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ICOP Working Paper Purpose, Objectives and Scope

Purpose | Objectives | Scope

Purpose

The Aims of the Code are intended to be broad and relatively intangible goals for the ICOP. They will be the driving rationales behind the code.

The following is a proposed list of the purposes of an Internet Code of Practice.

  1. To establish confidence in and encourage the use of the Internet;
  2. To promote positive user relations with the Internet industry;
  3. To describe standards of good practice and service to be met by participating ISP’s;
  4. To promote disclosure of information relevant and useful to consumers so as to allow them to make an informed choice and compare one product with another;
  5. To promote fair and reasonable behaviour in a consistent and ethical way. What may be fair and reasonable in any case will depend on the circumstances, including the conduct of ISP’s and consumers;
  6. To have regard to the need for effective competition and cost efficiency being promoted in the general industry, and ensure flexibility in the development and enhancement of products and services for consumers;
  7. To have regard to the need to protect consumers and ISP’s from increased costs from unsolicited mail, and from offensive material;
  8. To have regard for the need for consumers to be made aware of the provisions of this Code.
  9. The increased opportunities in regard to information, communication and publication arising from the Internet create possibilities for conflict, and the code seeks to balance the conflicting interests that arise from the distinctive nature of the medium;
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Objectives

The Objectives will be more specific outcomes sought from the Internet Code of Practice. They will be the main measure of the success of the Code.

The following is a proposed list of InternetNZ’s objectives for the Code.

  1. To ensure the fairness and accuracy of disclosure of business terms and conditions to the user public and community in general;
  2. To ensure signatories provide their services in a responsible manner, and ensure that they meet the service levels promised;
  3. To ensure signatories communicate with their customers in a clear, accurate and comprehensible fashion;
  4. To improve customer relations;
  5. To impose and regulate industry standards;
  6. To improve the standard of conduct within the industry;
  7. To provide a transparent mechanism for complaint handling for the Internet industry and ensure that complaints against ISPs are handled in a fair, cost-effective and efficient manner;
  8. To ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms for the enforcing decisions under the complaints procedure of the Code;
  9. To ensure that ISP’s have acceptable use policies that assist them to meet the requirements of the Code of Practice, and New Zealand law;
  10. To protect rights of access and free speech;
  11. To ensure that information and procedures are in place for the protection of minors from accessing objectionable material over the Internet;
  12. To ensure that the information and procedures are in place so Internet users know how to limit access to protect a user from accessing inappropriate or objectionable material, and make informed choices about how they and their families or employees use the internet;
  13. To provide standards of confidentiality and privacy afforded to users of the Internet;
  14. To support systems for management of access to content on the Internet including, without limitation, resource discovery schemes and metadata systems;
  15. To ensure signatories will not knowingly host illegal content or condone illegal conduct, and they will take action when notified about either;
  16. To ensure signatories will not knowingly allow their services to be used for the transmission of spam;
  17. To ensure ISP staff are aware of the Code and the minimum standards of good practice that are relevant to their area of work;
  18. To ensure that the code of practice is a living document that can respond to the changing needs of the industry.
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Scope

The Scope will relate to the extent of coverage of the Internet Code of Practice. This includes important issues such as the interaction of the Code and New Zealand law and its legal significance. The following is the proposed wording establishing the scope:

  • Recognising that companies engaged in providing internet services assume special responsibilities towards consumers arising out of the potential information imbalance between the providers and consumers, and recognising that there are risks, security and privacy issues arising from use of internet services, a Code of Practice is hereby set forth with which signatory service providers shall comply in the conduct of their businesses.
  • This Code is not a complete record of the relationship between ISP’s and customers, as specific products and services may have their own terms and conditions. These terms and conditions may include additional rights and obligations for both parties. This Code does not alter or replace those terms in any way.
  • The principles set out or established by this Code shall not represent any legal grounds for liability except for compliance with this Code. Compliance with the Code does not necessarily guarantee that signatories are acting within the law.
  • The application of the Code shall be uniform and applicable to all of its signatories without modification or exception. With the exception of the chapter on spam, signatories may not, accordingly, avoid, by contract or otherwise, the application of the Code.
  • While signatories to the Code are encouraged to be proactive in the development of best or minimum practice, the application of the Code by the executive body shall be reactive and the signatories will not be monitored for compliance.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in the Code shall be taken to suggest that the executive body will adjudicate on the legality or otherwise of Third Party Content accessible on the Internet whether by signatories or otherwise.
  • The responsibility for content made available on the Internet rests with the relevant Content Providers.
  • Requirements should not adversely affect the economic viability of the parties to the Code and the services they make available.

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