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Aussie censor wants power to ban iPhone apps

Apple won't like this one

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The Australian censorship board wants to extend its tentacles into classifying mobile games and iPhone applications.

Aussie censors are already an enthusiastic lot, but trying to wrest control of iPhone applications from Apple's iron grip might prove a step too far.

Classification Board director Donald McDonald told a Senate Estimates committee he was concerned that some mobile phone apps were not asking for approval, according to IT News. He said: "I recently wrote to the minister regarding my concern that some so-called mobile phone applications, which can be purchased online or either downloaded to mobile phones or played online via mobile phone access, are not being submitted to the board for classification."

But the censors might struggle to keep up with the tens of thousands of iPhone applications. It might also need to change its charging structure - it can cost over A$2,000 to apply for a certificate, a big charge for a small, start-up developer.

The Classification Review Board offers a second opinion if distributors disagree with the original grading given for their for product. It recently refused a classification for the game Left 4 Dead 2 on grounds that there was not enough delineation between general zombies and people and "the clearly fictional 'infected' characters". The ruling means the game cannot be sold, advertised, hired or demonstrated within Australia.

This decision was made after the game's distributor Electronic Arts asked for a review of the game's original Restricted status.

The censors also recently awarded World of Warcraft an M for mature certificate. The Board already requires any company selling computer games, including arcade games, to apply for a certificate. ®

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