Gaming Just Became Part Of The Federal Election

Gaming Just Became Part Of The Federal Election

The hyperbole around video games has flared up more frequently in the past year, so it was only a matter of time before gaming featured in the federal election. But rather than funding for local development or support for boosting their prospects in foreign markets, it’s concern about trolls and privacy that has become the focus of a new proposed policy.

Via a drop to the Daily Telegraph, the Federal Government has announced plans to introduce the Online Safety Act should they win re-election.

The main thrust of the plan will see the maximum penalties for online trolls – more formally known in the Criminal Code as using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, which includes social media but also older communication methods like SMS and phone calls – raised from three years to five years.

The proposed bill would also include new transparency measures for social media giants. But gaming has also been looped into the debate, with the Prime Minister proposing that the most locked down privacy and profile settings for games, citing Fortnite, become the default.

The Coalition also wants the companies behind popular online video games such as Fortnite to keep young gamers safe by ensuring the most ­restrictive privacy and safety settings are the default option when signing up.

Kotaku Australia has contacted the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, the chief representative body for the gaming industry in Canberra, as to whether the government consulted on the bill before its announcement.

The article adds that the policy will initially be opt-in, although “the Morrison Government won’t rule out forcing the gaming sector to implement the change”. So at least in the short-term, this policy won’t change anything – but it sounds like action, which might be of some value to worried parents.

For more info about existing privacy settings across platforms, and what the current defaults are, see our coverage below.

How Privacy Settings Compare Across Xbox Live, PSN And Other Platforms

Earlier this week, Steam introduced a handful of new privacy options and, in a move that doomed number-crunching megalith Steam Spy, changed its default settings so that only friends can see which games you've been playing. In this one particular area, Steam is now ahead of the rest of the pack.

Read more


  • Sigh. l’d vote for the party that stopped old farts that don’t understand technology from interfering with those that do.

    • I actually see this as some decent policy. After a few people go to jail there might be a few less teens who kill themselves over facebook bullying. Or angry cops might not call female politicians and threaten their children.

      Epic and Valve not being able to sell gamer info to third parties because of increased privacy restrictions is probably a good thing as well.

      • After a few people go to jail there might be a few less teens who kill themselves over facebook bullying

        Riiiight. Because sending underage teenagers to jail totally won’t backfire at all as it has in the USA.

        Or angry cops might not call female politicians and threaten their children.

        Existing laws already punish this act.

          • So I guess you think we shouldn’t punish murderers because we can’t stop all murderers?

          • do you expect that something being illegal would make people never do it.

            because laws and punishments are only a part of what deters people from committing a crime, mostly the deterrent comes down to how you are socialised and things like that, it’s why the death penalty vs jail time as a punishment for murder has absolutely no impact as a deterrent.

      • Epic and Valve not being able to sell gamer info to third parties because of increased privacy restrictions is probably a good thing as well.

        It’s called cutting down on the competition, the whole point of Australian privacy laws is to increase the value of that data for Australians, and by Australians they mean politicians looking to get more of the pie.
        Not just Australia either, the reason governments are suddenly so interested in our privacy is they aren’t the ones profiting from it the most.

      • The flaw in your argument is right there in the second sentence… “after a few people go to jail…”, presumably because somehow the current three years penalty isn’t sending people to jail but a five year penalty suddenly would???

        Most deterrence in the criminal justice system comes from someone’s perception of how likely they are to get caught, not the penalty they might or might get if they are caught. It’s not like potential criminals are googling a crime and decide that, sure, they’ll risk it for three years in jail but no way will they risk it for five.

        If you want to discourage behavior actually fund the police to do it, upping penalties is just a lazy sop by politicians to sound like they are ‘tough on crime’.

  • Maybe they should concentrate on making actual real proper sentences for horrible crimes like rape and assaults first. You know, shit you can’t literally just left click ‘block’ on and it ends.
    5 years is more than some piece of shit gets for break and enter and sexual assault. What a joke.

    • Sending people to jail for such minor offences won’t solve anything anyway. If anything it will make it worse.

      In the USA people get sent to jail for minor offences and all it does is turn them into even more hardened criminals rather than rehabilitating them. The rate of recidivism in the USA is incredibly high due to their jail happy attitude for the smallest offences.

      • And also, it’s the current reason for the gross over-populating and privatisation of prisons in the USA… where the sheer bulk of people IN prison are in there for minor offences. What could go wrong indeed…

        • Was going to say the same thing, also there is no incentive for private prisons to reabilitate there is however possible financial gain for allowing them to join gangs become even more disenfranchised and eventually re-offend.

          • Judges have been caught taking kickbacks to throw the book at minor criminals just to prop up the prison populations and the industry itself heavily lobbies the government to increase spending and support the corrupt system.

            It’s literally criminals getting rich off criminals.

      • Liberals will be licking the lips in glee at the opportunity to privatise something (not that there is not already some privatisation)

  • Man, I miss the old trolls that were original and often quite clever.

    The new definition, which is just another word for asshole is stupid. Or maybe I’m just too old.

    Either way, going to jail for causing offence is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. Another case of “This is already illegal but we’ll make a separate law for the same thing because it involves a computer”.

      • the thing that i find funny is that we are supposed to believe the the “trolls” are the assholes here, if you report someone for offending you in an attempt to get them sent to prison for 5 fucking years your a despicable piece of shit.

        i can see the next guardian article, totalitarian censorship of so called “offensive” speech leads to first uptick in homicides since 1965…..Peter Walker says he killed the 25yo mother of 1 because “she had me sent to prison for 4 years 2 months just for calling her a whore”

      • Im from the facepalm camp… judging from the article the guy was acting like a tool to begin with.

        Why is it so hard to say Im just going to TAFE? *facepalm*

        • It’s funny though. The only other thing he could have done that would be MORE likely to have got him arrested would be to have run when asked to stop.

          The Police were a bit foolish though. If a tea leaf is out on a job he is not going to be standing there and winding up coppers for shits and giggles 😛

        • Why should he even have to explain himself? He’s walking and the cops stop him because it’s ‘suspicous’. Paranoid much?

          It’s pretty much “papers please”.

    • you mean before lefty snowflakes conflated trolling a legitimate art form with shitposting.

      your not too old don’t let these people steal your shit including the true definition of words.

      it is indeed a separate law etc etc computer, the funny thing is that is counterpart law the liberals tried to change so it wouldn’t be subject to abuse, because like all the “hate speech” laws we see around the western world atm it leaves the question of “offensiveness” up to the person complaining.

      i can’t remember the exact wording of our law but i know that in the UK for example they have ignored the context and intent of the person accused which is just completely absurd, the liberals wanted the change the law we have from i think “person being offended” to “person being harassed” the obvious idea being that someones offence is subjective and therefore impossible to define legally, but harassment has a clearly defined legal framework.

      it going to be like the bullshit on twitter atm, some trans person goes out of their way to start an argument with a TERF then whines that they got offended and the TERF gets banned from twitter, or the whole learn to code thing where butthurt journos got heaps of people yeeted over a harmless fkn meme. The real problem with these types of laws is that they are always incredibly broad and ill defined and they always leave it up to the “offended” person’s subjective interpretation. It’s always some retarded version of “does the most easily offended person on planet earth feel offended”…. when will the meteor come

      • You only need to look at other countries where they are trying to make misgendering someone a crime to see creating such laws is dangerous.

        • big surprise you got downvoted, bet the reason would be transphobia.

          if the human race ever gets nihilistic enough to just burn it all down it’s going to be because of these retarded reactionaries

  • Fact is that if a parent let’s their underage kid play an adult rated game, it’s both a criminal offense and a child safety issue, by definition. Governments will screw over gamers rather than hold parents accountable. Governments will use the bullying angle to bring in the controls that failed under their mass censorship attempt a few years back. Trust me, this is thin edge of the wedge stuff. First its bullying, then it will be terrorism, then police will want the powers for any potential investigation…then, we’ll have the world’s most effective digital police state and we won’t be able to roll it back.

    • Yeah, they tried this with the internet filter that eventually got kicked. Looks like the UK is going ahead with it though.

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