The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the proposed legislation will “block websites hosting and selling video games that are not suitable for 15 year olds.”
This potentially includes:
* a local or overseas website selling a game that has been refused classification locally, meaning for example that a website selling the previously banned Silent Hill: Homecoming may have found itself blocked
* browser-based or downloadable games and any website hosting such games that contain content that would be refused classification
* massively multiplayer games also containing content that would be refused classification
A spokesperson from the office of Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications, told the SMH that the filter would cover “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.”
Quite how this system will work when it’s based on “complaints”, we’re not sure.
In determining whether any online content might be refused classification, the ACMA would refer to the Classification Act, which states that MA15+ is the highest category before content is refused classification.
But where does this leave MMOs and other online games that, at present, are not required to be classified by the Classification Board?
Speaking to Kotaku, Ron Curry, head of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, said of the proposal:
“No filter is or can be 100% successful in stopping access to online digital content as the methods for disseminating digital content are constantly evolving. If parents hold a solid belief that ISP level filtering removes the possibility of accessing inappropriate content, there is a real and significant risk they will not undertake appropriate supervision and education of the online conduct of minors.
“This proposal simply provides another example of the gap in the current legislation. Hopefully this will provide concerned adults with another reason to take the time and effort to reply to the Government’s upcoming discussion paper on the R18+ Classification issue.”
The government’s internet filter is currently under trial with a number of ISPs. The policy has not yet been introduced.