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Australian Content Legislation Debate Widens

National association for IT professionals, the Australian Computer Society (ACS), stepped into the Internet content management legislation debate by raising concerns over the federal government's proposed moves to restrict material.

ACS Community Affairs Board director Andrew Freeman appeared before the Senate Committee on Information Technology in Canberra to present evidence in relation to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill 1999.

Freeman commended the government's objective to protect Australian children from illegal or offensive Internet material.

"[But] we are concerned that the government has unrealistic expectations of what the technology could achieve. We believe more time should be spent in discussing this issue before a final resolution on the draft legislation is made," added Freeman.

ACS immediate past president Tom Worthington supported the objection, arguing that a restrictive regime "could harm the educational and employment opportunities of a generation of Australian children."

The ACS submitted several principles that it maintained should be the foundation of any proposed Internet content regulation, including supporting free speech, focusing on the producer of the material rather than the ISPs that distribute it, and participating in international discussion on the subject.



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