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Israel gets kosher phone service

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Bezeq Israel Telecom has launched a phone service which will block connections to "improper" destinations, Reuters reports. The blocking will presumably cover "www.porn.mobi", which comes up for auction next week along with a dozen adult-orientated domain names.

Bezeq's new service is aimed at the ultra-Orthodox customer. It's been endorsed by leading rabbis, but they are expecting to be able to sell it to a much broader audience including concerned parents. The service is far from unique in Israel, though as the dominant operator Bezeq's move into the market is significant. It is interesting to see the use of religious endorsement to sell the service to secular parents - it's hard to imagine the Church of England (or Scotland) being trusted to endorse a pornography-free communications service.

Mobile users without a porn block are going to find it easier to find the naughty stuff thanks to the upcoming auction of adult-themed domain names from dotMobi. The auction includes valuable properties such as "porn.mobi", "naked.mobi" and "vegas.mobi"; just a few of the 5000 names that the dotMobi group has reserved in order to pay for itself. The money raised will pay for the applications dotMobi provides for checking for mobile compatibility.

Talking about porn to mobile phone companies is a strange experience: one generally gets from them either embarrassed giggling, or executives salivating at the money they think they can make, or - in particularly strange cases - both. There is money in mobile porn, but whether mobile users are going to type in ".mobi" site addresses is open to debate.

Overall it seems unlikely that porn on the telephone is going to be the golden goose - or the threat to society - that various parties like to predict it to be. ®

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