[LINK] More save the children silliness

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Fri Mar 18 19:11:57 AEDT 2011

"Parental locks are mandatory for all new TV gear sold in Australia, 
but they're ridiculously easy to bypass.

While we argue about mandatory internet filtering and an R18 rating 
for games, another government "think of the children" initiative has 
managed to fly in under the radar. It's now mandatory for all digital 
television equipment sold in Australia to feature a parental lock - 
letting parents block television shows according to their 
classification. As with other censorship efforts, the new parental 
lock is easily bypassed - lulling parents into a false sense of security.

Supported by Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, and 
enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the 
new regulation came into effect in February. The parental lock is now 
mandatory for all televisions, set-top boxes and recorders which 
offer access to digital television channels - including Pay TV boxes 
which also offer free-to-air channels. Adaptors designed to turn 
computers and games consoles into digital set-top boxes are exempt.

It's mandatory for equipment to feature a parental lock, although 
it's not mandatory for parents to use it. Once set, the lock will 
automatically engage when viewers switch to a live broadcast which 
exceeds the permitted rating. A four-digit code is required to watch 
blocked programs. While it sounds like a great way to protect young 
eyes from inappropriate content, unfortunately the parental lock's 
Achilles' Heel is that it only applies to live broadcasts - after 
manufacturers told the ACMA that it was not technically feasible to 
block access to previously recorded programs.

Most kids could figure out how to bypass the parental lock in a few 
minutes. Worse yet, young children could easily bypass it by mistake. 
It's important that parents understand the lock's limitations before 
they trust it.


  more at the site

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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