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Australia imposes parental lock for digital TVs

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The Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) has searched for several months for a "technical standard to make parental lock a required feature of digital television receivers" sold in Australia.

The fruits of its labours are published this week as The Broadcasting and Datacasting Services (Parental Lock) Technical Standard 2010.

From 4 February 2011, all new integrated digital TVs, set-top boxes and PVRs must incorporate parental lock, which determines access to programs based on their age classification. Australia's TV broadcasters self-classify their own programmes but are monitored by ACMA for complaints.

Unlike that other filter, The great Firewall of Australia, which will control access to the internet, parental lock is entirely uncontroversial, as it is not government but parents who decide, in their own homes, if they want to switch it on or not.

Parental lock is probably a footling expense for manufacturers to bear as most as most new digital TVs contain the technology in some form. In a release today, ACMA praise the television supply industry for its "positive engagement" in developing the standard. ®

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