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Operators announce mobile classification board

ICSTIS subsidiary to classify adult content

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UK mobile operators have finally announced the body that will regulate and classify adult content available on mobile phones. The specially formed organisation - called the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) - is an independent and separately-financed subsidiary or the premium rate regulator, ICSTIS.

In January this year, all the major UK network operators - O2, 3, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile - agreed a code of practice designed to restrict access to adult content with the aim of protecting children from unsuitable material. They signed up to have their filters in place by the end of this year.

A key element of the promised filtering system was that an independent body would be appointed to classify content. When Vodafone launched its filter in July this year, the need for this independent body was underlined: not everyone was happy with the idea of having their mobile operator play the role of moral arbiter.

IMCB says the classification framework will be comparable to that used in cinema and to classify games. The first draft will be available in January 2005.

In separate news, Ireland is set to develop filtering technology to isolate phone networks from porn. Industry leaders met with a government committee yesterday to discuss how the proposals could be taken forward.

According to the Irish Independent, the government is firmly behind the idea of implementing the screening technology. Minister Noel Dempsey took the opportunity to promote the implementation of a National ID card, saying that policing the filtering system would be difficult without it as customers will have to prove their age when they buy a phone.

Tommy McCabe, Director of the Telecommunications and Internet Federation, told the committee to expect an announcement about forthcoming trials of the technology on the O2 network. ®

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