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Mobile Porn Scare For Brits

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Feb 18, 2004 12:00 AM PST    Text size: 
UNITED KINGDOM – The Brits are in flux over mobile phone legislation following a series of incidents including one in which a 13-year-old Irish school girl was sent porn content via her mobile phone.

The transmission of information via WAP-enabled phones has garnered the attention of lawmakers and telecommunications operators in recent months, in particular a 1951 law that narrowly lets a recent wave of crimes off the hook because the 50-year-old legislation does not include rules pertaining to advanced telecommunications devices and methods.

According to the European Politic Network, recent high profile cases involving the transmission of porn via mobile phones have highlighted "deficiencies" in the 1951 Post Office Amendment Act.

The recent uproar over the law is due to news that the man accused of sending the porn content to the young girl might possibly avoid prosecution because of a legal loophole that does not include Wireless Application Protocol technology.

The 1951 Act was written long before many emerging technologies that have made the mobile transmission of adult content easier and faster than ever before. Additionally, many children have access to mobile phones for both security and social reasons, increasing the chances of inappropriate and often criminal exposure to adult content.

"Unfortunately, our legislation has not kept pace with advances in technology or competition in the telecoms market," stated Senator John Minihan, a spokesperson for the Irish Progressive Democrats Education.

According to reports, the 1951 Post Office Amendment Act makes it an offense to transmit 'grossly offensive, obscene or menacing characters,' by means of a telecommunications system operated by Bord Telecom Eireann.

"This loophole needs to be closed off as a matter of urgency," Minihan continued. "Secondly, we need to encourage co-operation at European Union (EU) level in a bid to make it an offense for such messages which originate outside of the State. While this is a tricky issue, and difficult to legislate for, Ireland should use its presidency of the EU to drive the issue forward.'

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