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srjh (1316705) writes "Having raised concerns about "the classification of games playable on mobile telephones", the Australian government has now "put the wheels in motion to address this". Under current Australian legislation, video games sold in the country must pay between $470 and $2040 to have the game classified, and due to the lack of an 18+ rating in Australia, if it is not found to be suitable for a 15-year-old, it is banned outright. This is the fate met by several recent titles, such as Left 4 Dead 2 and Fallout 3. Over 200,000 applications are available for the iPhone, many of them games, and developers have raised concerns about the prohibitive costs involved, with many announcing an intention to drop the Australian market altogether if the plan proceeds. However the current loophole constitutes a loss of millions of dollars in revenue for the government, which is currently attempting to have "refused classification" content such as banned video games blocked at an ISP level." Link to Original Source top
srjh writes "Regular slashdot readers should by now be aware of Australia'stoughinternetcensorshippolicies, however a bizarre decision (free registration required) by the federal censorship authority ACMA outlines how restrictive they actually are. Keen observers have realised that one category of prohibited content — MA15+ (legally sold to 15-year-olds) material which "provides audio or video content upon payment of a fee and that is not subject to a restricted access system" applies to Apple's iTunes service due to the availability of movies such as the cited example "V for Vendetta". While allowed to continue movie sales, iTunes has been ordered to remove the "gift" functionality for Australians even if both users are legally considered adults and the film is rated for general release. A similar investigation into online rental service Bigpond Movies for offering "Pulp Fiction" was only terminated because the film was voluntarily withdrawn by Bigpond. Ironically, the "payment of a fee" requirement exempts unauthorised downloads from free torrent sites and while Australians may no longer give each other digital copies of Finding Nemo, graphic photos of a masturbating man and a forearm disappearing into another man's anus have just been approved as PG-rated content by ACMA (safe for work, but linked photos on page certainly not)." Link to Original Source top
srjh (1316705) writes "In the Australian Federal Government's latest assault on the internet, draft legislation has been released that allows network operators to intercept communications to ensure that their networks are being "appropriately used". Such legislation is particularly important given the interference of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in a recent copyright lawsuit against iiNet, one of the largest ISPs in the country. Conroy called prominent filtering opponent iiNet's inaction over copyright infringement "stunning", whereas iiNet claimed that it would be illegal under current Australian law to intercept its users' downloads. While this latest legislation appears to be a concession of that point, the government is said to be watching the case closely and along with attempts to introduce a three-strikes law in Australia, it appears the law will be changed if the government dislikes the outcome of the case. The internet villain of the year just continues to earn his title." Link to Original Source top
srjh (1316705) writes "The ever-expanding scope of Australia's soon-to-be-implemented mandatory internet filter has taken yet another alarming turn — online game content such as flash games and downloadable games which are found to be unsuitable for 15-year-olds will be added to the government blacklist and blocked for all Australians at the ISP-level. Also targeted will be "sites which sell physical copies of games that do not meet the MA15+ standard", which presumably includes eBay.com. Since Australia is the only developed country not to have an 18+ rating for games, any games that do not meet the MA15+ standard are banned outright. Originally aimed at content such as child pornography, when leaked in March, the blacklist was also found to contain sites on euthanasia, abortion, online poker and gambling, as well as a considerable volume of pornography featuring only consenting adults (such as RedTube)." Link to Original Source