O2 tries to explain its new prudish nature
Bigger boys are doing it too
O2 has been busy explaining to customers why it's come over all prudish, and why they shouldn't worry about spending a little money to prove their age.
O2 has begun enforcing an opt-in policy for access to grown-up internet content, redirecting customers to a company called Bango to prove their age with a credit card. That's worried some customers, which has turn prompted the operator to pose a detailed guide to the whys and wherefores of its newly enthusiastic policy and why it's made such a hash of implementing it.
In common with all UK mobile operators, O2 has a responsibility for protecting children from internet content. It's nominally voluntary, like the health warnings on cigarette packets used to be, but all the operators have "volunteered" and will remain part of the scheme which has set up the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) to provide a shared database of dodgy content for blacklisting*.
That was launched in 2005, and O2, like all the other operators, has blocked content access since then to commercial adult content. But with more data-capable phones, and more free content, the network operators are all tightening up the process, which has led to such unrest among O2's customers.
In November, the company started applying more stringent checks to small trial group, which didn't seem to mind handing over details to Bango. On that basis, O2 flipped the switch without warning, forcing everyone who hadn't opted in to adult content to do so.
You don't need a credit card to opt-in; drop into an O2 shop and present photographic ID. Some El Reg readers report that they convinced phone support to opt them in - but this is not an officially-supported route. O2 points out that it costs the company £1.50 each time a credit card is used, as it bills for £1 (to ensure the card's owner sees the transaction) and credits £2.50 to the account. But the operator also finds out the name and address of the customer – which is valuable information in itself.
This isn't just about O2, or about mobile. If the mobile operators can demonstrate a viable opt-in system then fixed ISPs will be asked to do the same thing. It makes no sense for O2 to check the customer's age at 2.1GHz (3G) and not at 2.4GHz (Wi-Fi) or even over ADSL. So we should probably get used to having to register our perversions with our access provider, for the sake of the children of course. ®
* The IMCB has been in touch to clarify: the organisation creates the criteria by which commercial content is judged, rather than rating content itself. That remains the responsibility of the network operator, to whom any objections should be addressed.
I got hammered on this shite. I'm 40, had my account since the mid/late 90's when it was BT Cellnet. Yeah I like to view a bit of poontang now and again, nothing hardcore but for that, they want me to toddle off to my nearest O2 Shop and declare to the chimp behind the counter I like tits and pussies, like a scalded pubescent school boy who's been caught with a copy of Razzle under his bed. Look at my fecking account details, Nob Heads!! Fecking Orwell's spot on!
They can go and choke on a bag of hairy over-18-only cocks
I don't have any objection to operators providing a content-lock function. I do expect it to be opt-in, and I do expect to be given advance warning if the system is changed (or a new one implemented) and I don't expect to have to hand over any more information/money than I already did when setting up the damn account.
How is it that I can be legally adult enough to enter into a contract, and set up a direct debit for automated payment as per the terms of the contract, but need to provide *separate* proof of adulthood in the event that I want to look at something their arbitrary bullshit-laden filter decides is "adult" content?
well I know
Well I know who I wont be buying a phone from.
I don't have kids, I am not a kid and, I don't particularly like them and, I buy my own technologies, and if I were to have a teenage kid I'd not care if they had access to porn as I'd have brought them up to understand reality from fantasy and wanking from shagging. Also if the kid annoyed me I'd remove access to porn as a punishment.
The last article said they were using a white list system instead of black list rendering translation sites useless which is a total crock of s---, if the powers that be want to run a censorship system then they should foot the bill. Or even better bill parents directly as this is supposed to protect their precious little runts from things that can not be mentioned.