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Australia to introduce an automated classification system for mobile and online computer games

Australian Minister for Home Affairs Jason Clare intends to introduce an automated classification system for mobile and online computer games to the National Classification System into Parliament in the upcoming winter session, according to his official website.

There is a loophole under Australia's current classification system, where games sold at retail need to be classified by the Australian Classification Board, yet online and mobile games do not.

Mobile and online computer games will initially act as a pilot for the automated decision-making classification system. The new system is one of seven recommendations of the National Classification Scheme Review conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2012.

The other recommendations including 2D and 3D versions of computer games won't need to be classified twice; minor modifications can be made to computer games without further classification; and Commonwealth officials will have the ability to notify law enforcement authorities of potentially Refused Classification products prior to classification by the Classification Board.

State and Territory Ministers agreed to the reforms when they were presented by Clare to The Standing Council on Law and Justice meeting in Darwin yesterday. Further reforms will be considered at the next meeting in October.

The country's Federal Parliament only passed legislation to create an R18+ category for video game classification in February of last year. The new Australian classification system came into effect Jan 1, 2013 and now includes an R18+ classification.

The Australian state of Queensland had to wait until after Feb. 7, 2013 when its government heard the result of a Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee report on the legislation.

Before then, the Australian classification system for video games was capped at MA +15, meaning games intended for adult audiences were banned from sale in the continent.