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Report: Australia To Block Web Access To 'Mature' Games

The Australian federal government plans to block internet access to websites pertaining to video games not rated MA15+ or below -- both those that sell games and those that host browser-based games.
The Australian federal government plans to block internet access to sites pertaining to video games not rated MA15+ or below, according to a report by Melbourne's The Age. The country's lack of a video game rating that applies to games with content aimed at those 18 years of age or older -- which does exist in Australian film ratings as R18+ -- has long been a frustration for video game publishers. Games that would fall into that hypothetical category are currently denied classification and barred from sale at retail, effectively banning them. Under the new internet filtering, detailed by communications minister Stephen Conroy (pictured right) it could also become impossible to obtain such games -- labeled "RC," for "refused classification" -- through online means. According The Age, the filtering could apply to sites that have unclassified games for sale, for download, or playable in a browser. Specifically, a representative for Conroy made reference to "computer games such as web-based Flash games and downloadable games, if a complaint is received and the content is determined by ACMA to be Refused Classification," as well as "the importation of physical copies of computer games sold over the internet which have been classified RC." The announcement has prompted frustrated responses by both the game and internet industries in Australia. Colin Jacobs of Electronic Frontiers Australia told The Age, "This is confirmation that the scope of the mandatory censorship scheme will keep on creeping." Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, pointed to the move as more evidence that the lack of an R18+ rating for games is "unacceptable." In related news, the UK's Internet Service Providers' Association has nominated Conroy for its annual Internet Villain award.

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