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AU Internet Censorship Spells Bad News For Gamers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the no-hope-for-call-of-duty-kangaroo-wars dept.

Australia 152

eldavojohn writes "Kotaku is running an investigative piece examining what internet censorship means for games in Australia. Australia has some of the most draconian video game attitudes in the world, and the phrase 'refused classification' should strike fear in game developers and publishers looking to market games there. Internet censorship may expand this phrase to mean that anybody hosting anything about the game may suffer censorship in AU. Kotaku notes, 'This means that if a game is refused classification (RC) in Australia — like, say, NFL Blitz, or Getting Up — content related to these games would be added to the ISP filter. [This would bring up] a range of questions, foremost of those being: what happens when an otherwise harmless website ... hosts material from those games (screenshots, trailers, etc) that is totally fine in the US or Japan or Europe, but that has been refused classification in Australia?' Kotaku received a comment from the Australian Department of Broadband Communication promising that the whole website won't be blocked, just the material related to the game (videos, images, etc). Imagine maintaining that blacklist!"

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Crikey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256092)

I mean Heil Crikey!

Expect no less (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256110)

Expect no less from the country that brought us the likes of the Fuhrer and the Governator

Re:Expect no less (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256142)

Dude....AUSTRALIA...not Austria. *facepalm*

Re:Expect no less (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256186)

WHOOSH!!! Dude... WHOOSH!!! *facepalm*

Re:Expect no less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257288)

Trying to hide the truth like a typical Ewige Jude

Re:Expect no less (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258024)

Look up, see the joke, wave.

Re:Expect no less (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256148)

Expect no less from the country that brought us the likes of the Fuhrer and the Governator

You and the pro-censorship Aussies need to both swallow a huge cum-dripping nigger cock.

Re:Expect no less (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258330)

Expect no less from the country that brought us the likes of the Fuhrer and the Governator

You and the pro-censorship Aussies need to both swallow a huge cum-dripping nigger cock.

Because you are a racist that defends freedom of speech, right?

Re:Expect no less (0, Redundant)

Mick R (932337) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257562)

That's Australia, numbnut, not Austria.

Once te flood gates are pushed open... (5, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256106)

Once the flood gates of ISP level censorship are pushed open, it's simply going to keep cascading until our Mate's internet connection is "sanitized" to death, where sanitized is on a sliding scale depending on whoever is in power at the time.

Re:Once te flood gates are pushed open... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256382)

Once the flood gates of ISP level censorship are pushed open, it's simply going to keep cascading until our Mate's internet connection is "sanitized" to death, where sanitized is on a sliding scale depending on whoever is in power at the time.

The '90s is calling, and it wants its AOL [walled garden] back. No thinking involved; just like TV!

Re:Once te flood gates are pushed open... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256562)

Once the flood gates of ISP level censorship are pushed open, it's simply going to keep cascading until our Mate's internet connection is "sanitized" to death

No need to worry too much: these censorship rules clearly don't scale well. Once the ISPs are having trouble maintaining their REAL services for their users just because some non-sense law bullies them into this filtering, they will take action to change the law. Or else their own users will end up with no internet connection.

On the other hand, maybe it's a good time to release a "Proxies for Dummies" book in Australia.

Third World solution: disobey the law (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256978)

Once the ISPs are having trouble maintaining their REAL services for their users just because some non-sense law bullies them into this filtering, they will take action to change the law.

One of the main differences between rich countries and poor countries is how the law is regarded by the population.

In developed countries there is a general sentiment among the people that obeying the law is something that benefits everybody. In the Third World the general sentiment is that the law is something created by those in power for their own benefit.

The way things are going, expect a major increase in corruption and violence in the currently rich contries in the next decades. You cannot keep creating law after law that go against the wishes of the majority of the people without unwanted consequences.

Re:Third World solution: disobey the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257036)

In developed countries, majority of the people will not care as long as they get their pr0n.

Re:Third World solution: disobey the law (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257358)

In developed countries, majority of the people will not care as long as they get their pr0n.

Isn't porn one of the things that get refused classification?

Re:Third World solution: disobey the law (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258082)

OMG! They want to make the internet like TV. TV is 100 channels and nothing on, internet will be a billion webpages and nothing on (at least nothing you could see anymore).

Re:Third World solution: disobey the law (1)

cenc (1310167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258540)

I have lived and worked in developing countries for years. Never ever seen censorship of any sort like they have in most "developed" countries, with the exception of China.

The silver lining (2, Interesting)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256144)

The upshot of this whole thing is of course that our jobless rate is going to evaporate as we are going to need that chunk of the the population to surf the net and flag possible bad content.

Re:The silver lining (2, Insightful)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256184)

Hate replying to myself, particularly when I wanted to just make it funny, but FUCK this is going to be a growth industry in Australia.

Lets just work on youtube, 20 hours of vid uploaded per min (quick google search gave me this number), thats 1200 people required to be constantly watching new youtube vids for potentially bad content.

People can't work 24/7 :)

So, in 8hr shifts, we have 3600 people... wait, holidays...

Lets just make it a round 4000 people employed just for keeping up with the current youtube uploads.

Now thats to keep up, how much to get ahead and start indexing all those vids already there?

Re:The silver lining (1)

jaronc (68205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256400)

Under the current system, which I believe is intended to continue, they don't actually search the internet for RC'd material. Instead they only act on pages to which someone has submitted a complaint about. Only then do they go and check to see if it would be RC'd. If yes, they add to the secret black list.

Re:The silver lining (3, Funny)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256702)

As of June 2009, 1.67 billion people worldwide use the Internet. http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm [internetworldstats.com]

Even just legitimate submitted complaints (assuming folks bothered) would bury the scheme. Now imagine a small shell script...

Re:The silver lining (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257170)

Now imagine a small shell script...

submit($blacklistURL, "Michael Atkinson");

Oh I like that idea. But I bet they won't let you submit anything to do with their secret "whitelist" that complements the semi-public blacklist.

Re:The silver lining (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257260)

Oh god, that could be glorious.
A firefox extension which submits every page you can find to be blocked!
Either bury them in 15 miles of paperwork or blackout the internet for them.

Re:The silver lining (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257924)

I hope they let you submit complaints by email. A publicly available email address. And then we make an FOI claim asking why they haven't addressed all the complaints.

Re:The silver lining (2, Insightful)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256426)

There are 40 work hours a week (and a total of 168 hours), and the free time is about 3 weeks a year. Add one week for other issues (medical leave, ...) and you end up working about 48 weeks a year, or some 1920 hours a year.
  20 hours of content a minute, 525000 minutes a year makes 10 million hours of content a year, against 2000 hours work a year makes 5,000 employees.
  Now, what about all the pictures updated to all the picture sites?

Re:The silver lining (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256434)

No problems, mate, you could outsource to China, they've got a nice headstart on that blacklist there. Oh, you'd need to skip the parts about Tibet and Taiwan and Tiamin Square and Democracy (not sure about this last one) but the porn & games section would probably suit you fine!

Re:The silver lining (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256444)

The upshot of this whole thing is of course that our jobless rate is going to evaporate as we are going to need that chunk of the the population to surf the net and flag possible bad content.

...

So, in 8hr shifts, we have 3600 people... wait, holidays...

More likely Australia is going to be funding the outsourcing industries in India and China. Wishful thinking on your part, but not very realistic. There are no silver linings here.

And yeah, I heard prices for Internet service is already sky-high in Australia; expect pricing to get worse while you need to pay for even more exorbitant services which deny you services. It's as sensible as politics gets.

Re:The silver lining (1)

Cinnaman (954100) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256990)

I read somewhere that one government job costs two private sector jobs (fair enough as it's supported by tax money). Rudd also has 150 beureacrats working on the ETS scheme that wasn't even passed. I wonder how much domestic security is sucking us dry http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/australia-responds-to-threats-of-internet-war-20100115-mcgv.html [brisbanetimes.com.au]

Re:The silver lining (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257234)

Which would be quite amusing, because it'd basically mean you had half the population looking for content the government doesn't want them to see.

Re:The silver lining (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257768)

Well, as someone else pointed out, this will mainly work on a submission system, so they are essentially crowd-sourcing it.

Now, as we all know, such systems can be easily dealt with either by DDoS (as pointed out, a firefox plugin that will submit every page you view to their department) or you could start strategically poisoning it, find parts of some of the catholic church pages that are infringing, and seeing if you can get them to ban whole domains :)

Re:The silver lining (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258172)

It's really the public sector way, I worked in public sector in the UK for a while, in local government, but I've seen it reaching to the top of British government, and even seen the same pattern from top to bottom in foreign governments.

It never ceases to amaze me how public sector beauracrats consistently manage to come up with schemes that achieve completely the opposite effect to what was intend, but that are also so obviously flawed that even the average layman in the street can tell you why said scheme wont work.

I don't know how they do it, the people who come up with these things are a special type of idiot, it's just remarkable that they can't see the so utterly glaring and obvious flaws in their plans.

You do get them in private sector too of course, but their prevalence in public sector? their ability to exist there at all levels, from the lowest paid to the highest paid? It's remarkable. You have to give them credit, I don't think for a second that I could make it to the top like they do whilst simultaneously making such stupid and flawed decisions, there's obviously a skill to it.

Political action (3, Interesting)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256152)

I encourage every member of Slashdot to donate to Gamers 4 Croydon. Gamers for Croydon is a political party running against atkinson in his home seat in an attempt to raise awareness about the R18+ restriction on games and to oppose mandatory internet filtering. Seriously, go donate and spread the word

http://www.gamers4croydon.org/ [gamers4croydon.org]

Re:Political action (3, Insightful)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256288)

Sounds like they have similar goals to the Australian Pirate Party. (also worth joining)

Re:Political action (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257214)

"Gamers 4 Croydon"
"Australian Pirate Party"

Why pick names which have connotations of either juvenile behaviour or stealing from copyright musicians and Hollywood?

I know they're not, but Joe Sixpack doesn't, will glaze over at the first mention of "P2P" "Bittorrent" or "deep packet inspection" and come away with the idea that some bum kids want to watch free porn at the expense of his paycheque.

FFS, get a clue about politics. Image means a hell of a lot, and "Gamers 4 ..." or "... Pirate Party" are not names which help you.

Liberty Advocates Party. There you go.

Re:Political action (1)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257554)

Can't be a pioneer unless you pioneer something. If I could wish for anything to happen in politics, it would be to get rid of parties with uninspiring, pretentious names like "The Conservatives" or "New Labour" or "The National Socialist Party". At least when you vote for "The Monster Raving Loony Party" you get what it says on the tin! http://www.omrlp.com/ [omrlp.com]

Re:Political action (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258112)

Too bad Screaming Lord Sutch died over a decade ago and the party is all but dead itself.

Re:Political action (3, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257938)

You can hold the Liberty Advocates Party Dance as a fund-raiser. I know I'd pay for that.

Re:Political action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258030)

Except no one wants to associate themselves with pirates.

Re:Political action (4, Informative)

Joakal (1317443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256392)

There's a list of what parties support the Internet Filtering Scheme(s): http://shockseat.com/communications/internet-filtering-scheme [shockseat.com]

/disclaimer, I maintain the website.

I'm recently doing a survey which will include game classification, there's no R and X classification for games. And not just internet filtering, but copyright, patent, whether they support other means to restrict content ownership and more. You can view a sample of the survey that was sent to parties here: http://shockseat.com/survey [shockseat.com] Although it's pretty amaterurish, it's already making it much easier to add more issues to my website.

Bonus: If my site takes off, I will get or at least present vague notions of what the parties plan to do so it would be up to the 'crowd' to demand clarity.

Some more information about the website here: http://shockseat.com/about [shockseat.com]

Re:Political action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257434)

Excellent site.

From a marketing point of view, you should reverse the colour scheme green to red to reflect your level of approval of their position rather than their level of approval of censorship. Red is an alert colour, it should be drawing attention to the parties with the dangerous position.

Re:Political action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257594)

Hey there are / were lots of games developers in Croydon (meaning: "Saffron Valley") too:

  • Probe Entertainment / Acclaim London (defunct and became:)
  • Hotgen
  • Crawfish (defunct and became:)
  • Razorback
  • Coyote (defunct and became:)
  • Attractive Games

They have sold tens of millions of games and brought a lot of money into the local economy.

Oh wait, there's another town named after the butt of Londoners' jokes? D'oh!

wow. (2, Insightful)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256158)

death by bureaucracy... department of broadband communication. are you fucking kidding me?

this is the kind of idiocy that was generally historically corrected by violent revolution... sigh.

gg Australia, way to self-immolate in the present tense. it was nice knowing you, I guess. thanks for all the fish, or whatever condolences I'm supposed to offer.

Re:wow. (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256224)

way to self-immolate in the present tense.

You do know that self-immolation refers to suicide by fire, more specifically to a form of extreme protest by Buddhist monks. Monks who have taken vows not to harm other creatures set themselves on fire, it was commonplace in south Vietnam as protest against the war and corrupt South Vietnamese government and is occasionally done in China in protest over China's occupation of Tibet.

Deffo used the wrong word there mate.

Re:wow. (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256862)

way to self-immolate in the present tense.

You do know that self-immolation refers to suicide by fire, more specifically to a form of extreme protest by Buddhist monks. Monks who have taken vows not to harm other creatures set themselves on fire, it was commonplace in south Vietnam as protest against the war and corrupt South Vietnamese government and is occasionally done in China in protest over China's occupation of Tibet. Deffo used the wrong word there mate.

I don't know. If you give him a bit of poetic license, the idea of them dying in a self-induced fire due to intentions not to hurt others isn't too far out there.

Re:wow. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256414)

this is what the moron's wanted when they voted for the labor party. government answers to everything.

gg indeed....

Re:wow. (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256586)

You clearly have forgotten Alston, the World's Biggest Luddite.

But hey, if you believe only ALP pollies can be bad, go nuts. The saner people on /. will just ignore your ranting.

Re:wow. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257950)

Conroy is making me want Alston back. Alston was stupid/useless not stupid/dangerous.

Re:wow. (1)

Cinnaman (954100) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257038)

Don't play that card, yet another Liberal term would have seen something similar unfolding, they'd still be trying to turn the Australian people into slaves in their own way. Both parties have a grip on power and we're stuffed until we can get rid of them.

Re:wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257982)

And its this sort of thinking that will hand the filter on a platter to religious nut Tony Abott.

Welcome to the future! (4, Insightful)

precariousgray (1663153) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256160)

Why can't we simply accept that this is the 21st century, and nothing should be censored? Ever. Don't want to see the content within a particular video game? Great, don't look at it. That's your right. It is also mine to masturbate to bloody, mutilated appendages if I so choose. Please replace "video game" above with any applicable form of media.

Re:Welcome to the future! (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256202)

Why can't we simply accept that this is the 21st century, and nothing should be censored? Ever.

Politicians never got that upgrade. The bug in their code that compels them to control various aspects of peoples' lives for whatever reason has not been patched nor is there any real sign that it ever will be.

Re:Welcome to the future! (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258624)

The problem with your idea is that there are a LOT of people out there (many of whom believe in some kind of non-existent god) who think its their god-given right to dictate what other people can and cannot do.

New Aussie classification, DNF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256214)

They felt vaporware deserved it's own classification.

NAZI ZOMBIE BRAINS CHILDREN ON FIRE CARTOON PORN (5, Funny)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256232)

And now...Slashdot is no longer viewable to Australians.

Re:NAZI ZOMBIE BRAINS CHILDREN ON FIRE CARTOON POR (3, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256822)

Brains? Really?

I guess when you outlaw brains, only outlaws will have brains.

Re:NAZI ZOMBIE BRAINS CHILDREN ON FIRE CARTOON POR (1)

M8e (1008767) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257302)

Did you verb brains?

Re:NAZI ZOMBIE BRAINS CHILDREN ON FIRE CARTOON POR (1)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257476)

I'm Australian, you insensitive cl%^!@#(&$%[NO CARRIER]

Re:NAZI ZOMBIE BRAINS CHILDREN ON FIRE CARTOON POR (1)

severn2j (209810) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257926)

You forgot "Small breasted women".. Seriously.

Re:NAZI ZOMBIE BRAINS CHILDREN ON FIRE CARTOON POR (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258174)

You say i in jest, but this report alone might be already enough. We're talking about RC games here. Is mentioning a "banned" game enough to get hit by the censor bat? Is reporting about a "censored" event, practice or even fad enough to be censored?

If so, it basically means that censoring ANY medium is perfectly possible in Australia now. Fox reported badly about the Aussie Prez? Let's see, did they have something about happy slapping lately? Yes? Great, *POOF*. BBC disagreeing with Australian foreign policy? Hmm... browse their documentaries, I'm sure we find something that matches our filter criteria. /. repeatedly slapping our censoring policy? Now, that should be easy, I'm sure they have something about copyright in one of their stories that make them censor worthy.

The threat isn't so much that we might not get to play some computer game. The threat is that it becomes easily possible to silence media outlets that are deemed "unwanted". Oh, you cannot block them for their anti-Aussie-Government stories, but they will for sure carry something that makes them blockworthy.

Fifty bucks says this doesnt pass parliment (4, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256234)

again.

Australia's parliament voted against internet censorship in 2008 and there was a lot less organisation against it then. This close to an election many pollies are thinking of their chances of being re-elected. The Greens still hold the balance of power in parliament and they are dead against the censorship scheme, most of the independents are offside now as well, the Opposition will vote no simply because Labor is voting yes.

Yeah, pull the other one mate. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256430)

I'll go one further than $50, I will bet my left testicle it never happens.

"the Opposition will vote no simply because Labor is voting yes"

Yep and when the Liberals were last in power Labor voted no to madatory filtering.

"most of the independents are offside now as well"

That was the whole point, Mr 2% lost interest pretty fast when his own anti-abortion sponsers *somehow* made it onto the proposed list. This shit has been going on for at least a decade, the two major parties take turns at being good/bad cop in order to screw over the nutjob independents who keep poping up in the senate.

As I have been doing for the last 2-3yrs with these stories [google.com.au] I will again issue a challenge to anyone who thinks this crap has a real chance of becoming law. Point out a single quote where Conroy has said he is in favour of mandatory filtering. I've yet to see one. I've seen plenety of quotes where he says he is in favour of trials/inquiries, and sure he put up the legislation but it's his turn to be the bad cop and like any Aussie with half a brain he knows full well it will fail to pass the senate.

Re:Yeah, pull the other one mate. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258190)

Those in power are for, those not in power are against governmental influence on public information. Duh.

Independent of their alleged political goals, ambitions or other tidbits, they're all the same.

Re:Fifty bucks says this doesnt pass parliment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256432)

But the question remains do they need to pass a bill through the Parliament, or can Conroy do it with the powers already invested in him? I think the first option is more likely but I haven't been confidently assured as such yet.

Re:Fifty bucks says this doesnt pass parliment (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256538)

But the question remains do they need to pass a bill through the Parliament, or can Conroy do it with the powers already invested in him? I think the first option is more likely but I haven't been confidently assured as such yet.

Yes, it needs to be put through parliament because its a federal law that cannot be overturned by state parliaments. The ratings system decided by the state Attorney Generals (which I assume you are referring to by "powers already invested") can be overturned by state (or federal) parliaments. Conroy has no real power to enact policy without the support of parliament.

Re:Fifty bucks says this doesnt pass parliment (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256598)

Australians vote the way the television and talk radio stations tell them to vote.. the week before election day, no matter what the polls say, the party with the most media coverage wins.

Politicians in this country can do anything they like and the sheeple will vote them back into power, so long as they put enough ads on in that last week.

Re:Fifty bucks says this doesnt pass parliment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257648)

Wow... Where do you live? Redneckville? I call BS.

I'd love to see you explain how Labor got in. It took a really stupid Liberal sponsored law and about 2 years of campaigning to kick out Howard. And it wasn't a certainty that Rudd was going to be elected, either.

The problem here is that all our political parties suck ass. Labor are supposed to be pro-workers rights but also have a right-wing anti-liberal angle that brings in this censorship crap. The Liberals are supposed to be pro-business and free markets, yet couldn't recognise a free market if it punched them in the face. The Greens are more personal liberty than Labor/Liberal but they have anti-Nuclear, anti-development and various other pointless policies. All other parties are either minority without candidates in most areas or are just single issue fruit baskets.

Ultimately, it becomes a choice between "evil you know" and the "lesser of N evils". Sometimes they coincide, other times, the lesser may just not be less enough to chance it. Here's to hoping we get a minority House government so that the idiots spend most of their time arguing with each other instead of fucking everything up.

Re:Fifty bucks says this doesnt pass parliment (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257974)

No, we don't. We usually vote the way our parents voted.

Why it'll probably get through (1)

acb (2797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258332)

It's not quite a done deal, but has a smooth ride through Parliament. Party discipline in Australia is absolute, and any Labor member who votes against party lines (except during a declared "conscience vote") will be deselected automatically. Kevin Rudd, a self-defined social conservative, supports it. Meanwhile, the Coalition are headed by Tony Abbott, a hardline religious authoritarian culture-warrior often nicknamed the "Mad Monk"; for it to not get through, he would have to not only oppose it but exercise party discipline across the Coalition to prevent anyone from crossing the floor. And there are certainly enough social conservatives there to make up the numbers easily. The Greens, Xenophon, &c. are irrelevant at this point.

So if it gets to legislation being tabled and voted on before the election, it's as close to a dead certainty as can get in politics. The main chance of stopping it would be for the Labor Party to realise that they're making a terrible mistake and to kill or neutralise it. Which also looks unlikely; Rudd and Conroy are both ideologically committed to it, and polls show that opposition to it could only make a political difference in two electorates: the inner-city seats of Melbourne and Sydney, both safe Labor seats. So politically, it's not a liability (and probably an asset, given the legendary apathy of the Australian electorate).

Fucking pandering government... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256268)

Bloody Labor government pandering to the right wing religious types. Fucking pathetic.

Also, australia will get an R rated game classification sooner or later. The wheels are in motion now.

Lastly, I doubt that legislation for the internet filter will pass both houses of government. The opposition parties have too much to gain by blocking it.

Make no mistake, no matter the government of the day, the internet filter was inevitable. Like America, the Christians in this country are fucking powerful, and they want to dictate to everyone what we can and cannot see.

Seeing what over Au goverment departments have... (2, Interesting)

HJED (1304957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256296)

This is especially worrying when you realise how corrupt the government in Australia is, I recently came to realised this when I found out that the Department of Education in NSW block access to ALL search engines accept google for students at public primary and high schools. (apart from yahoo which you can get one page of results from if you go to search.yahoo.com)

Re:Seeing what over Au goverment departments have. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256350)

I really don't see a problem with that. Students can go home and search to their hearts content and to my knowledge teachers and administrators act as if their control ends at the school boundary. My son is a grade two student at an Australian primary school. Students have internet access so they can run online educational applications. At home I supervise his internet access. I accept that teachers can't to that every second of the day at school.

Re:Seeing what over Au goverment departments have. (1)

HJED (1304957) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257262)

The problem with that is students are taught that google is the only option and will refuse to use over search engines, which may or may not be better.

Especially at high school, students frequently have to use the web and it is my understanding that the same filter will be applied at school and at home w/ the release of the laptops for all yr9 students.

The filter is supposed to stop inappropriate use of the internet. About 85% of the sites that I use for research are blocked, leaving wikipedia a few government sites and a few that no one else has been to (It's a black list but if a student goes to a site it soon gets blocked as uncategorised for an unspecified period of time).

Also I fail to see how bing, yahoo or Altavista are inappropriate (bing is blocked as teachers only, the others as search engines/portal sites).

Re:Seeing what over Au goverment departments have. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257646)

it is my understanding that the same filter will be applied at school and at home w/ the release of the laptops for all yr9 students.

Deals Direct had an asus netbook for $250. Its not like people can't buy their own gear. Or they could just run a live cd. If the school owns the laptop there isn't much you can do about filtering.

Re:Seeing what over Au goverment departments have. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258002)

Bah, wait until you hear that government departments aren't going to be filtered. The logic makes as much sense as the rest of the plan, but it means public servants have to get their porn at work.

Imagine the blacklist is right (4, Informative)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256298)

Imagine maintaining that blacklist!

Imagine is exactly right, because the blacklist will be secret. The explanation being that having a list of RC material available will encourage people to view it... except they won't be able to...

Incidentally, for the people who think this filter is about blocking child porn, consider this: Child porn is illegal, and is the jurisdiction of the federal police. The blacklist will not be maintained by the police, and any ILLEGAL content is to be submitted to the police. The RC filter list is only for UNDESIRABLE content, content that is NOT illegal.

Re:Imagine the blacklist is right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256556)

The RC filter list is only for UNDESIRABLE content, content that is NOT illegal.

And here I thought Anonymous took down the government websites...

Subject (2, Interesting)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256308)

So first Britain treats 1984 like an instruction manual, and now Australia is treating Equilibrium [wikipedia.org] like a How-To film?

This game has been rated EC-10.

Re:Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258236)

Grammar tonne clerics are cow farms run by Telstra.

Re:Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258474)

You sound like an idiot. You need a refresher. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four

Aussie politicians just don't get it (1)

bguiz (1627491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256478)

What really strikes me here is that all this "Refused Classification" stuff has been in the media circus for a really long time now, and there's been an instant backlash from those who get it - IT guys, gen Y, etc. But Aussie politicians just don't seem to get it at all - their attitude toward the whole thing, their reactions and replies to all the backlash so far can all be explained with the following assumption:

They think the internet is some sort of extension of traditional media like newspapers and radio. And they are trying to treat it it as such - attempted censorship, case in point.

What they have yet to realise that these traditional media are broadcast media - i.e. Single source, many recipients, very minimal feedback loop.
The internet is a direct contradiction of this media type - the feedback loop is the main thing (Slashdot, or any any other forum, case in point, especially this comment [slashdot.org] ). Many sources, many recipients. Lack of centralised control.

And all of this applies to the world of HTTP ... don't get me started of p2p networks and VPNs...

IMHO, if they really understood the internet properly, they would see the pointlessness in censoring it.

Re:Aussie politicians just don't get it (3, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256968)

The great firewall of China is the nearest anyone has got to censoring the internet, and they only just manage it by controlling all access to the internet, running everything through their filters, and having draconian penalties for trying to bypass it.... and it still does not work ....

"Most draconian video game attitudes in the world" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256490)

Not really - just one state level Attorney General (Michael Atkinson - South Australia's AG) has this attitude, highlighting the problem of giving any one of the AGs the ability to veto major decisions where there is otherwise a majority opinion.

The major problem here is that Michael Atkinson is a complete wackjob with his opinions - and he doesn't care about any return fire because noone in his political party dares removing him from the position.

democracy in action (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256528)

22 million australians... apparantly a majority voted for this administration. Why care if that country wants to hide behind a second great internet wall?

Re:democracy in action (3, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256606)

Why care if that country wants to hide behind a second great internet wall?

Even if that were true (which is debatable) There is the minority to consider. Just because a majority decides to throw their rights away does not make it ok to force that decision on to those who aren't ok with giving up their rights to free speech.

Re:democracy in action (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258036)

Actually, it was 2% of one state. They elected an idiot fundie into a balance-of-terror Senate seat. He wanted filtering in exchange for voting with them.

Australian Gamers!? (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256560)

Hey we Aussies stop playing games shortly after turning 15! So what's the big deal with wanting to protect our children from these nasty video games aimed at corrupting our youth?

And as far as I have been told by our overlords.. sorry government. Is that child porn is rampant online and you stumble across it far too often, if the solution is as easy as blocking a website why not let them do it to protect us? While they're at it they can protect us from websites that are pro-abortion, that help teenagers deal with being gay and block any depictions of women with small breasts.. *shiver* We like em big down under!

It's just like in Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256616)

Germany has many more banned games than Australia can brag with, and if an 18+ game is actually published here it's most likely censored - green blood, ragdoll removed etc. Want to play Gears of War in Germany? Forget it. OK, GoW is not banned, it is just "on the index", which is one step harsher than "18+". You are actually allowed to import the game from the UK, but don't even dream about downloading extra maps from XBox Live. Not only do you need a fake UK account for that, but you'll also have to set up some kind of VPN to a free country as there's also an IP blocker in place that prevents any downloads from a german IP. In addition to those games on the "index" we also have a third classification for video games which is "beschlagnahmt". Those are actually banned, and I'm talking about stuff like Mortal Kombat or Condemned here, not some weird Nazi propaganda stuff or animal porn games.

There are four times as many germans as there are australians, we are located in the middel of the oh-so-liberal Europe - but there's no international outcry because of our growing amount of censorship which also includes internet filters since our state president signed a totally idiotic law last week. Could everybody start calling the germans bookburning nazis, please? Sometimes international pressure helps - and at the very least it would give us german gamers the fluffy feeling that somebody cares for us.

Keine Sorge, Mate! (1)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257808)

I'm sure its a pain in the ass now, but I don't think it can last forever. In the UK in the eighties, loads of fringe films were banned for being violent, and all it served to do was make them famous! Driller Killer, anybody? These days every so often one of them gets free publicity from being unbanned. I guess they changed their minds. So they shoot themselves in the foot, because without the list, Mortal Kombat would just be a crap game with lots of blood and gore!

you FAIL (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 4 years ago | (#31256850)

(points at the Aussies faces)
ah-ha!

RC Game != RC Content related to Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31256864)

Games and related content are distinct pieces of material, a game with one rating doesn't mean that DLC, snapshots or it's own site would be under the same classification as they are "distinct works", they would be classified independently.

Censorship has multiple uses (2, Insightful)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257074)

Of course, ideologues like the limitless possibilities censorship offers when it comes to shaping the thoughts of the population by making inconvenient material unavailable. It also helps them get re-elected. But in this case, censorship has a very clear business aspect: it means that if you as a publisher don't pay up, they have the power to make your product disappear. Not only will your website disappear from view, the censorship filter makes it impossible for people to even talk about your product. So this is about corruption, clear and simple.

Are we that bad of parents? (1)

phateth (1653237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257202)

Going by the current average age of gamers (30) I don't see why there should be Refused content, for instance with the gaming aspect if the games were rated it can follow a similar stance with movies, you're a parent you don't think blowing up zombies with large rockets or brutally murdering people with plastic bags is something that you want yours kids to see/play here's a tip: Take some god damn initiative and exercise your parenting skills - Don't buy them the game or let them play it for that matter, it's truly becoming sad when it becomes apparent over time that we're just becomming so totalitarian we have to be told where to smoke, what to watch/view, what to read and what we can play i think it's safe to guarantee we give them an inch they will take the whole mile (Giving it back to us 6inches at a time over a table)

Not gonna happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257352)

For $5 a month I can setup a virtual server in Germany with a VPN to it, running squid and a monthly quota of 350 gigs (which I can tell you is many times my Australian data quota) and do all my Kotaku web surfing through it.

That shows how stupid the mandatory Internet censorship is.

Now all I need to do is package it as a service for the point-and-click crowd :-)

What if the site is using SSL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31257394)

I'm just wondering how they intend to blacklist part of a website that is using SSL to encrypt its pages. Do they have some magical power they can use to interfere with the traffic? I know governments do sometimes... but I somehow doubt this is the case here.

Re:What if the site is using SSL? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258042)

They'll just blacklist the whole site, more likely the domain name.

Australia "Opt-OUT" internet. (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#31257510)

It seems australia is "opt-out" of the new technology know has Internet.

I myself would not stop posting comments about any game, even indie games that will never be "validated" by these people. You can't adapt internet to your laws, australia, you must addapt your laws to internet, since Internet is a global thing, and can't be modified by the will a single ( and maybe all ) countrys.

Wait this can't SERIOUSLY pass through? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31258126)

I thought Freedom of Expression was part of the Human Rights Convention?

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/ukpga_19980042_en_1

Section 12

China called (1)

harl (84412) | more than 4 years ago | (#31258484)

China called. They'd like to compare notes on internet filtering.

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