When discussing media regulations in Australia, the primary difference between Internet and traditional broadcast media is that current ACMA laws simply cannot accommodate for emerging technologies and media platforms. The fact remains that the Internet cannot be regulated by the same means as broadcast and print media – to attempt to do so is both technologically infeasible and ethically unsound. As an international media channel The Internet is fundamentally different from broadcast media. It is a global community that is already ten times larger, more complex, more diverse and more interdependent than all the Australian cities combined. The Australian governments have not sought to impose censorship regimes upon any of the other conversational media due the obvious social and technological obstacles that such censorship would encounter, the same obstacle that prevent them from regulating Internet content.
Green, Hartley & Lumby (2009) argue that most of the information accessible on the Australian Internet is originated by foreign sites, which cannot be controlled by Australian laws. Information is propagated on the Internet with extreme rapidity. The very nature of the Internet is to copy data and with the added bonus of social media sharing capabilities media postings can be read by hundreds of thousands of people within hours of orientation. No complaints body can be expected to act with sufficient speed to prevent the worldwide dissemination of unclassified material originating at Australian Internet sites. Local users cannot be restricted from employing encryption and anonymity services without severe commercial losses to Australia. Yet these services remove any possibility of certainly determining responsibility for offensive material.
Legislation to restrict the rights of Australians to employ strong cryptography could not be effective against criminals, but it would criminalize all corporate electronic security and individual privacy in electronic media. Authentication standards on the Internet are very poor. It is ridiculously easy for one user to convincingly masquerade as another. So easy, in fact, that most people can do this without violating any system security or knowing very much about computers at all. While reliable voluntary authentication can be achieved on the net, there is no technology in existence that will enforce mandatory authentication on the net. These technological realities represent severe constraints on the ability of legislation to enforce any censorship regime on the Internet.
2014, Internet Regulation, Australian Communications and Media Authority, viewed 9 May 2014,
Green, L & Hartley, J & Lumby, C 2009, Untangling the Net: The Scope of Content Caught by Mandatory Internet Filtering. CCI, viewed 9 May 2014,