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Censorship Entertainment Games Your Rights Online

Australian Web Filter To Censor Downloaded Games 200

Xiroth writes "The Australian Federal Communications Ministry has confirmed that they intend to use the planned filter to block the download of games that have been refused by Australia's classification authority, the OFLC. As an Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesman noted, 'This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping.'"
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Australian Web Filter To Censor Downloaded Games

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  • Unclassified games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:09PM (#28470335)

    My understanding is a LOT of games don't get classifications out there.
    Filtering them out so you can't get them at all is horrible as the content isn't necessarily bad (and if it is they shouldn't be the ones judging if someone of age should be able to play them).

    What's that? It's just a file so it could be *gasp* encrypted and bypass said filter?

    OFLC: Yeah, good luck with that.

  • by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:15PM (#28470427)

    Will they be blocking violent movies too? What about violent books and song lyrics?

    I don't doubt this will have an effect. Instead of 15-20 year olds playing violent games occasionally, they will now find them incredibly cool, and go to great lengths to play them. They won't have much trouble unless Australia figures out how to block torrents and eBay too. Even that wouldn't stop anyone.

  • Can You Hear Me Now? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:23PM (#28470515) Homepage Journal
    I'm just a bit curious here, can someone in-the-know highlight the internet policy differences between Iran, China and Australia? I'd think a side-by-side comparison of policy features would be really neat.
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:51PM (#28470889)
    Exactly, this is like when the filter at work started blocking legitimate (if not time wasting) sites (Facebook, YouTube, etc) so what did people do? They got proxies, however unlike Facebook and YouTube one of these proxies that someone used wasn't exactly virus-free so their system got a virus because of the blocking.
  • Steam ? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moon3 ( 1530265 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @03:55PM (#28470987)
    Does this somehow extend to Steam games? Steam uses some different TCP/IP port to funnel its content, I believe, so the old trusty Aussie web filter censoring software might not be able to catch those. (haha)
  • by Orion Blastar ( 457579 ) <orionblastar&gmail,com> on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:19PM (#28471437) Homepage Journal

    This is the same problem with Cable and Satellite TV filters. Most of the movies and TV shows are unrated and setting the V-Chip or whatever filters for PG-13 and under will also filter out unrated shows and movies.

    When you block something to keep the children away from it in this way, it also blocks adults from getting the games as well. Just like blocking TV shows and Movies will prevent an adult from seeing them. But you have to enter the four digit code on TV devices to bypass the filter, and kids are smart enough to watch the adults enter the four digits and then use it to bypass the filters.

    Sure you could bypass the filters on the Internet by using a DNS server or servers from another country like the UK or USA so that they cannot block it by DNS access. You could also use Tor or some other proxy to bypass the filters. I am sure that the Australian Teenage kids are smart enough to do stuff like that to bypass the filters. It is just like the Youtube system to see adult rated videos, enter your birthdate and for the year instead of entering your own year use the birth year that Mommy or Daddy has and you'll get adult access. That sort of filter system is stupid and can easily be gotten around even by teenagers and young kids.

  • Flood them. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jaysyn ( 203771 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @04:26PM (#28471571) Homepage Journal

    We need to submit to them *every single* game on the internet whether it be OSS, Flash, MMOG, Steam / Impulse, Forum based (MySpace & Facebook games) or play by email. Everything. Let them choke on their own stupidity.

  • Re:Refused? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @06:00PM (#28473231) Journal

    But it still puzzles me that the AU people, which I've always considered as easygoing and enlightened, accept this level of government "protectionism".

    We don't. We're not happy about it and we're making our opinions known. The minister in charge (Stephen Conroy [dbcde.gov.au] is dismissing our objections. Come election time, he will discover this relationship is transitive.

  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Thursday June 25, 2009 @11:00PM (#28476737)


    China: Comprehensive, active and ongoing censorship of many non-Chinese websites. Filter able to be changed rapidly in response to current events.

    Iran: As above, but not as comprehensive or as sophisticated as China.

    Australia: No internet censorship at the moment.

    What Slashdot always fails to mention in these fear-mongering articles is that this filter is simply something that is being PROPOSED by a minority of politicians, mostly to appease promises they made during the last election to various conservative and Christian groups. It does not actually exist (yet).

    Then of course you have the Americans coming in with comments like "OMG Australia is falling apart, what a shithole of a country", without realising that this is all just a proposal in one or two senators' deranged heads and doesn't exist. And knowing how things to in Australian politics, it is very unlikely to ever get approved by the wider Parliament and become law. There are a few reasons for this:

    1. Massive public unpopularity. Most Australians don't want this. They aren't anti-censorship per se, but they sure are anti "anything-that-is-gonna-make-my-internets-slow-down". Trials have shown that this filter will substantially slow down access.

    2. Most people, even politicians, understand that trying to censor the internet is virtually impossible (VPNs, encryption, plus the simple fact that websites can be changed, started up, shut down and moved around far quicker than any static list of sites could keep up with). So this would simply be a waste of money, and wasteful spending is not something the government wants to be seen to be doing in the current economic climate.

    3. Comparisons with China, Iran et al. Just mentioning this is a pretty good way of turning someone against the filter pretty quickly.

    Anyway so executive summary: there is no internet filtering in Australia currently. There is a (rather unpopular) proposal to implement some which I would give a good chance of never coming to fruition.

    Slashdot needs to keep reporting on these stories ... I find the idea of this filter as abhorrent as any of you ... but it needs to acknowledge or make clearer that this filter doesn't actually exist. It's just an idea at this stage.

  • Re:No Route Possible (Score:0, Interesting)

    by JockTroll ( 996521 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:04AM (#28477649)

    Exactly. That kind of shite happens because, hear hear, people are generally so dumb that they always want to ban what they don't personally like. Those who want to restrict freedom in order to have an illusory, subjective feeling of "security" are all in the same camp while those who fight for their own liberties are fragmented in a thousand camps and do not have the wits to band together since it's pretty much the same battle. No wonder we're heading towards gulagland.

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