What’s in a name? The Internet Society by any other name would represent the Internet. But it wants a “more contemporary image.”
President George Fong said the change of name is in keeping with the board’s determination to take a higher profile in fostering informed debate about Internet related issues. “Our mission – ‘Helping Shape Our Internet Future’ – is to promote Internet developments for the benefit of the whole community, including business, educational, government and private Internet users”, said Fong.
“We believe that Australia's future lies in a digitally enabled economy delivered via ubiquitous high speed Internet. We want to create wide ranging debate across the community about the best way for our country to gain value from the Internet.
“We also want to highlight issues and initiatives that run counter to this and have the potential to inhibit rather than encourage open and inclusive growth of the Internet in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.”
How a name change will foster this process was not explained. Most organisations seem to have adopted streamlined names in recent years, but it is hard to find one where it has made any difference. But it does better distinguish the local group from its international counterparts.
The Internet Society of Australia – sorry, Internet Australia – has been vocal recently on a range of issues that it believes have the potential to damage the efficient operations of the Internet in Australia and raise the potential for people to lose trust in the Internet for their everyday use.
“We are keen to work with the Government and the Opposition to ensure that proper debate and consultation with both industry and the wider community occurs prior to the drafting of laws that affect the Internet,” said Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton.
"Our concern is that ad hoc government interventions such as the Data Retention Act and the proposed site blocking legislation will create adverse unintended consequences that are entirely counterproductive and potentially damaging to the Internet.
“Internet Australia is a member of the Attorney General’s Department working group drawing up guidelines for the introduction of the data retention scheme. This is an example of our ability to provide expert advice to the Government while hopefully reducing the impost on ISPs from a piece of legislation our members believe is short of the mark in terms of achieving its stated outcomes,” Patton said.
“Internet Australia acknowledges and supports the intellectual property rights of content owners and their desire to address the issue of unauthorised access. However we regard the Government’s proposed response as disproportionate and premature.
“The best response would be timely release of content at reasonable prices. “Internationally this is regarded as the best way to discourage unauthorised access. Here in Australia we have only just seen the introduction of streaming video on demand (SVOD) services, so it is too early to be taking the blunt instrument approach of site blocking.”