Archive for December, 2009

The First Link is forged.

It would seem that while gamers this week were celebrating the news of the Discussion Paper for an R-18+ rating, we have been sucker-punched. On the same day that the Discussion Paper’s existence was made public knowledge on broadcast media, Federal Communications Minister and right royal pain in my backside, Stephen Conroy announced that the ill-fated and otherwise despised Mandatory Internet Filter will proceed, despite the fact that no word about it had existed for nearly 3 months.

Stephen Conroy hoped that the news of the filter would pass unnoticed, with those who would oppose it distracted by the previously mentioned news, unfortunately several blogs, including this one, picked up the story almost as soon as it broke; granted yes I had to hear it from four separate people before I took it seriously, but then, from the reactions a number of my colleagues made when I told them, I am not surprised. Following what could only be called uniform opposition to this, it was any wonder that anyone took news of its proposals green lighting, makes the Mandatory Internet Filter, easily the most despised and unpopular piece of legislation, to make a comparison, the Work Choices of the Labour Party, I had not expected to ever hear anything about this, that Conroy would do the smart move and sweep this under the rug and forget about it.

Then I remembered he was a politician and disregarded my previous statement.

If the Mandatory Internet Filter makes it through the Senate, and with some Political bargaining there is a frightening chance that it might; following the Green light by the Government on Wednesday, it would be fully operational by June 2010 with all ISP’s forced to comply by that point, however it would start cleaning the internet by February the same year.
While Conroy retracted comments made in previous announcements, that the Filter would ‘block content deemed inappropriate by the Government’ he maintained his stance that the Internet filter would not impede users, and that it was 100% accurate. No this does not seem to be the same responses by many of the nine ISP’s that participated in the trial, many of which stating that the trial in itself was designed to succeed.

At this point the Mandatory Internet Filter was tested under current industry standards, and was not extensive enough, in that it did not have enough participants to be an accurate measure of the Filters effectiveness, especially considering the Governments famed National Broadband Network, which supposedly plans to offer 100Mb speeds, a standard no where near what was tested.  Experts in the field, who from day one stated that the filter would not work at existing levels, and at the levels the NBN would provide, it would negate any benefits the new system would provide.

From the onset there were companies that stood against the Filter, in recent weeks, those Internet service providers, have come to disappoint those who where turning to them, with both Telstra and IInet coming out in support of the Filter, completely backtracking all their previous statements; while I have had no faith in Telstra for as long as I can remember, IINet’s back flip gave an air of ‘we’re being coerced or bullied into doing this,’ especially considering the icy relationship between IInet and Conroy.

Unfortunately aside from continuing in campaigns to address this issue, and contacting your local member, there is little more that can be done to stop this from being put before the Senate, except to hope and prey that the Senate rejects the proposal outright.
In the interim however, technocrats in Australia have turned to ‘censoring’ themselves on Social Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and all readers of the DocNetwork are encouraged to do likewise.

Take the below image and put it on top of avatars, display pictures and profile images like so, to raise awareness and hopefully gain opposition to the Mandatory Internet Filter

censored docwinterscensored

As always we will continue to monitor this, and bring you our dear readers, the news, no matter how bad it hurts

Discussion Paper for an R-18+ Category for Games

Sorry for the extended delay but I have been busy working on various topics and assignments, as governed by the fact that I have decided to return to school for a Nursing Degree. In the meantime I have created a list of articles that will be released in the coming months, spanning back to the Zombie Walk.

However instead of releasing one of the many reviews I have, or a commentary about either the New South Wales Bushfire Season or the fact that the OFLC has banned yet another game, (and one I was actually looking forward to this time); I have come back from semi-sabbatical to bring to light a topic that has me chomping at the bit to respond. 

It has been brought to my attention by Trapper, one of my many reliable sources from north of the Border, that the Australian Federal Government has just, and I mean in the last 3 days, released for public consultation, a Discussion Paper for the addition of an R-18+ rating for Games. Meaning that it has finally happened, that the Attorney Generals have finally started to take this issue seriously.

The DocNetwork as an Organization for a Free and Uncensored Internet, as well as a proud supporter for an R-18+ rating will be joining the ranks of other Australian Bloggers in sending a submission for Public Consultation, as well as possibly submitting the personal opinions of my writers and staff and I humbly request that all my readers to likewise.

For more information, I encourage you to go to the home of this consultation http://www.ag.gov.au/gamesclassification. At this site you will be asked the following question

Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R 18+ classification category for computer games?

As a rule they have asked that submissions be succinct and to the point, so this is not an opportunity to take shots at certain South Australian Attorney Generals, nor is it to go on lengthy tirades about other Government policies that you may not be happy with. As this is not the first time I have submitted reports to the Federal Government, as a rule, don’t submit anything under 500 words, any less than that and it is doubtful you will be read, if readers are concerned that their submission would not pass muster, you are more than welcome to send it to me at doc_winters@live.com and I will look over it for you.

All I can say is that we have done it, by releasing the hefty jargon filled 16 page Discussion paper for Public review, means that they have finally realised that it should not be up to some crotchety old men to decide who mature adults spend their spare time.

Good luck, and I hope this means a better future for us, as Alien vs. Predator the game was Refused Classification, with the developers refusing to sanitize it, stating this is a game for adults, which is probably the reason why this whole turn of events has taken place.