Local ISPs have slammed a revised content regulation code the Internet Industry Association has issued.
Under the revised scheme ISPs compliant with the code are required to make available to customers, software that blocks offensive material. ISPs and content holders that comply with the revised draft IIA codes are deemed to have met their obligations under law.
ISPs will be able to recoup costs incurred in "obtaining, supplying and supporting" filtering software.
The IIA says its members shouldn't have to carry the costs of regulation. The IIA states ISPs can pass the costs to consumers, in order to make an ROI, at their prudence.
While the industry-developed codes are voluntary, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) has the power to direct compliance with them, under the co-regulatory scheme.
The IIA will also launch a new initiative targeted at promoting compliant ISPs as "family-friendly" later this month.
Meanwhile, ISPs and hosting companies voiced confusion and opposition over the new draft. Most ISPs that spoke to Computerworld said they don't intend to become compliant.
Mark Russell, director of Independent Service Providers, a mid-sized national DSL and dial-up supplier, said: "The IIA does not represent the industry, just a few of the major players. Its code of conduct means nothing for the smaller players.
"Filtering software has been shown time and time again that it doesn't work so I, for one, will not be supplying it and also recommending my clients do not waste their time installing it. The only way to protect kids on the Internet is adequate parental supervision," he said.
A network engineer from a national ISP, who requested anonymity, said, "With present technology and any credible vision of future technology, reliable blocking software is an utter impossibility. Spending dollars in an attempt to develop it would provide roughly the same return as spending dollars to reverse the direction of the Earth's spin."
A guide for ISPs and content hosts is available at IIA's Web site (www.iia.net.au). Comments on the new draft codes may be provided to the IIA until April 15.
The IIA was unable to comment on the draft at the time of writing.