Australia Set to Begin Filtering Online Games

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Australia Set to Begin Filtering Online Games

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Australia plans to filter internet sites offering games and online gaming content that exceed the MA15+ age rating, including downloadable and Flash games as well as sites that sell retail games online.

As we should all know by now, Australia is the only "developed country" without an R18+ age rating for videogames, which means that anything over the MA15+ rating - games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Silent Hill: Homecoming and Fallout 3, to name but a few - is "refused classification" and can't be sold in the country unless they're censored to tone down the mature content. Online content like MMOGs and Flash games have been untouched thus far and adventurous Aussies have been able to order banned games online, but that will soon come to an end if the Australian government has its way.

"This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping," said Colin Jacobs of Electronic Frontiers Australia. "Far from being the ultimate weapon against child abuse, it now will officially censor content deemed too controversial for a 15-year-old. In a free country like ours, do we really need the government to step in and save us from racy web games?"

A spokesman for Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said "computer games such as web-based flash games and downloadable games, if a complaint is received and the content is determined by ACMA to be Refused Classification" would be blocked, along with "the importation of physical copies of computer games sold over the internet which have been classified RC [refused classification]."

MMOGs like World of Warcraft have so far been exempt from classification in Australia but could also be impacted by the scheme. "That exemption is the only reason why multi-player games with user-generated environments are possible in this country," said Mark Newton, an engineer and critic of the filtering plan. "Without it, it'd only take one game user anywhere in the world to produce objectionable content in the game environment to make the Australian Government ban the game for everyone."

Nonetheless, nine Australian internet providers are currently testing the government's filter and are expected to report on the results in July.

Seriously, Australia, what's the deal? Why won't you let big people play with big people games? Internet filters are for countries like China and Iran, and right now you're just making yourself look silly. So silly, in fact, that Conroy has been nominated by the British Internet Service Provider's Association for its annual "Internet Villain" award.

Source: The Age, with thanks to Lacoil for the tip.

Permalink

Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

Malygris:
So silly, in fact, that Conroy has been nominated by the British Internet Service Provider's Association for its annual "Internet Villain" award.

...wheres such thing as an INTERNET VILLAIN award?! sweet!...not that I'd want to be nominated for it :P

on topic, surely this kind of blocking is against some kind of rights of communication? Isn't it breaching any laws?

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

But they do have kangaroos and Crocodile Dungee, so I guess that's enough reason to stay.

Really, this is just silly. They deserve the "Internet Villain" award.

Simalacrum:

Malygris:
So silly, in fact, that Conroy has been nominated by the British Internet Service Provider's Association for its annual "Internet Villain" award.

...wheres such thing as an INTERNET VILLAIN award?! sweet!...not that I'd want to be nominated for it :P

on topic, surely this kind of blocking is against some kind of rights of communication? Isn't it breaching any laws?

Its not when you make the laws.

I really hate Conroy... I really do. Making our country look like it's full of knee-jerk imbeciles. We are adults Conroy, we can make our own decisions and trying to play "Super-internet nanny" will only make us look even worse.

If you have kids under ten playing Silent Hill, then you have a problem. Fifteen-year-olds, not a problem. Legal adults--this shouldn't even be an issue. It seems ridiculous that the government of a supposedly free country is doing its best to censor the content available to everyone, not just minors. I find the ESRB's restrictions frustrating enough--I'm quite glad I don't live in Australia at the moment.

Everywhere has stupid politicians, Australia has our fair share. Why they mostly appear to be in the Communications portfolio is a mystery to me.

I am sure Connroy sees his mission to leave the internet 'tubes' clear of the muck porn leaves behind.

Least our stupid politicians don't start wars they can't finish...

That blows. Enough said, enough said god damn it!

The Australian government, doesn't matter which of the two parties, will almost always act in reverse of the general opinion on matters related to gaming.

Simalacrum:

Malygris:
So silly, in fact, that Conroy has been nominated by the British Internet Service Provider's Association for its annual "Internet Villain" award.

...wheres such thing as an INTERNET VILLAIN award?! sweet!...not that I'd want to be nominated for it :P

on topic, surely this kind of blocking is against some kind of rights of communication? Isn't it breaching any laws?

I think the Villain award has to go to the Baroness Vadera though, just for the name.

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

'Tis a high price to pay in order to have the best damn accent in the world.

Yassen:
I really hate Conroy... I really do. Making our country look like it's full of knee-jerk imbeciles. We are adults Conroy, we can make our own decisions and trying to play "Super-internet nanny" will only make us look even worse.

I plan on joining any demonstrations against this, censorship like this is vile. Give us the R rating for games already!

This really makes me consider living in another country. Its just one more step away from true democracy and towards a facist state.

Congrats Australia, you're a country on the fast track to facism!

Mussolini would be proud!

The world's most pathetic countries can't handle the information age... Double pathetic...

Watch Yahtzee's Halo Wars review, specifically the scene where he is talking about the arbitrary timer, and you will find my reaction.

Enemies to Gamers List:
* Jack Thompson
* the Anti-Pirate Division of EA
* Australia

shadowgaunt:

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

NO! YOU BEAT ME TOO IT!

I were just gonna say that Australia is hell and if you live there you become awesome, Paul Hogan and Steve Irving are proof of it, well, not Steve, but Paul Hogan is.

ATKINSON!!!!!

Thats it, timmy, hand me my baseball bat, then I'm going to carve a well thought out speech into the wood THEN BLUDGEON THE WORDS INTO THERE SKULLS!

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

NO! YOU BEAT ME TOO IT!

I were just gonna say that Australia is hell and if you live there you become awesome, Paul Hogan and Steve Irving are proof of it, well, not Steve, but Paul Hogan is.

Muahahaha! Fear my scorpion's almighty ability to ninja!

shadowgaunt:

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

NO! YOU BEAT ME TOO IT!

I were just gonna say that Australia is hell and if you live there you become awesome, Paul Hogan and Steve Irving are proof of it, well, not Steve, but Paul Hogan is.

Muahahaha! Fear my scorpion's almighty ability to ninja!

I'm this near changing to a Zakum avatar, just to make you submit.

Well I'm glad I don't live in a fascist country. (Yet.)

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

NO! YOU BEAT ME TOO IT!

I were just gonna say that Australia is hell and if you live there you become awesome, Paul Hogan and Steve Irving are proof of it, well, not Steve, but Paul Hogan is.

Muahahaha! Fear my scorpion's almighty ability to ninja!

I'm this near changing to a Zakum avatar, just to make you submit.

I'll just change my avatar to the one and only, almighty Pink Bean!

redmarine:
The world's most pathetic countries can't handle the information age... Double pathetic...

Pardon? I almost misconstrued that as an insult against Australia.

Direct your hate to Steven Conroy, he's the pathetic one here.

shadowgaunt:

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

NO! YOU BEAT ME TOO IT!

I were just gonna say that Australia is hell and if you live there you become awesome, Paul Hogan and Steve Irving are proof of it, well, not Steve, but Paul Hogan is.

Muahahaha! Fear my scorpion's almighty ability to ninja!

I'm this near changing to a Zakum avatar, just to make you submit.

I'll just change my avatar to the one and only, almighty Pink Bean!

Scuba Pepe > All

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

Psychosocial:

shadowgaunt:

oliveira8:
Why do people live in Australia...From the news I can gather that Australia is:Extremely hot, plenty of fires, floods, fires and floods, all the wildlife is trying to kill you, they get everything with delays, video game censorship and probably other crap...

Australlia is starting to sound like hell.

NO! YOU BEAT ME TOO IT!

I were just gonna say that Australia is hell and if you live there you become awesome, Paul Hogan and Steve Irving are proof of it, well, not Steve, but Paul Hogan is.

Muahahaha! Fear my scorpion's almighty ability to ninja!

I'm this near changing to a Zakum avatar, just to make you submit.

I'll just change my avatar to the one and only, almighty Pink Bean!

Scuba Pepe > All

Good sir, have you seen the Pink Bean?

nobody heard? censorship like china is the new thing!

seriously folks, how long is going to take for some hackers to be able to by pass this crap and spread free content programs?

Caimekaze:

redmarine:
The world's most pathetic countries can't handle the information age... Double pathetic...

Pardon? I almost misconstrued that as an insult against Australia.

Direct your hate to Steven Conroy, he's the pathetic one here.

Sorry let me clear myself. I meant those countries that try to censor content and block them.

pha kin su pah:
nobody heard? censorship like china is the new thing!

seriously folks, how long is going to take for some hackers to be able to by pass this crap and spread free content programs?

This.

People will just pirate games if they can't buy them.

Also, as bad as this may be there still not as bad as Germany who are actually considering banning "bad" games altogether.

Australian censorship... colour me surprised.

pha kin su pah:
nobody heard? censorship like china is the new thing!

seriously folks, how long is going to take for some hackers to be able to by pass this crap and spread free content programs?

Hacking it is the simple part, not having the Australian Federal Police show up on your doorstep the next day is the problem. I've been reading the documentation from ACMA and a part that worries me

ability to track acess

This is part of their selection criteria for what filtering software they will use.
Big Brother is here and its not just a shitty reality TV show this time.

Edit: This seriously has me so pissed off that I want to go smash some skulls right now.
Its 2:20am now and I just want to get John Howard (who's goverment this program was started under) and beat that beady eyed little fuck to death. Fascists like him need to be dealt with. Severly.

Can anyone tell me why they don't have a 18+ rating or why they think its the governments duty to block games?

When I look at Conroy the whole world lets out a collective sigh.

Onmi:
ATKINSON!!!!!

Thats it, timmy, hand me my baseball bat, then I'm going to carve a well thought out speech into the wood THEN BLUDGEON THE WORDS INTO THERE SKULLS!

Wow.

Well, at any rate, I pity Australians. I thought that our officials were assholes, but yours are just...damn...

I feel I could exploit this somehow... If only I weren't so lazy...

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