstra has declined to release the
Electronic Commerce Report
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