Australia to Crack Down on Mobile Porn

Australia to Crack Down on Mobile Porn
Michael Hayes
SYDNEY — Australia, which already restricts film, print, TV and online pornographic content, could extend the ban to mobile devices if Communications Minister Helen Coonan gets her way.

Stressing a need to keep up with rapidly changing technology, Coonan informed members of the Australian press of her intent to extend the ban on illegal content to mobile devices.

Under the proposed expansion of the plan, three types of content will be barred from mobile devices. Material that is X-rated (sexually explicit) will be banned in addition to RC-rated material (refused classification, which is usually reserved for child pornography and bestiality). Also set to be banned is R-rated content (where the age of the audience cannot be verified).

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, access to pornography is expected to become a major election-year issue in Australia. However, any bans leave the government in a quandary because most porn websites operate oversees, meaning that bans seldom have any practical effect.

Barcelona-based Private Media Group, which recently inked a deal with Nomad NetworX to distribute adult content in Australia, cited a need to develop a library of material that was compliant with local laws as a prerequisite for doing business in the region.

“Our expanding softcore library dramatically increases our content offering and facilitates our entry into any and every market,” Private spokesman Tim Clausen said, adding that the company selected Nomad NetworX because it is a well-known player in the region.

If Coonan’s proposal to expand the ban to mobile becomes law, those caught distributing illegal material could face prosecution and the same fines as those caught distributing illegal content via other mediums. Currently, Internet service providers that distribute illegal content face fines of $55,000 per day.