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Mobile Porn Blocker Unveiled

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Mar 1, 2004 3:00 PM PST    Text size: 
UNITED KINGDOM – Following a stir over a mobile porn incident that involved a 13-year-old Irish school girl earlier this month, British lawmakers have thrown a wrench in the mobile porn industry by unveiling new guidelines for telecommunications companies that provide service to the United Kingdom.

According to the directive, commercial mobile content will now be subject to a certain type of classification that will deem it only appropriate for users over 18 years of age. User will be required to prove their age by either using a valid ID at the point of sale or a third-party credit check.

The filter can be ordered by parents or users who want content blocked, and mobile phone operators like Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, and Virgin Mobile will be required by law to provide the filter, although it will not be made widely available until next year, according to ZDNet.

Mobile Internet sites that will be monitored the closest involve pornography, chat rooms, online gambling, and mobile gaming, the Brits announced Monday. The government is also saying that chatrooms will either be moderated or they will require age verification.

The transmission of content 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 ZDNet, the government-imposed guidelines will not apply to premium rate voice or SMS services, which will continue to be regulated under the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Telephone Information Services Code of Practice.

The decision comes on the heels of complaints from mobile users that porn and other adult content is made too readily available via cell phones and can easily fall into the hands of children.

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