Monday, June 29, 2009

Is Australia becomming the new China?

Hey all,

It has been circling in the news for a while now, but I haven't had the time yet to comment about it, I am talking about censorship and content blocking here.

Australia apparently already had an internet filter which they now want to use to filter out all game downloads and online games that are not suited for 15 year olds, this in addition to all the websites already blocked ... so if you are a 30 year old wanting to have some fun in a game like Age of Conan, Second Life, or even World of Warcraft, you may be out of luck in the near future.

Now many MMO's may be able to get rated and found suitable for 15 year olds ( EVE Online is rated and allowed ). The main problem here is that there is no 18+ classification for video games in Australia ( there is one for Films though, I mean wtf? ), so if it is material not suited for a 15 year old, you are out of luck.

In the past there have been occasions that the Classification Board themselves had advised that MMO's do not have to get classified, and it was unwritten knowledge for MMO developers and publishers that you did not need to classify your MMO in Australia.

They were wrong however, and soon many MMO players may find this out the hard way when the new filter starts blocking everything.

But it gets even crazier and I quote : "The list of what is actually blocked and why it is blocked is to be kept secret from the public (though in March a version was leaked to Wikileaks, which is now itself on the blocklist)." That is nuts; you can expect something like that from China or Turkey, but from Australia? I am so glad I live in Belgium! I do not consider Australia a free democracy anymore, but rather a police state with no freedom of speech.

And it goes even further :
"Currently nine ISPs are trialing the network-filtering plan until next month, which has already proven to block some quite unexpected things: "Alongside child porn, bestiality, rape and extreme violence sites, the list also includes a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist. Other Australian sites on the list are ("Tuckshop and Canteen Management Consultants") and animal carers The dentist, Dr John Golbrani, was furious when contacted to inform him that his site,, appeared on the blacklist." – Sydney Morning Herald "

Can you believe that?

I hope the Aussie gamers, internet users and the rest of the people there start some serious protesting and don't go down silently. For what it’s worth, I got your back!

Here some links on the story :

1 comment:

  1. Australia is a nanny state, they want to ban everything here because it's bad for all the children apparently. It's not enough for parents to have a filter installed on their home computers, they have to ban everything for people without kids too. It's really infuriating, and ridiculous. What kind of western country does this sort of shit.

    What's worse is that you NEVER hear any news about this. They're trying to keep it as silent as possible because they KNOW that people will be outraged. I've read that, from phone surveys, less than 5% of people want this filter (and the few that do are probably people that never use the internet). You only hear about this stuff from other people or articles on the internet. Never the news paper, or the TV (yet useless crap manages to find its way into the news all the time, like the latest reality TV show). It's fucked up. And they won't even let us see what sites are banned?

    But yeah. The censorship here is ridiculous.

    If they actually go through with this I'm moving to Europe. (Aside from the freedom of speech problem, the filter will have a big impact on the speed of our Internet... And we've got a crappy outdated network as it is, on top of being over 10,000km away from most servers we will connect to).