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Australia Censorship Iphone Games

Australia Considering iPhone App Censorship 284

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-apps-mate dept.
srjh 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."
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Australia Considering iPhone App Censorship

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  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:36AM (#33298192)

    Fuck you, Australia

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In more civilized nations, we have no problem with children using extreme language in extreme situations.

      the problem arises when the children think it's fun/cool to use that language everywhere.
      This is where parents should do something, not when government should.

      the same arguments could be used against most things censored.

      • by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:45AM (#33298232)

        This is where parents should do something, not when government should.

        Exactly! This is all about lazy parents trying to absolve themselves of the responsibility of raising children.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by migla (1099771)

        In more civilized nations, we have no problem with children using extreme language in extreme situations.

        the problem arises when the children think it's fun/cool to use that language everywhere.
        This is where parents should do something, not when government should.

        What is the problem with that? Sure it can be an annoyance, but I'm not sure it would qualify as a real "problem". If kids want to fit in under some circumstances, they won't use extreme language, if that is improper. If they don't care about fitti

    • by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:43AM (#33298220)
      As an Australian i'd like to redirect that slightly to 'Fuck you Australian Government'. I can't believe we have such idiots thinking that their 'filter' will censor the net...idiots that have no knowledge of P2P, Usenet, IRC, Anon Proxies, Tor, etc... Their focus has been on child porn and yes this may stop Joe Moron Pervert from going to childporn.com, but are the sorts of people interested in such material really that stupid anyway?
      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        This has nothing to do with child pornography. We have already totally debunked the governments claims that the filter is intended to block child pornography. Wikileaks even has one of the blacklists.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          This has nothing to do with child pornography.

          It's the same bunch of idiots with the same moronic spiel.

      • by interval1066 (668936) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:25PM (#33304866) Homepage Journal
        I've been frequently surprised by the Australian Govs at time puritanical, at times "Big Brother" attitude with new technology and its social impact. I've spent time with Aussies in Japan, mostly meeting them at bars and they seemed to be quite good folk. Then I hear about this stuff and I have to ask "Are these really the same people?"
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hashi Lebwohl (997157)
          Please don't confuse us with our politicians - I have no idea where they come from, but it's certainly not the real world!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by wall0159 (881759)

        This is the iPhone we're talking about, right? What's the use of downloading apps from IRC if you can't install them?

    • by EvilIdler (21087)

      That's how I tagged this article.

    • by sthomas (132075)

      No Left 4 Dead 2? When the zombie apocalypse comes, I expect Australia to be totally wiped out. It will serve them right, too!

      • by beav007 (746004)
        We ended up getting an edited version of it. Woo.

        This just in: Australian Government stupid. News at 11...
    • by thegarbz (1787294)
      You get the rating ... MA15+

      Sorry but Australians are much like Americans. We can swear at each other as much as we want. We can shoot each other in the face, but for the love of god don't show any tits.
    • by vlad30 (44644)
      No F U Labor Party who proposes this internet censorship and other F Upped policies without any thought to consequences other than how much money can it raise. These guys think like **AA types (they really love getting on TV with artists supplied by labels) where 200,000 apps means they will get 200,000 applications for classification avg $1000 makes $200,0000,000 but when reality bites most apps will be removed from the market in AU resulting in very little for classification and less TAX revenue from pr
  • Good grief! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:45AM (#33298230)
    What is with the Australians? This is just the latest in a long line of this sort of shit. Is this really what the average Australian wants? Surely the Assie public is not this stupid? They do elect their politicians, don't they?
    • Re:Good grief! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jessejackson100 (1881962) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:53AM (#33298270)

      Oh we elect them alright. The problem is neither of the major parties has a full set of policies that don't suck.

      - Vote Labour and there will be Internet Filtering for all!
      - Vote Liberal and we no longer get the promised high speed broadband network, because apparently 'wireless is the future'.

      EPIC FAIL either way...

      • by Techman83 (949264)
        There is a choice, don't vote for the major parties - Vote Green - No Filter and Support the NBN
        • There is a choice, don't vote for the major parties...

          Here in the USA, voting outside the Democratic Party by liberals bought George W. Bush four more years.

    • Re:Good grief! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:56AM (#33298280)

      What is with the Australians? This is just the latest in a long line of this sort of shit. Is this really what the average Australian wants? Surely the Assie public is not this stupid? They do elect their politicians, don't they?

      Thank god we have an election coming up in the next couple of days and neither liberal nor labor are looking to be clear winners but it looks like the greens are most certainly going to dominate in the senate so these censorship bills are going to get a serious beatdown very soon! Hopefully we won't have to deal with any of this shit ever being implemented.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SJ2000 (1128057)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is this really what the average Australian wants?

      Of course not, and it's not what will actually happen either. There's a snowball's chance in hell that the government will form a new body to review hundreds of thousands of applications, and if they tried to lock out the app store altogether... they'd be booted at the next election. This is a publicity stunt that will lead to nothing. There are 2 parties in Australia . .. Liberal & Labour. Labour just ousted their leader, meaning that the new *female* leader (a first for Australia) is ahead in the poll

      • by deniable (76198)

        It's an election stunt, slashdot has officially been trolled by the Australian government.

        I now understand Conroy. Nobody could be that stupid. I think my head's going to explode.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by delinear (991444)

        There's a snowball's chance in hell that the government will form a new body to review hundreds of thousands of applications, and if they tried to lock out the app store altogether...

        Isn't that the point of the administration fee - to pay for someone else to review the app? As for them being kicked out if they tried to lock out the app store, well they're not suggesting anything they don't already do with traditional (and much bigger) game markets. If that's not sufficient to generate enough uproar to get the law overturned, what makes you think smart phone owners will have any more impact?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by slackarse (875650) *

      This is not what the average Aussie wants. There was a petition that set the record http://bit.ly/aJuLUO [bit.ly] in Australia for the most number of supporters, for anything, ever! There was also a public debate http://bit.ly/cts8kl [bit.ly] showed 98.2% support for a higher rating from over 60,000 submissions.

      The current government may well be voted out this week, but the problem is, the state attorney generals decide classification guidelines http://www.ag.gov.au/www/agd/agd.nsf/Page/Classification_policy [ag.gov.au]. And if only one

    • No. Just like the rest of the democratic world, we are allowed to choose which fox we want to let in the hen-house for the next term of office. They've spent the last couple of centuries creating a two-party system with a false dichotomy, so no matter who you vote for, nothing changes.

    • That's the issue with representative democracy, party politics and lobbying.

      Suppose 33% of the voters support A, 30% support B, 20% support C and 17% support D
      Furthermore, suppose that unrelated to this general policy choice, 90% of the voters support X.

      Now, suppose that the 10% that would lose when a policy favoring X would be in place, are actually rich enough to lobby parties A, B, C, and for all it matters don't bother lobbying D. For all it matters, party D can even find a niche in actively defending X

      • What's your alternative? Direct Democracy? Watch California for how much of a clusterfuck that can be. Some form of oligarchy? Read about the french revolution for the clusterfuck that that was. Monarchy? Benevolent dictator? Really, I'm all ears. I know how much Democracy sucks, but as Churchill (?) said - it's the worst political system there is, except for all the others. I'd love to hear a good alternative.

        • Did I propose any system that was better? Churchill was pretty much spot on.

          But if you want a direct democracy that works, forget about Cali and go to Switzerland.

    • Re:Good grief! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @03:48AM (#33298526)

      What is with the Americans? PATRIOT, revocation of habeus corpus, free speech zones, a prison population 5-10 times that of *any* other western nation... even 2257? Is this really what the average American wants? Surely the Yank public is not this stupid? They do elect their politicians, don't they?

      Or we could go across the pond to where it's the House of Lords, of all things, that is standing up for human rights by beating down unprinicipled legislation submitted by the House of Commons.

      Yeah, it's all "those crazy people in Australia". No-one else has whackos. At least our major politicians don't have to mention God in every. damned. speech. Next time you see any quality of life measure, have a look to see which nation is usually nestled under the Scandanavian countries which top the list - it's not the US, nor the UK. But no, you go dwell happily in your caricature that we're weird and repressed.

      • What is with the Americans? PATRIOT, revocation of habeus corpus, free speech zones, a prison population 5-10 times that of *any* other western nation... even 2257? Is this really what the average American wants? Surely the Yank public is not this stupid? They do elect their politicians, don't they?

        Yeah, well... Umm... At least we have the most violent video games available without much real restrictions... Most Americans don't know how to say "habeus corpus", let alone what it means... But *BY GOD* we have Grand Theft Auto with fucking HOOKERS and MACHINE GUNS...

    • I recently spent about 6 months in Australia, after having spent months in the US, a couple years in the UK, France, but also time in the Ukraine, Belgium, the Netherlands, and so on.

      By far, Australia has one of the most "nanny-state" governments around. Maybe I just visited at a wrong time, maybe the politicians were really trying to make an impression or something, but good grief. This being said, in my experience, what the politicians are trying to do doesn't really reflect the view of most medium-class

      • By far, Australia has one of the most "nanny-state" governments around.

        Sorry you had to watch our TV. I don't. Can you give me some specific examples to back up your assertion?

    • What is with the Australians

      I suspect that, on average, Australia is a lot less prudish than (for example) the USA. Our national broadcaster's "Youth radio station [abc.net.au]" for example frequently plays songs with swear words in them, including "fuck", though I think "cunt" is still "out of bounds [wikipedia.org]" despite some more recent attempts and discussion [smh.com.au].

      As for why some parts of our government occasionally seem to get on their high horse, this song from last nights TV probably explains it best [youtube.com].

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      Is this really what the average Australian wants? Surely the Assie public is not this stupid?

      No and no. The problem is that just like in any other western democracy internet issues tend to be more of a sideshow. People focus on the economy, healthcare and education. This allows fuckwit politicians to sneak in these laws once elected.

      Still, even though Labor's likely to win the election this week, there'll be a big swing to the Greens. Add that to the fact that the Liberals (conservatives) have said they'll

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ultranova (717540)

      What is with the Australians?

      Australia is a penal colony the British Empire shipped its worst troublemakers to - you know, the people who even the American Puritans refused to take. When a maximum security prison is run by the inmates, what do you expect - justice?

      Australian Government - By the Criminals, For the Criminals!

    • With an election coming up, the Labor party is likely to win a second term, but is unlikely to win by a large margin. Since Labor is directing preferences to the greens (who will oppose the suggested legislation), Labor can safely curry favor with the sort of people who support censorship without the risk of having to follow through. All they have to do after the election is blame the Greens when they are unable to keep their promise.

      What's even better is that since most opponents of censorship are more l

  • regulatory capture (Score:5, Insightful)

    by advocate_one (662832) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @02:49AM (#33298254)
    a fine example of it as only the big boys can absorb the costs and this effectively closes the market on their smaller competitors.
    • That $2040 classification cost is really cutting into your profits, eh? Really, $2040 will employ a single developer for two weeks or so. The only ones who can't absorb that cost are people doing work for free, and they don't need to worry about the ratings because they aren't selling stuff.

      No, this isn't regulatory capture by competitors, if you've been paying attention, Australia's been having problems with censorship for several years now. Somehow the religious faction has gotten a strong hold on part
  • So the aristocratic pompous short sighted pricks who used to run the penal colony have ancestors who set the laws still? You'd think for such a drunken cavalier society (no offense just my observations whenever I was there) that the gov't would either wise up or get tossed on it's collective ass.
    • by Vegeta99 (219501)

      Your signature so succinctly shows how we ended up with Australia as a country to begin with.

    • by _merlin (160982)

      Obviously the average Aussie is too drunk and/or lazy to actually to anything about it.

  • What's the point? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Netshroud (1856624)
    Aside from the government making money. Applications that get classified as RC wouldn't be affected by any of the RC restrictions. The biggest restriction is that RC material cannot be sold in brick and mortar stores. iOS Apps aren't.
  • by nickd (58841) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @03:03AM (#33298322)

    Basically:

    If the liberals/nationals coalition gets in, we are all kinds of fucked (they have become the religious extreme with their preferences going straight to the Christian Democratic Party and Family First after themselves)
    If labor gets in again - we get the only visionary policy any of the politicians have to offer - the National Broadband Network, but they saddle it with filtering, censorship and the lack of an R+18 classification for games.
    So the only decent vote left is the Australian Sex Party - which is a civil libertarian group who are anti-censorship, pro same sex marriage and also want to remove the tax exempt status for religious organisations.

    Next election we will hopefully have the Australian Pirate party fully formed to be able to run a candidate.

    This election is really a case of trying to pick a candidate that is the least awful.
    Ugh

    • by exomondo (1725132)
      Vote Greens! That means we get Labor as the government but we also get the Greens smacking down the censorship policies in the senate!
    • by giorgist (1208992)
      Nobody cares in these elections,
      so the only chance the politicians have to get any votes is to peddle to the few % of extreemist that do. It is the tragedy of democracy ... when things go well, the nutjobs get power

      G
    • by deniable (76198)
      That's the problem with the NBN, it's visionary. When will I get it? Nobody knows, but it's not this year.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      I think the filter is dead because it will no longer pull in the "think of the children" vote. Pressure groups have woken up to the situation where hiding the stuff is not going to save any children from being abused.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      This election is really a case of trying to pick a candidate that is the least awful

      C'mon its always like that.

  • Relax people (Score:3, Insightful)

    by giorgist (1208992) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @03:13AM (#33298378)
    This is growing up pains ...
    None of all these things have come to pass.
    They come up with them, the realise they don't work, and they let them go.
    No better way to learn, it is the process of making laws.

    What is an iPhone app ? They only reason they are attacking, is because they are contained by apple.
    What next, webapps ? Android and HTML5 and FLASH will make them indistinguishable to a normal app.

    I would much rather they try and get it out of their system, than winge for ever ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      uh huh. Tell that to Blizzard.. they were delivering unclassified games through Steam and got the same smackdown from the Australian government. It's literally about keeping the fees running into the classification board. You think they aint gunna go after every possible source of income?

  • So does this mean that the Oz immigration people will, when looking for drugs/...., also search your iPhone to see if you are bringing in an unclassified game ?

    Will that also apply to someone bringing in a Linux install CD that may have some games [ubuntu.com] on it ?

    Fun and games at Oz airports!

    • by deniable (76198)
      They're already checking laptops and they are supposed to stop certain material, so possibly yes. They don't do domestic, so just fly to Canberra or Darwin (or anywhere else that ends in Territory) and buy up big.
    • by srjh (1316705) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @04:50AM (#33298800)

      You might be joking, but they are already doing it for pornography [smh.com.au].

      Along with the standard "did you spend time in agricultural regions" and "are you carrying more than $10,000 cash" is a question about whether travellers are carrying pornography. Not just child porn or videos intended for redistribution in the country, but any porn whatsoever, including your honeymoon snaps. Privacy isn't really something that is taken quite seriously by successive Australian governments. The one we end up with on Saturday won't be any different, regardless of who wins, but at least it looks likely the Greens will hold the balance of power and keep whoever wins accountable.

    • by tehcyder (746570) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @07:50AM (#33299644) Journal

      Fun and games at Oz airports!

      Oz immigration officer: Do you have any criminal convictions?

      Brit wit: No, I didn't realise they were still necessary entry requirements.

  • When society creates too much government, it has nowhere to go but down. The economy will have nowhere to go but down.

    It's because there are too many people, who become leeches on society, they are unproductive, they don't do anything useful and they start coming up with justifications for their own existence and leeching, they don't do anything useful anymore, they are just parasites.

    Government is a parasite of society - produces nothing, takes away everything it possibly can.

  • Isn't this what the App Store is for?
  • iPhone users in Oz will just jailbreak and pirate. (Android users just need to tick a box in a menu, then pirate) This has far wider impact on Apple's App Store business model than just a few devs who abandon the Aussie market.
  • by rsilva (128737) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @06:48AM (#33299304) Homepage

    Brazil has the same rules since the start, hence in Brazil the appStore does not carry any games.

    What people do here is to have accounts in other countries, usually Argentina. Then the country looses the taxes...
    Since taxes are outrageously high for video games in Brazil, this is probably better for the costumers here.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:00AM (#33299700)
    Australian government soon to ban all forms of evil sorcery, including phones, television and the telegraph. Story at 6 on smoke signals and tam-tams.
  • Mick Dundee wept (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paiute (550198) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @08:32AM (#33299910)

    How did Australia devolve from the cool tough guys of Gallipoli/"That's not a knife" to this bunch of pussies?

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