Posts Tagged ‘ Australia ’

Do you have any porn to declare???

I first heard of this story on CNET’s Buzz Out Loud podcast, episode 1232 this morning, but for some reason, it did not actually make the Australian news vendors until this evening. An interesting thing considering that it originated here, but it would seem that in a rather sneaky move Australian Customs and Border Protection staff have been granted permission to ask passengers coming into Australia whether they possess pornography in their luggage or on their person.

Changes to customs declarations have changed the first question from “Do you possess Objectionable Content” (god I hate that term) to “Do you possess Pornography.”
Now I’m not the first person today who has read this and wondered, what the hell? From as far as I can tell no other country is this conservative, in that they are simply asking travellers if they possess pornography, and if they tick yes, then Customs have every right to go through your bag, and check your laptop and mobile for pornography.

One of the biggest problems of this whole thing, aside from being completely ambiguous and yet, completely expected from this government, is that it does not actually specify what qualifies as pornography, the presenters of Buzz Out Loud, joke about it on their show that what one person qualifies as pornography, is completely harmless to another and vice versa. While it is obvious that it is another attempt to stop that elusive kiddie porn, and bestiality, but doesn’t actually state on the card that is what they are looking for.

One large argument against this move is that they do no stipulate what actually qualifies as pornographic; so that means every scantily clad mirror shot, or photo taken of your partner in some exotic location, or even a sext promising a late night romp, to simple photos of your infant in the bathtub could potentially wind you up in jail.

While the opposition to this change is almost unanimous, with the general consensus is that this is an invasion of privacy, one must really look at this government with their history of trying to sanitize the internet of pornography, this act isn’t really expected from them. Unfortunately the biggest problem to come out of this thing, is that we had to find out about it, after it came out… not before.

While the Federal Home Affairs Minister, Mr Brendan O’Connor continues to profess that this was in the nations best interest, and the reference to pornography was deliberate, as people ‘understood the meaning of the word’ over the word that it replaced, unfortunately, one problem I can find with this, well aside from just another pieces of evidence to support the claim that this government has lost the plot. is that Objectionable Content, doesn’t just restrict itself to pornography.

A number of people I have spoken about this to, have wondered just how exactly this kind of thing could be enforced, or even investigated considering that nearly every male will have on their phone, a picture or video of something that could be considered pornographic, or will have a ‘lads mag’ in their carry on, purchased from the airport newsagent. And to those lasses who photograph themselves in the mirror, is it pornographic if the photo’s are of yourself?
Buzz Out Loud, once more suggested that in protest that everyone coming to Australia should declare they have pornography; unfortunately those lines are already full of people that already do.

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So how far is too far?

I just received a message from one of my media sources, an employee of gaming retailer EB Games. It was blunt, but it stated that yet another highly anticipated video game has been banned from sale in Australia. It can be confirmed that, Left4Dead 2, survival horror sequel to the highly praised Left4Dead will not be available for sale in Australia, and there is only one man that can be blamed for this. For once, it is not Stephen Conroy.

While it may not be the deluded Conroy, it is a man as bad, if not worse, in fact, many have gone as far to compare the two men, he is of course, South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson. Anyone who is a serious gamer, would be well aware of this name already and his stance. For everyone else, Mr Atkinson, is the sole reason why Australia does not have an R18+ (or adults only) rating for video games, the reason? because he still believes that only children play video games ergo, Australia doesn’t need an adult classification, this is despite repeated studies over the last four years that shows information that is not the case.

Unfortunately such a decision as allowing an adult rating for games required an unanimous agreement by all the Attorney Generals in Australia, so far, Atkinson, is the only one who is against it, meaning that content that would otherwise receive an R18+ rating, or content that received a similar rating overseas, is predestined to be Refused Classification, and thereby legally unavailable for sale in this country.

In the past a number of highly successful games internationally have been refused sale in Australia for one reason or another, most notably, most of the most recent Grand Theft Auto games, for instance, have all at one point, being RC in Australia, but have been edited and being allowed sale under the MA15+ rating, however, most of the time, a lot of these games are still too violent/gory/horrifying/adult for the rating, but the game was released, an R18+ rating would just prevent these games from falling ideally into the hands of those that would be affected by it.

According to Atkinson, the ‘younger generation’ (I am not sure if he is referring to me, or those in Gen Y who are younger than Tikara) are extremely tech savvy, and that they can get around most measures in place that would prevent them from accessing R-rated content…despite the fact that they already are, illegally. I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times, if a kid is determined enough to see stuff he isn’t allowed to, he will find a way and there isn’t a thing anyone can do about it.

While there will never be a system that will work on PC’s Consoles have always had Parental block on them, where parents set which ratings they want their kids to be allowed to play, the problem is that most parent’s don’t understand the technology they are giving their kids, and most especially, most Politicians have no idea that gaming technology has evolved passed the twin directional knob.

In the end, this falls to the Parent’s taking accountability for their actions, parent’s should be looking at the game seriously that little Timmy wants to play, and if the 14 year old wants to play Left4Dead2, then the Parent should inquire if this game is appropriate for their child, then afterwards if they still believe that the game is okay, then its their responsibility.

Now we at the DocNetwork believe in no forms of censorship should be enacted, but there are some things that children should not see, but proper education is the way to solve that problem, not preventing the masses their right to kill Zombies.
Protests and petitions seem to not want to convince Atkinson, or even Conroy, that their stances are wrong, hopefully someone in power has the sense to do something.

I want a Zune HD!

zune-hd_While there is no hiding the fact that I own a Zune, the fact that I am the only person probably in the entire state with Microsoft’s mp3 player. That being told it does have a great deal of bragging rights and interest, much akin to the original iPod when it was first globally released. The only problem I ever had was the fact that I had to create a new email address to enable me to use it as it has not been released anywhere outside North America.

To this end, I found it quite interesting to discover that version 3.1 of the Zune Marketplace software is available to download in regions where the device itself is not available, granted I’ve only been able to determine that it available in Australia and England, and fills an identical capacity to iTunes, despite the fact that you still can’t create a user account in these regions, which really isn’t a problem since at the time being you still can’t get the devices in these countries…

That was until news of the 3rd Generation Zune devices, known as the Zune HD has been announced. what’s more, there is speculation that the Zune HD will be released outside North America, making it possibly the first Zune device that can be legally obtained outside America and Canada.

The fact that the Zune software is available for download outside the regions that the device itself is sold in, hopefully means that the Zune HD will be also released in these regions. Microsoft has been keeping very quiet about the concept of an international release, but they have also not ruled out the prospect. Gadget blogs have speculated that Microsoft will release the Zune HD in Europe as the only non North America region, but I would not be surprised if it is released in Australia/New Zealand as well, at least in the English speaking world.

Worse case scenario, I have one shipped to Australia, just like I did with my old one. I’m not fussed either way, but I would like it if people can look at my Zune and not wonder just what the hell it is, while yes I enjoy being the only person in a geographic location to have a Zune, I would really, and I mean REALLY would love to locally get a hold of peripherals. It would also be good to see for a change a stand in the electronics section not dedicated to Apple products, and no that was not a jab at the fact that I have to go passed the iMacs to get to the Toshiba notebooks at Myer.

So hurry up Microsoft I want my Zune HD, hell I wouldn’t mind the standard Zune being released here as well, I want to be able to use the Social software at least once in Australia.