TV Parental Locks To Be Compulsory From 2011

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.

ACMA


Comments

    Please, most "adults" can't program a VCR (or DVR for that matter), how the hell are they going to program a "parental lock" scheme, especially one that is based on advertised rating.

    It'd be funny to watch actually, I bet most people would be very surprised at the content that is not advisable for children.

    Maybe the consoles should be made to broadcast the same signal, then we see a whole bunch of under 10 years up in arms that they can no longer play grand theft auto

      All of the current generation of consoles *do* offer optional parental locks. The reason nobody uses them is related to the disconnect between games ratings and ratings on other media - people just don't seem to think they're as important.

      I'm certain, as long as the parental system is as easy to activate on TVs as on consoles, the takeup will be much higher.

      I don't know what you mean by broadcast same signal but all the consoles have a parental lock already

    It's a good idea, but without education it won't be used.

    The same way that parental locks on consoles aren't being used...

    Can it be used to block reality tv shows and politicians?

    While I think it is a good idea, nothing beats plain old parenting.

    So once these "lockable" TVs are widespread, does that mean we can have "R" and "XXX" rated programs broadcast?

    Or will the Government continue to treat everyone as children?

    I make use of the parental controls on our foxtel box. It blocks all adult rated material and requires a pin. Of course, the few times I want to watch anything rated R (such as a movie on world movies) I can never remember what the damn pin is! I can at least ring foxtel and ask them to reset it or remind me or whatever, but can you do that on a parental lock on a tv/set top box? If there is an easy way to reset it on your own then any kid will figure that out in about 30 seconds and the whole device becomes moot.

    parental lock is useless if the EPG is wrong!

    They need to add to the rules that the EPG must be 100% accurate or face a fine. This should also apply when a program runs over its time slot.
    e.g. If a higher rated program (say MA) runs over time and the next program (say G) is meant to start, the for the length of the over run, the higher rated program can be viewed.

    Just last week there was Duce Bigalo on TV instead of another movie still indicated on the EPG. I'm not sure if the ratings were simular or not but you'd think in 2010 A TV station might have a clue to what is going to be shown at what time or at least update what is being shown.

    OK then... I'll just continue to ignore this feature then.. Great.... Thanks.

    Good to see our tax dollars hard at work on ill conceived projects and legislation
    ...

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