Discussion paper

Cross-border regulatory strategies

Information technology Australia

Executive summary: The global deployment of IP networks and the digitisation of content and communications have implications for the way that communications is regulated in Australia and internationally. Digitisation has created more complex, elongated and global supply chains that challenge traditional national approaches to regulation. At the same time, the open and participatory nature of the internet has allowed users to exercise greater control over aspects of their communications. As increasing amounts of both personal and institutional data is transferred internationally, regulatory approaches that are effective across jurisdictional boundaries are important in realising the social and economic benefits of a free flow of data across borders along with appropriate protections for the security of individuals and organisations.

In its work identifying the enduring regulatory concepts that frame communications and media regulatory interventions, the ACMA noted common design features of converged regulation including flexible and calibrated regulatory tools, a recognition of shared responsibility between individuals, industry participants and government in an environment where individuals create as well as consume communications and media and the role of global engagement strategies.

This paper takes a closer look at the collaboration and engagement strategies used by regulators in Australia and internationally in response to the challenges presented by globalisation and the rise of participant users in internet-enabled communications and media.

A variety of tools and strategies has been used both domestically and internationally to deal with these issues, ranging from industry and citizen education to enforcement of compliance requirements. Increasingly, the cross-border nature of online activities requires that the regulatory tools in place at the national level be linked to multi-level, international regulatory strategies. While the discussion of tools is organised on the basis of international, national, industry and citizen/consumer tools, it is important to note that these elements may be connected to form an overarching strategy.

Three case studies illustrate different tools used to address these challenges:

  • digital information management
  • child sexual abuse material
  • unsolicited communications
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