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Kevin Smith

IIA Establishes Interactive Gambling Industry Code

19 October 2001

Seeking help with enforcing the new Interactive Gambling Act (IGA), the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) turned to Australia's Internet Industry Association (IIA). The result is a newly released code, which is designed to help Internet service providers make sure the IGA is enforced.

With the new code the IIA is able to give ISPs a guideline for how they should operate now that the IGA is law.

To be in compliance with the IGA, the IIA is suggesting that ISPs begin scheduled filters and other procedures with all of their subscribers to ensure that no illegal content is reaching Australian consumers.

Peter Coroneos, the chief executive for the IIA, admitted the code isn't the most practical in nature, but said it's the only alternative to ensure that ISPs are in compliance with the law.

"While we were opposed to some aspects of the legislation, the fact that it is now law has created regulatory challenges for our members," he said.

Amid fears that some of the IIA members would be prosecuted for violations of the IGA, Coroneos said there was a need to set industry standards for ISPs to follow to be prepared for IGA enforcement.

As required by the Act, a 30-day consultation period must take place prior to the formal registration of the code by the ABA.

Once registered, the code will become a co-regulatory instrument under the law, much like the IIA's three content codes of practice.

Coroneos said that, although the code has been developed to provide a safe harbor for IIA members, the ABA will have the power to direct any industry player to comply. He also said IIA members would receive an online guide on how to lower the cost of compliance.

Coroneos admits the idea of frequent filtering systems for users, which are administrated by ISPs, could be cumbersome, but he predicts many in the industry will be willing to go along with the code and will give input during the 30 day evaluation presence.

Many ISPs won't have to change much to get into compliance with the code.

"The draft code has been designed so those members who are already compliant with our content codes of practice should be automatically covered under the new online gambling code," Coroneos said.

The main recommendation of the code is that ISPs "will, as soon as reasonably practicable for each person who subscribes to an ISP's Internet carriage service," provide scheduled filters "at a charge determined by the ISP."

The proposal also provides for a machinery of registration, either online or by disk.

For commercial subscribers, the ISP will need to provide and charge for a facility that takes account of network requirements and is likely "to provide a reasonably effective means of preventing access to prohibited Internet gambling content."

When an end user can satisfy the IIA that the company can provide a reasonably effective means of preventing access to prohibited content, for instance by a firewall, the ISP doesn't need to supply a filter.

Click here to view the Interactive Gambling Industry Code.

IIA Establishes Interactive Gambling Industry Code is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith