Sixteen Bits Online

APRIL 1996

Report on The INTERNET Project

by Iain Gould

Salutations and Greetings! Glad to see you all with us still.The main issue for this month is the revised Acceptable Use Policy...

As you are no doubt aware, the legal responsibilities of Internet Service Providers (and indeed all Internet users) is very much the subject of the moment within government circles, both here and overseas. New legislation in the USA regarding what is and is not acceptable behaviour on the Internet is currently under challenge in their courts. Meanwhile, in Australia, there is currently investigation into exactly how much regulation of the Internet is possible.

Every user of TIP is required to sign a declaration of acceptance of TIP's Acceptable Use Policy

In light of this, the Internet Project Management Committee (IPMC) decided to investigate our legal obligations and requirements.

Currently, every user of TIP is required to sign a Declaration that they accept the Internet Project's Acceptable Use Policy, which details what is allowed and what isn't and sets out the rights of users and the actions that can be taken upon breach of these terms and conditions.

The IPMC sought legal advice as to the validity and appropriateness of these documents and asked whether any changes were needed in order to protect both TIP and its users.

Needless to say, I wouldn't be writing this if no changes were necessary - they were. We now have a revised set of documents for both general users, and also for TIP administrators. Let me state at the outset, that these changes were not made arbitrarily. They were designed to protect your rights as a user of the system, and the rights of others.

New and existing users will be required to sign a declaration of acceptance of the revised Acceptable Use Policy. The text of the revised Policy is included in this issue of the magazine.

How? Where? When?

Declarations need to be signed by a person over 18 years of age. This will normally be the account holder or the parent or guardian of the account

The Declaration will need to be signed by the user concerned in the presence of an official PCUG witness.

By the time you read this, copies of the new Policy and Declaration will be available at the PCUG Centre.

New users of TIP will be asked to sign the Declaration when they pick up their login details. Existing users can sign the next time they are at the Centre, or may have to make a special trip.

We recommend that you drop in to the Centre on a weekend during normal opening hours and have your declaration witnessed by one of the Centre staffers there.

The staffer may require you to produce photographic identification (eg. driver's licence, student ID card, etc) in order to prove your age, so take ID with you when you go to sign.

Please do not leave it until the last minute to sign!

You will have until the end of September 1996 to do this. We will be providing plenty of warnings and there's plenty of time, but please do not leave it until the last minute! With almost two thousand users of TIP, we'd like some time to update the database.

What if I don't sign?

If you have not returned a witnessed declaration by 1 October 1996, your account will be suspended until we hear from you.

If you are genuinely unable to make it to the Centre before the end of September 1996 (due, for example, to disability, distance from Canberra or whatever), please get in touch and we can make alternative arrangements.

What if I don't like it?

If you do not wish to accept the revised Policy, just let us know. The Internet Project will refund the purchase price of any unused Advanced Access time allocation you may have (less the minimum usage for the period since 1 February 1996) and will close your Internet Project account.

The new Policy has been designed to protect the best interests of TIP and its users. Our legal advice is that it is not wise to permit access other than on the terms of the new Policy.

Please take the time to read the revised Policy. It would save the Group money if you could retain this issue of the magazine rather than take a separately printed copy of the Policy; however, additional copies will be available at the PCUG Centre, or send a stamped self-addressed DL-sized envelope to the PCUG postal address requesting a copy.

The new Policy can also be seen on the World Wide Web at:

Inquiries should be emailed to the Internet Project Management Committee (

Bye for now. Iain

Sixteen Bits Online - April 1996