Mandating parental lock capability in domestic reception equipment
The public consultation period ended on 2 April 2010. The ACMA received 13 submissions:
- AUSTAR Entertainment Pty Ltd
- Australian Industry Group – Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum (ADSIF)
- Australian Subscription Television & Radio Association (ASTRA)
- Blann, Teresa
- Communications Council, The
- Consumer Electronics Suppliers Association (CESA)
- Conte, Daniel
- Dick Smith
- FreeTV Australia
- Hills Antenna & TV Systems – including DGTEC
- Holstein, Calida
- Panasonic Australia Pty Ltd
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is seeking comment on issues associated with the determination of a technical standard that will make parental lock a required feature of digital television receivers. The parental lock feature enables users to control access to television programs based on their classification, for example, G, PG, M or MA.
To assist in consideration of these issues, the ACMA has released the discussion paper Mandating parental lock capability in domestic reception equipment—Determination of a technical standard under Part 9A of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (see media release MR 26/2010). The discussion paper describes the approach that the ACMA intends to take in determining the parental lock standard, and seeks comments on elements of the standard over which the ACMA has discretion. These elements include:
- whether particular classes of equipment should be exempt from the parental lock standard
- the compliance arrangements that should accompany the parental lock standard
- the date on which the parental lock standard should commence
- how the requirement for equipment to have parental lock capability should be expressed in the parental lock standard.
The ACMA will consider submissions received in response to the discussion paper before it determines the parental lock standard.
The ACMA invites submissions on the issues set out in the discussion paper and other issues associated with the determination of the parental lock standard. Submissions should be made:
Consumer and Research Section
Australian Communications and Media Authority
PO Box 13112
Melbourne VIC 8010
The closing date for submissions was 2 April 2010.
Parental lock capability is the ability of a device to limit access to programs above a preset classification level without the use of a personal identification number (PIN). Parents can use this feature of digital television receivers to limit their children’s access to inappropriate or harmful content. Television classification guidelines are available in Appendix 4 to the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2010.
The ACMA will determine a technical standard under subsection 130B(1) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) to ensure that domestic reception equipment used for receiving digital television broadcasting or datacasting services has a parental lock capability. The standard will be determined in response to the Ministerial Direction - Australian Communications and Media Authority (Development of Technical Standards for Domestic Digital Television Reception Equipment) Direction No. 1 of 2009 made by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on 21 October 2009.
The ACMA’s powers to determine technical standards in relation to the transmission and reception of television services in digital mode are set out in Part 9A of the BSA. Part 9A of the BSA provides that the ACMA may, by legislative instrument, determine technical standards that relate to domestic reception equipment that is capable of receiving television broadcasting services and datacasting services transmitted in digital mode using the broadcasting services bands.
This will be the first standard determined by the ACMA under section 130B(1) of the BSA.
Following the commencement date specified within the technical standard it will be an offence to supply domestic reception equipment that is capable of receiving television broadcasting services or datacasting services transmitted in digital mode, if the equipment does not comply with the requirements in the technical standard.