Feeds

O2 tries to explain its new prudish nature

Bigger boys are doing it too

Boost IT visibility and business value

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.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.