Feeds

O2 boots up boobies blocker

A bit of the old opt-in-out for phone filth

Remote control for virtualized desktops

O2 has finally switched on its porn-blocker, much to the annoyance of customers who don't see why they should prove their age.

British mobile operators are required to provide age-verification before allowing access to "adult" content, but different operators opt customers in and out by default. It seems that O2 is now learning firmly towards the "out" option and started asking customers for a credit card transaction to prove their age, which is winding up many.

Faced with unexpected requests for credit card numbers from unknown companies (O2 outsources its age filters to Bango) customers are understandably concerned, and irked. Bango takes a white-list stance, resulting in apparently innocuous sites such as Google Translate falling foul of the censor.

These controls aren't new, only being enforced with more enthusiasm. O2 tells us it's been doing age verification for years and can't seem to explain why it's suddenly being applied with such vigour.

O2 has migrated to a new platform, which seems to have changed the default settings for a lot of customers who are now required to provide a credit card payment of £1 (for which they receive credit worth £2.50) to prove they are over 18. O2 described its intended age-verification system back in 2009, and planned it even earlier, but spent a long time getting it working.

All the UK's mobile operators face the same issue - unlike fixed internet service provides the mobile operators are required to police access to adult content. Orange will let you drop into a shop with a photo ID and most operators will verify age over the phone one way or another - your correspondent's suggestion, while employed at O2 half a decade ago, was that customers should just be asked to name two Pink Floyd albums, but that wasn't considered secure enough.

The situation gets stranger still; if you're using a smartphone near an O2 Wi-Fi hotspot then one is blocked from accessing porn over O2's 3G network (at 2.1GHz), but switch to Wi-Fi (at 2.4GHz) and one changes regulatory environments. Then porn flows freely onto the screen thanks to a change of frequency.

Which brings us to the most likely reason the mobile network operators are tightening up their access controls: the application of the same thing to fixed internet service providers. If the mobile operators can do it, the argument will go, then why not the fixed-line operators? It's not like any content will be banned, only that you'll have to opt in to get it. All for the sake of the children, of course. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
You! AT&T! The only thing 'unlimited' about you is your CHEEK, growl feds
Man, we did everything but knock on their doors - carrier
The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay
Goog Wallet apparently also spurned in NFC lockdown
Watch out, Samsung and Apple: Xiaomi's No 3 in smartphones now
From obscurity to selling 19 million mobes a quarter
Brazil greenlights $200m internet cable to Europe in bid to outfox NSA
Only one problem: it won't make the slightest difference. And they know it
Wanna hop carriers with your iPad's Apple SIM? AVOID AT&T
Unless you want your network-swapping tech disabled for good, that is
Knocking Knox: Samsung DENIES vuln claims, says mysterious blogger is a JOKER
But YES, system does store encryption key on the device
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?