Italy Investigates Mobile Porn

Michael Hayes
ROME, Italy — Amid allegations that children have been downloading porn via mobile phones, the Italian Communications Ministry has launched an investigation of 3 Italia, a mobile phone network.

“The ministry has decided to examine the services offered by the telephone company 3 Italia ... with particular attention to the use of video content over mobile phones,” a statement from the ministry read.

According to the Communications Ministry, the focus of the probe will be on hardcore content and whether it’s accessible to children.

Suspicions regarding the company began after an RAI 3 TV report aired, claiming the network did little to protect children from mobile content meant solely for adults.

3 Italia, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, said that it would suspend adult content services on its network until it could clarify the charges leveled against the company by the TV report. In it’s defense, 3 Italia stressed that it was among the best in the industry with respect to keeping minors clear of adult content distributed by third parties over its network.

3 Italia has requested an immediate meeting with the Communications Ministry to resolve the matter.

In the meantime, the Communications Ministry has swung into gear, inviting the Italian judiciary to increase its regulatory presence in the mobile arena.

The controversy in Italy comes amid the backdrop of European backlash against mobile porn, an industry some analysts predict could grow to a $2 billion per year global market by 2009. An English newspaper recently nicknamed mobile carrier Vodafone, “Vodafilth.”