ACA warns telcos of mobile adult content fines

Telecommunications carriers found guilty of not complying with the Australian Communications Authority regulation on offensive mobile phone contents will be fined up to AU$10 million.Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Daryl Williams yesterday directed the ACA "to put in place new measures to protect mobile phone users from offensive content and to restrict access to adult services available on premium mobile services.

Telecommunications carriers found guilty of not complying with the Australian Communications Authority regulation on offensive mobile phone contents will be fined up to AU$10 million.

Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Daryl Williams yesterday directed the ACA "to put in place new measures to protect mobile phone users from offensive content and to restrict access to adult services available on premium mobile services."

In response to a review of the Broadcasting Services Act relating to media content, Williams has asked the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA) "to undertake a further review of the regulation of content delivered to convergent mobile communications devices, such as 3G mobiles."

The ACA has been tasked to "regulate access to content provided on new premium services delivered over mobile phones, putting in place access controls for adult content delivered on the new premium rate 19x range and on proprietary networks operated by carriers. These controls will restrict access by children to adult content."

Covered in the access controls are adult SMS, MMS and other audiovisual content classified MA or R. Content classified as X will be prohibited on new premium services.

Telecommunications carriers and content providers who wish to provide adult content services on the new 19x range will be allowed to do so on specific numbers determined by the ACA.

Matthews said the regulations are expected to be "very effective" and that enforcing them will "not be an additional task for the ACA."

He added that carriers are expected to follow the regulation and that if they fail to do so, the "consequences will include a substantial fine of up to AU$10m." Matthews added that the gravity of the violation will be "determined through a public consultation in an appropriate form."