Proposals for web censorship might be very poorly conceived and planned, but not everything relating to controlling content has to be so stupid. Rules requiring a “parental lock” on TV equipment sold in Australia are a good case in point.
Picture by wwworks
The rules, unveiled by ACMA yesterday, require all TVs and set-top boxes sold after February 4, 2011, to include a parental lock — a feature that lets you specify that programs above a certain rating can’t be viewed without using a PIN or other security technology, thus ensuring that your five-year-old can’t watch MA programming.
The first notable element is the date: This isn’t an immediate requirement, so retailers have time to sell existing stock. There’s already models on the market for parents who want this feature, but it isn’t being rushed in as (say) a vote-grabbing exercise.
Secondly, and more importantly, the feature is not compulsory. If you don’t want to use it, you can just ignore it, and it will inevitably end up switched off on most devices by default. It will still be available if you need it, but it won’t be forced upon you. There’s a pretty obvious lesson there for internet censorship, methinks.