Internet filters blocking gaming sites…

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Moral Panics, Video Game Violence, Video Games
Tags: , , , ,

It has become apparent over the last few years that internet filtering which was originally decided to block porn and other “harmful to children” materials, has warped into a violent game site censorship machine…. Australia in 2009 decided that their Mandatory internet filter (the great aussie firewall) would block any site allowing people to download any kind of video game, and any site selling any games that are ma15+ or above (equivalent to the ESRB M rating in the US). These sites selling “violent” games include Amazon.com, ebay.com, etc. This firewall I’m talking about is completely mandatory in Australia. Every internet connection has this. Talk about stomping on Australians freedoms to stop kids from playing “violent” games!

“Far from being the ultimate weapon against child abuse, it now will officially censor content deemed too controversial for a 15-year-old. In a free country like ours, do we really need the government to step in and save us from racy web games?”

But if you think Australia is the only one doing this, you’re in for a surprise:

This filter for instance, called “clean internet” which requires a fee, blocks gaming sites. I know lots of people pay for this crap to block “offensive” content in their libraries, homes,etc. So what is so offensive about a  website for a violent game where you kill bugs as a soldier, aka “Resistance : Fall of Man”,”Half-life 2″, “Halo”,etc. Because most of the “Violent” games/”killer” games as more like this than GTA…

I tried out one of these filters, a free one. It was scary what control It gave me block sites by name. I was able to chose exactly what sites to block by URL and by keyword… Now Imagine that I was a library operator in one of the states that force the net to be filtered at these ‘kid havens’. And I have right wing religious conservative beliefs where violent games are the cause of school shootings and gamers are worse than child molesters.  I could choose what exactly I wanted to be censored, easily. Gaming sites, out the window! Sites debunking lies about violent games, out the window! Anything Liberal : Out the Window! Social networks : out the window! Gay rights groups : Out the window!  Pagan sites : out the window! Anything science related : out the window! Email services : out the window! Anything that offends me : out the window! That includes any sites where “gamer druggies” post their plans to “shoot up schools”.

Not literally, but what if that was my alter ego’s  bias to block gaming sites… The belief as a library operator that violent game fans are all psychotic and delusional, sociopathic freaks! So basically these filters allow the operator to control what thing is censored under a law that says that libraries must filter the internet to block harmful material. How fair is it when right wing morons get to chose what they think is harmful?

I looked at this page which goes into detail on state laws requiring filtering in public places. Not all states require it in libraries. But the ones that do clearly are more conservative states : Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida. In many of these states ( not all mind you), the libraries are Mandated by the state Government to block all material deemed “harmful to minors”. Well video gaming sites could be seen that way by conservative library operators who think that gaming leads to school shooting.. To me this is censorship, it should not be tolerated. When the government mandates a vague law saying public internet access places must block ‘harmful to minors’ material and let the people running the library to chose what they want to block, it is a violation of the 1st amendment.

Now, someone will bound to think that “we must protect the children”. But adults go to libraries too. Lets say a gamer in one of these states can’t afford the internet, so must go to the library to get access. But he goes there only to find out that the internet access gets blocked from any site mentioning violent games, because the library choses that keyword (“violent games”) as something to block. Is that not stepping on freedom?

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