Australia Moves to Block Online Access to Games With Content Beyond MA-15+

Australia’s federal government said yesterday that it plans to block access to websites which host and sell games with content edgier than what is allowable under an MA-15+ rating. The unprecedented censorship policy will apply to Australians of all ages.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, a spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy (left) said that the filtering scheme willl apply to downloadable games, Flash games and websites which sell boxed copies of MA-15+ games via mail order.

Colin Jacobs of Electronic Frontiers Australia, an online users’ lobbying group, criticized the plan:

This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping. 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?

Mark Newton, described by the SMH as an ISP engineer, told the newspaper that the plan could affect online-only games like World of Warcraft and Second Life as well:

That [online games] exemption [on content ratings] is the only reason why multi-player games with user-generated environments are possible in this country; 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.

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63 comments

  1. Untouchable says:

    To counter this issue, I guess we will just have to appear on the crap like Today Tonight and A Current Affair. We’d be taking it to the people who are…. not the brightest sparks in the world.

  2. udx says:

    Does anyone have a list of actions the Australian government has done against the freedom of speech/internet/video games?

     

    What is a game?(throws wine glass on the floor and it breaks to pieces) A miserable little pile of secrets.

  3. Bennett Beeny says:

    No it’s not, you moron.  It’s because the Bush administration didn’t want us to get choked up at the number of people getting killed.  Before 2003 we could see coffins.

    Jeez – the world is full of complete idiots!

  4. TBoneTony says:

    I will be moving out of Australia if I can’t get onto Amazon.com to order Videogames, Anime and Manga that barely are able to arrive out here into Australia where I live.

    The Australian Government, with a few idiots in power, have totally screwed up the freedoms of speech and expression.

    We are no longer a free country, plus it is unlikely that the mainstream media will report on this since many people in the media never care much for the internet, look at their depiction of Youtube for example.

    Soon the Australian Government will be trying to Ban Youtube from everyone in Australia all because of school bullies posting videos of bashing their victims on there.

    Like yeah, that is how bad the news media portrays Youtube.

    Also with the Government passing a Tax hike of Pre-mixed Alcohol not only for the "children" but also for the "country" to make enough revenue.

    Now THAT is a totally wasteful government.

    Also the government who is in power, the opposition is also not much better.

     

    Seriously the Australia I knew when I was a kid, the one that respected the freedom of speech and expression, does not apply to anyone who loves Videogames, Anime/Manga or even the Internet.

     

    So politicians would rather screw all the Generation X and Y instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.

     

    That’s it, I am moving to Canada or Japan.

     

  5. jedidethfreak says:

    That’s out of respect for fallen soldiers and their families, you douchebag.

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  6. jedidethfreak says:

    And resort to name-calling when those of us who oppose excessive government call them out on it.

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  7. jedidethfreak says:

    I’ve been saying this for years.  However, when I accuse Barrack Obama of doing it, too, I’m told I’m an idiot, because he’s only looking out….(wait for it)…the children.

     

    Freedom of speech means the freedom to say ANYTHING, so long as it is the truth. This does not exclude anything that might hurt someone’s feelings.

  8. Father Time says:

    That quote was fake?

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  9. EvilTikiMan says:

    Dont wait to long to act or people in aust might do what people in america have done. Not pay attention, sit on their hands, have the government gain too much control due to no one paying attention,  laze around complaining that they cant do anything. That is what America has done for the past 8 years, and we have dearly paid for it. Whats worse is that there are many who still dont realize it.

    For those who can vote, writing and sending Large petitions to elected officials. It is your right to make demands of them since: A- they promised to serve the People. B-it is the Job of those elected to serve the people and listen to their requests.

    Any government that ever dares to call them selves: "A government of the people, by the people and for the people." Must remember that They are not the ones who are suppose to decide what They think is best, but only to act as a mirror to the people of the area in which they are tied to. Just because you were elected by one collection of voters does not mean that you should ignore the others.

    ——————————-

    Responsibility: Its time that the next generation takes up the reigns of power in our government, before the old fools who hold them steer this country of ours closer to capsizing. We must act before its to late to repair the damage.

  10. Kalerender says:

    Unfortunately our party options are rather limited, and I don’t think we even have the option for an independant to become prime minister, afaik PM is simply whoever is the elected leader of the party (by the party) who controls the most seats in the house of representatives.

     

    There was a large public backlash against the previous govt, not to mention previous PM wasn’t going to guarantee a full term so there was a large viewpoint that we were voting for whoever the party elected to take over afterwards.

     

    Sometimes I feel so ashamed to be Australian, just need to endure another 10-20 years for most of these idiots to die off so my generation can take over.

  11. Kalerender says:

    Current govt stopped the baby bonus I believe, but may be wrong.

    I know why they did it, but by god was it poorly implemented.

  12. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Do Austrailians actually vote these people in like how Chicagians vote guys in who screw over the public?!

  13. Zerodash says:

    This proves once again what is wrong with giving government too much authority over people’s lives. And yet, the rest of the Western World continues to give their governments more and more sweeping control over peoples lives.

  14. ZenAndNow says:

    No no no no no… you don’t quite understand. We have welfare too aka "The Dole".

    What they’re refering to however is the aptly named "Baby Bonus" whereupon you have a baby and you got given a lump sum of money by the Federal Government.

    Yes it was stupid. Yes it was done by the previous Government. No, the current Government is not any more intelligent than the old one. Do we need to take our current crop of politicians out back and put them all down like the brain-dead twits that they are? Yes indeed.

  15. Austin_Lewis says:

    We basically pay people to have kids over here too.  It’s called welfare, and it’s the reason that our foster homes are so packed.  Well, one of them.

  16. Austin_Lewis says:

    It’s from Mein Kampf, Volume 2, chapter 2.  The Chapter should be titled ‘The State’  I have the old version, so it’s in a second book by itself, but in newer version, I’ve been told the Mein Kampf contains both volumes in One book. 

  17. Bennett Beeny says:

    I dunno.  I’ve met quite a few Australians.  They’re as nutty as the English or the Americans, so anything is possible.

  18. Bennett Beeny says:

    "This could lead to censoring news stories and legitimate information in a fucking heart beat.

    "Sorry this information/news is farr too graphic for 15 year olds, I’m afraid we can’t allow anyone to see it.""

    It already happens in the US.  We don’t get to see any images of dead soldiers or their coffins.

  19. ZAR says:

    Reminds me of Great Britain after Thatcher! Labour became a clone and "successor" of the Tories in every aspect – in some even worse – and now there are no real political alternatives to get rid of them and their antisocial/antidemocratic behaviour. (The liberal democrats are not to be trusted – they are notorious for being "pragmatic" once they can grab power.)

    After Australia was finally relieved of Howard and his neo-fashists, my first thought was, it can only get better. Well, "worse" is certainly better than "worst" but still not good enough!

    ZAR.

     

  20. jazduck says:

    I hope so too, if not might be purchasing a good VPN connection. I refuse to be treat like a child in the guise of protecting the children. We even pay people to have them over here, guess it’s a good bid for a reelection. Pay em to have kids, make stupid rule to protect kids, win votes, profit.

  21. jazduck says:

    Voting is compulsory in Australia so most eligable people have voted, not exactly sure if that’s a blessing or a curse, it’s questionable given the muppets currently making the rules. They do have an electoral roll so they can check you off (and fine you if you dont vote) at elections and referendums.

  22. Afirejar says:

    If you wanted to have a fake quote from "Mein Kampf" you could have made one up a long time ago.

  23. Father Time says:

    And now we got something from Mein Kempf too.

    (and before anyone starts, quoting Adolf Hitler does not qualify as Godwin’s law as that only deals with comparing something to Nazis, Hitler or the Holocaust).

    "Yes we need to give ourselves way more power to censor the internet, you know for the children."

    This could lead to censoring news stories and legitimate information in a fucking heart beat.

    "Sorry this information/news is farr too graphic for 15 year olds, I’m afraid we can’t allow anyone to see it."

    It only takes a couple steps.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  24. gamadaya says:

    It was me. I’ll look for the exact quote.

    Also, Jesus Christ A_L. I didn’t even know Hitler said that. He hit the nail on the head there. I was just making a joke, I didn’t actually know it was a strategy implemented by freaking Hitler. That made my day.

     

    Here it is:

    Whenever anyone says "think of the children", you know they are about to do something so rediculously evil that it requires people to think of sweet, innocent children in order to keep their consciences from destroying them. If anyone ever says "think of the kittens", you know that we are all fucked.

     

    How deliciously appropriate. It was in the Germany blocking Austrian game seller article.

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  25. Black Patriot says:

    They might be doing it already, although I’ve yet to see a pizza van parked outside my house for a week straight. Its only a matter of time though…

  26. Father Time says:

    Err no it was a member here on GP, but can you verify that quote? I’d love to use it as a sig.

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  27. Austin_Lewis says:

    "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." – Adolph Hitler (Mein Kampf) 

    That the one?

  28. RedKing says:

    Sky News has this to say:

    The British internet industry has nominated Federal communications minister Stephen Conroy as ‘Internet Villain of the Year’.

    Very fitting I say. The whole Australian Government is a joke over here, really it is.

    I turly, dearly pray that this whole filter crap will fall flat on its’ face BIG time and (c)Rudd will see what an abysmal idea it was in the first place. I know Cuba and China have it worse but come on, this is suppose to be a democracy!

     

  29. FlakAttack says:

    Yup, seems it’s just another case of selective free speech. Letters to your politicians Aussies, they will do wonders. Let them know of your intense dissatisfaction… just be polite about it. Sounding like a raving lunatic just makes you sound like a fringe welfare case. Sounding intelligent about it means you’re likely a voter.

    Oh, and it helps if you do actually vote. If you’re not on the voter’s list, they won’t give a damn. At least, that’s how it works in Canada; they can see whether or not you voted, but not who you voted for.

  30. Tom says:

    Oftentimes when issues like this come up I realize how grateful I am to live in the States, where even though we have the occasional raving lunatic drumming up "outrage" over various people’s desires to do or say various things we also have, on the whole, such a deeply ingrained sense of free expression that wholesale, government-mandated censorship won’t happen.

    Or, at the very least, our judiciary seems to have an ingrained understanding of the importance of free expression, even if some of our people don’t agree.

  31. gamadaya says:

    In fact, forget about the country and blackjack!

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  32. gamadaya says:

    If any person on the street sees it, then these guys wouldn’t be in power. The fact is, the people are going to get the government they deserve.

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  33. gamadaya says:

    "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."

    I don’t think that’s going to happen that often. I believe we can all agree that, as usual, nobody pushing the ban even cares the slightest bit about real issues (made evident by the fact that they’re pushing a game ban). They just want to gain public approval from morons who think they’re doing it for the *shudders* children. If the game is sold in stores and is popular enough, it will get a pass. I mean, they gave GTA IV an MA-15 rating. I don’t care how much it was edited, there is no way that game passes for MA-15. After all, money always trumps moral principles.

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  34. Longjocks says:

    I find it oh-so awesome that people in this country can exercise the right to have children, then further exercise their right not to supervise their children’s activities and have the government place restrictions on the rest of us.

    On a state level they do the same thing where problems are addressed with ridiculous soltuions which don’t solve anything but instead put up barriers for the average person. The NSW driver license is a good example where they raise the hours of driving time a learner has to be behind the wheel and increase the number of computer tests a probationary driver has to take, but they do not implement something such as mandatory driver training schemes and testing.

    This is a similar issue where they miss the mark and try to take the easy way out without improving the situation at all. Any person on the street sees this and one would like to think our politicians – the people in charge of our country – see it as well. They are either oblivious or do not wish to address these issues appropriately.

  35. SbEguy says:

    Wow, Australia seems to be winning the race towards totalitarianism against Germany with this insane idea…who’d have thought?

  36. Kris says:

    Holy crap.  What is going on over there?  Seriously, what the hell is their problem?

    My condolences, Aussies.  You guys get shat all over just trying to play some video games.

  37. Father Time says:

    Someone said it best here (paraphrased)

    "When your government tells you to think of the children that often means that they’re doing something so despicable that they rather you think of innocent children rather than whatever it is they’re up to."
     

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  38. Kalerender says:

    Why.. why can’t we just get reasonable govt. You know.. people who actually think about circumstances outside their own little world, people who feel that educating the people actually responsible for children, I believe they’re called parents on what is available, rather than just trying to shut all the perceived nasties away.

     

    I’m building my own country in the pacific, free unrestricted high speed internet for all, who wants in?

  39. Baruch_S says:

    Well this sounds just a little bit fascist. How long ’til the government starts sending around survellience vehicles to listen on on people’s conversations in their homes?

  40. JustChris says:

    Right on. When I buy/build a computer, I use it to the intention that I will have complete freedom of what I do with it. Now wait where I go with this…I do not expect the computer to think for itself and replace my intended task with something completely different.

    Same thing with the government. We don’t pay the government to _think_ for us. We pay it to do tasks we delegate to it, tasks that require massive amounts of effort. And do them without question, or with suggestions that we can always decline. It is the people’s computer.

    GameSnooper

  41. Sigvatr_ says:

    Honestly, I have no connection to the man at all and really don’t care about him. I don’t think saying that I hope he conks out soon is too far out. The day that he does die and the news hits GamePolitics, it will be a fucking party.

  42. Kalerender says:

    Actually they changed their minds about doing it in cosplay (due to issues of not being taken seriously.. I know I’d be more likely the run away than listen to a 40 year old man dressed as sailor moon), but I don’t know how it went down.

  43. Waffles says:

    Its probably better that it didn’t happen, seeing as though the plan was to protest while cosplaying.

  44. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Remember, these are the idiots who created filters to block porn (in schools/libraries and other places if I remember correct) and it took pretty much zero times for it to be bypassed by some kid.


  45. sortableturnip says:

    Who in the HELL thought up that lousy idea?!?!

    Guess no one in Australia has heard of a proxy server….

  46. Black Patriot says:

    They’ve been told repetedly by ISPs, engineers and even their own researchers that it would be impossibly expensive and essentially useless, because anyone with any techincal knowledge can bypass it, but it hasn’t stopped them yet.

    There have been a few protests and every poll suggests a majority of people are against it, but they’re not listening…

  47. hellfire7885 says:

    Honestly, I hope and pray that this solution requires too much manpower and too much money for them to impliment. Sorry, but these jackasses need to start listening to the people rather than to their own "morality" and I hope this solution costs them far, FAR more than it woudl to just impliment the 18 and over rating.


  48. Tom says:

    Oh no, it’s worse then that.  See, they’re not worried about a 14 year old getting a hold of GTA IV.  That you could at least understand even if you disagree with it.  No, they’re worried about anybody getting a hold of GTA IV.

  49. Mysticgamer says:

    Wait a minute, this country is surrounded by deadly waters, vicious crocodiles, venomous creatures, Kangaroos that out number the populace and this is what’s worrying them? A 14 year old getting  a hold of GTA4?  We should give the government some real problems to worry about like a hundred rabbits roaming the outback.

  50. gamadaya says:

    It’s OK if it’s confusing. It’s supposed to be. See, what you’re doing wrong here is you’re thinking about it. Stop doing that. All that the Australian government needs you to know is that violent videogames will sodomize your children. Now sure, you might have some fancy counterpoint where you point out the hipocricy of the situation, but that would mean you’re for sodomizing children. You aren’t for sodomizing children, are you?

    ——————————————————–

    Believe in something! Even if it’s wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

  51. Ryno says:

    One thing that confuses me. Isn’t it perfectly fine to show boobies on Aussie TV, yet violent video games are a scourge? Not that boobs are a scourge, just that as an American I find it funny the nudity is fine but adults playing adult video games is bad.

     

    Saying that Jack Thompson is impotent is an insult to impotent men everywhere. They’ve got a whole assortment of drugs that can cure their condition; Jack, however…

  52. Saxy says:

    And, in other news, Jack Thompson, realizing he fails at everything in the united states, moves to australia, where he can aid the government in their time of fail.

  53. hellfire7885 says:

    They likely suddenly needed a permit to hold the protest, or were shunted to a "free speech zone"


  54. Father Time says:

    See this is what happens when you let the government censor things that are legal, it doesn’t just stop at the things 90+% of the population dislikes it keeps going and going.

    While we’re on the topic what happened to the protest over the 18 rating that was supposed to take place there?

    —————————————————-

    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  55. MaskedPixelante says:

    Don’t worry. When Michael Atkinson is retired or dead, whichever comes first, this will probably go with him.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

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