Australia's internet censor will block gambling websites hosted offshore under new powers now in effect. Gamblers have been warned by The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to withdraw their funds now from any unlicensed
overseas gambling sites before they are blocked.
Internet gambling sites such as Emu Casino and FairGo Casino which are run from Curacao in the Caribbean will be among the first to be blocked, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
ACMA said on Monday it will ask ISPs to block websites in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 using new internet censorship powers now in effect. ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said
In many cases these sites refuse to pay significant winnings, or only a small portion. Customers had also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorisation. There is little to no recourse
for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators. If you have funds deposited with an illegal gambling site, you should withdraw those funds now.
ACMA publishes a list of licensed gambling services where people can check if online gambling websites are licensed in Australia on their website.
The Australian Classification Board has published its Annual Report covering the period. 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019.
The report starts with a long report about schmoozing with the bigwigs of the film censorship world at an international conference of film censors.
The Australian film censors have had a pretty good year on the film front. No banned films and only a couple of films with enough classification issues for a press release. These were for Bumblebee and Rocketman .
On the video games front the censors recalled their bans of Song of Memories and most notably Dayz . The Censorship Board is saddled with some stupid rules laid down in statute as a bit of compromise to get an adults only games
rating, The lawmakers decided that the rules would be tough on the depiction of drugs leading to the modern day censors getting continually embarrassed by having to ban games where drugs are depicted as beneficial.
The censors didn't have much to say about the 120 online games banned under the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) classification tool. This automated tools seems to assign ratings by random. Minor variants, eg for different consoles, can
get widely differing ratings including bans. When a game has sufficient gravitas to make the news, the human censors quietly edit the database with a more sensible rating. It is hard to believe that 120 online games justify being banned.
The censors also noted that they banned the murderous live stream of Brenton Tarrant and his manifesto. Carefully but awkwardly reported without mentioning his name, which serves only to highlight the contrived omission.
Film censors always like to report on the complaints mailbag, probably because, commendably, there generally few complainst about their decision. The Board announced:
124 complaints about decisions for films
39 complaints about decisions for computer games
3 complaints about decisions made by the IARC classification tool
6 complaints about decisions made by the Netflix classification tool.
Of the 124 complaints about the classifications of films, 28 were for the theatrical release film, Show Dogs , which had attracted 118 complaints in the period of the previous report. The next most complained about film was the theatrical
release film, A Star is Born , which received 13 complaints about an offscreen suicide, followed by Instant Family , which received 11 complaints about strong lanugage, and A House With A Clock In Its Walls , which received
nine complaints for being a bit too scary for kids.
Of the games complaints, 26 were about the ban of We Happy Few (actually initially banned during the period of the previous Annual Report). This was another example of a victim of the silly rules about the depiction of drugs.
Australia's Department of Home Affairs is hoping to use its Face Verification Service and Document Verification Service across the economy, and is backing its use for age verification for Australians to look at pornography.
Writing in a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs' inquiry, launched in September, Home Affairs said it could provide a suite of identity-matching services.
Whilst the services are primarily designed to prevent identity crime, Home Affairs would support the increased use of the Document and Face Verification Services across the Australian economy to strengthen age verification processes, the
Home Affairs conceded the Face Verification Service was not yet operational, as it relied on the passage of biometric legislation through Parliament.
Australian men's magazine the Picture and the 69-year-old People magazine will close at the end of the year, ending decades of printed weeklies featuring topless models and readers' sex stories.
Their publisher, Bauer Media, was forced to axe the magazines after retailers lined up to ban them from sale at service stations; and readership fell to 0.02% of the population over 14 for People magazine and 0.01% for the Picture. They are
already banned from sale in supermarkets.
Discussions to close the Picture and People magazines have been taking place, as the magazines have lost ranging [visibility], which has affected their commercial viability, a spokeswoman for Bauer Media told Guardian Australia.
The magazines will be closing at the end of the year and we're working closely with staff to find suitable redeployment.
The latest retailer to ban the publication is BP who own 350 stores at petrol stations. BP's statement followed a decision by the 7-Eleven chief executive, Angus McKay, last month to order all 700 franchisees and store managers to urgently pull
the magazines from sale.