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back to article O2 tries to explain its new prudish nature

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 …

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WTF?

They find out the address?

Surely they found that out on the contract in the case of those on contract - if not, that would appear to be a bit of an oversight.

Also in order to take out the contract one would presumably be "of majority" in order to do so - or once again an oversight by the operator (or their reseller agents).

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Black Helicopters

No title required

but what about the great army of PAYG customers ?

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So what exactly prevents junior from using dad's MiFi?

Exactly what is to prevent junior from using dad's Mi-Fi after dad has registered it?

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@ AC

"So what exactly prevents junior from using dad's MiFi?"

Erm, the Dad maybe? You know, the parent in the relationship that is meant to bear some responsibility for the raising of junior? Either through talking to him, or securing his MiFi with a password.

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RE: JasonW

I had a contract 4 months before this came into effect and it blocked a lot of sites i use just for news and humor.

They then tried to charge me £1 to prove my age, which they already know since i'm on contract and already had my card info.

£1 they take is not equal to £2.50 in credit as they can create more credit by pushing a button.

This is a scam.

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It's illegal to supply pornography to minors.

..as far as I know. That probably includes leaving it in hedges by public roads* as well as not taking steps to avoid them seeing the free view on your telly. (It's after bed time for most so I suppose they'd be recording it to watch the next day.)

*Do I want that strange custom explained... probably not. Is it bait?

As for whether you have a porn filter on your business phones for employees or not, I'm not sure how you justify disabling the filter as a business decision... except for all the other things that are disabled as well, such as - anything else that only adults do. Such as have lunch in a pub. And, as mentioned, automatic web page language translation services.

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Happy

"but what about the great army of PAYG customers ?"

Oooh, so close.

I only use PAYG and in order to get online top-ups, you have to supply your name, address and credit/debit card details to get the cash on your phone. They even offer incentives like online games to win perks like free weekend calls and such like, to get you to top-up online as opposed to the PAYG scratch cards.

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Google Translate is blocked

What idiots.

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WTF?

Re: Google Translate is blocked → #

Am I the only one who understands why all porn/netnanny filters block Google translate?

Hint: You can post any URL into Google translate and Google AFAIK do not filter any returned results.

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Then they are doing it wrong!

What next then? Banning Google Search because the cached pages could contain boobies?

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Anonymous Coward

@Re: Google Translate is blocked

I know why it's blocked, but it doesn't stop it from being retarded, so if I were a mental parent with no sense of perspective who wanted these crappy blocking lists instead of educating my child I would have to decide letting my kid have a very useful tool, google translate (with the risk that maybe they'd use it as a proxy *yawn*) or saying "yes my 8 year old is allowed full adult internets" and that would look wonderful in a court case to have your kids taken away because you believe in education over crap filters.

Genius.

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FAIL

On a business iphone here

I'd been meaning to setup a home vpn for a while but never got around to it, so I configured my media center pc (it's left powered on) for a PPTP VPN last night.

If I was on O2 for my personal phone I would have switched immediately to another mobile provider, I guess I'll just have to change all our company phones from O2 when the business contract comes to an end. (around 20 iphones on O2)

We've been having occasional problems with O2 anyway, like getting them to get off their arses to fix the local cell which would send and receive calls but not data. (took them a couple of months to fix, lazy, lazy, lazy)

On the plus side, I've also configured a proxy that I'm going to get some adblock rules sorted out. So it'll mean speedier browsing. Oh, by the way.. plus side to a vpn is that the bbc iplayer works over it. I discovered this when I configured works vpn a while ago. The beeb does ip address checking and since it appears to them you're on a non-mobile IP address you must be viewing it over wifi.

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Anonymous Coward

a non-mobile IP address

Erm.. if I tether my laptop to my phone what IP address am I using? ps iplayer works.

If I change my mobile browser settings to not use mobile view by default iPlayer works...

the sooner the bbc grow up and turn off thier daft refusal to serve the better.

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WTF?

Pathetic

Why? If a kid wants porn, they will get porn. Simple as that.

I pay for a contract, and to do that, you need to be over 18, therefore no filtering should be applied. If they are giving a contract phone to a child then it should be an opt-in to block and not the other way round.

Pay as you go on the other hand is a different matter. A child can buy a sim and top it up, and this policy makes sense for protecting the child, but again they can go to a PC and get porn.

Applying this opt-out of the filter policy to static ISPs aka ADSL/Cable/Wifi is wrong. The IWF filter is bad enough as they filter stuff that isn't under their policy.

Say bye bye to your freedom of access to the internet.

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FAIL

Say bye bye to your freedom of access to the internet.

no, say hello to a future where the majority of intelligentsia use VPNs (see post above) and stick two fingers up to the nanny state.

I never cease to be amazed at how stupid politicians can be, when it comes to technology.

If internet access were free and open with little regulation, then *only* the bad guys would worry about hiding - so they would stand out like a sore thumb, and be a doddle to catch.

As soon as you arrive at a situation where encrypted (VPN) access is the norm, how do you spot a baddie ?

I am still reminded of the howls of laugher that accompanied Jacqui "porn" Smith, when she told us how paedophiles would have to "register" their "email address", as if people only ever could have one.

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"say hello to a future where the majority of intelligentsia use VPNs "

Yeah and when internet access is filtered throughout the world, what are the “intelligentsia” going to do then? Uplink to Mars?

You have to fight it NOW. You can use a VPN in the interim but that is not a solution anymore than wiping your ass on your shirt tails is a solution for being out of toilet paper.

As you are qualified to setup a VPN, you are the most qualified to fight this thing, the fact that you choose not to is going to be a severe let down for those not articulate enough to know what is being taken from them (until it is already gone that is). No it’s not porn, it’s freedom.

When the country in which your VPN is hosted starts taking it up the ass from armchair fascists that want nothing more than to tell you what to watch, you might just see the flaw in your perfect plan and wish that perhaps you had done something about it a decade ago when you still had the chance.

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Anonymous Coward

Kids don't always want porn

But with the wild west state of the uncensored t'Internet then with just a few misplaced words in Google it's not all that far away. Not that I'm for a 'we know what's good for you' ISP service, but I think so basic steps to limit access isn't necessarily a bad thing. Think of it as a bit like the old top shelf and brown paper covers for the dirty mags in the newsagent's...

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Anonymous Coward

"in the newsagent's..."

But the internet is not analogous to a newsagents.

It's more like a lemonade stand inside a newsagents inside a market inside a supermarket inside a hypermarket. But since this is technology, it is actually in the reverse order. The simplest rules, e.g. the lemonade stand, host all higher levels up to and including the hypermarket.

And that’s why you can’t just pull silly rules out of your ass then throw them at the internet and get upset when nothing happens.

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WTF?

Just.....

Happened to me. Just went to the cubicle for a Friday afternoon "browse" and was stopped in my tracks.

Totally took the spontaneity out of it

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FAIL

Blocking more than 'adult' content

Since when has Google Translation been classified as an 'adult' site? I'm now hitting this stupid blocking when I try to access it - even through an App that uses it! I suppose I'll find half my business contacts blocked too next - what a waste of time!!

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Boffin

somebody yesterday

pointed out that GT allowed URLS to be put in, so could circumvent the filter.

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Alert

Um...

"but the operator also finds out the name and address of the customer – which is valuable information in itself".

They already have that for most of their customers.

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FAIL

Not really

They do for contact, they don't for payg - Surely you watch enough TV to know that if you want to make a call that Jack Bauer can't use to identify you, you need to buy a PAYG phone using cash (Ideally from a shop without CCTV) and then use a voice scrambler. Of course, this all falls down if you actually use the phone on CCTV or if somebody types "Run Identify Caller Hack" into a special Gov't search engine.

Sorry, it's been one of those days...

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Megaphone

But the operator also finds out

the name and address of the customer WHO HAS REQUESTED ACCESS TO PORN - *very* valuable information in itself. Who could this data now be sold to? Hard core porn merchants perhaps. Does the Social Services department have automatic right of access to this data? Think of the children ... who could be legally abducted and taken into care or placed with appropriate (non-Christian, gay) foster parents.

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The porn assumption

Maybe it's a good thing that Google Translate is blocked.

I don't object to proving my age.

I loath the belief that doing so is proof that I want to access porn.

I have a reason to go through the process to get around the block, which has nothing to do with porn as such. And selling the list as a list of porn users is arguably defamatory, and maybe a breach of the DPA. (Personal data must be accurate.)

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Anonymous Coward

"hey do for contact, they don't for payg"

Actually I thought PAYG customers were being coerced into registering their addresses under a variety of cover stories.

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yep payg want address too

When you first connect they ask for an address although one is not needed, to get a top-up card they ask for an address, to top up online you have to enter an address, to benfit from oranges "phone fund" where orange give you a small amount each top up to get a new phone you have t ogive an address.

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Paris Hilton

Simple Way to Lighten Network Load

Everyone knows smut is the major driver of bandwidth use way before the 'net was popular, since BBSs and the like. By embarrassing phone users into identifying themselves and 'fess up, I wonder how much O2's network load lightens due to the scores of people who won't want to register for mobile titillation.

A cynic might think this is the real reason for the eager mass rollout. Not protecting kids, but protecting expensive network resources.

Paris, obviously.

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not sure they've thought this through

O2's black list includes such hot, sweaty, man-on-man action sites such as fancyapint.com*

Unfortunately they've applied the verification policy across the board, including corporate customers. Not many corporates employ people under 18 and if all that was blocked was pron that wouldn't be a problem but I'm not particularly keen to £1 to give my employer a £2.50 credit.

*essential for finding meeting locations.

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FAIL

Didn't matter if you had already had the bongo filter disabled...

It still demanded that you re-register. Fortunately, I have a contact at o2 retail who sorts all this out for me. Apparently, my grot-o-filter was still set to 'allow' and yet I was getting redirected to the o2AV portal.

Poor effort.

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Anonymous Coward

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.

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Big Brother

@AC 14:24

HOW COME YOU DON'T LIKE KIDS?

You must be some kind of terrarist! Police!

Won't somebody think of the children?????

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Happy

Indeed...

Hey no one likes kids, we just have them to make sure someone pays the old folks home bills or look after us when we lose our marbles from dementia!

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Happy

Good news:

he's not a paedo.

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WTF?

ADSL?

Surely they already have your bank details, phone number, address and email or have I missed the launch of a new PAYG ADSL service?

Even dial-up only works on a paid for phone line and kids can't rent them either.

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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?

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Anonymous Coward

Google translate

Reason its blocked is it can act as a proxy. Set it up to translate from Chinese to English and point it to the website your want to view .... it will almost certainly come back "untranslated" (as it won't find an chinese there to translate) but will probably appear as a connection to translate.google.com and not nsfw.org. So the unless you ban sites that can be used as proxies then the whole blocking system is easily subverted.

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Paris Hilton

Interweb's Doomed!

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!

Paris.... obviously.

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Happy

Kick in the teeth?

"toddle off to my nearest O2 Shop and declare to the chimp behind the counter", who's probably a 17 year old in a Saturday job, just to add insult to injury!

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Stop

Google Translate blocked 'cos it's a proxy

Google Translate is a well-known way to try to avoid content filtering, by translating forbidden pages. Other proxies will be blocked as well.

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Obvous Option

@ Fluffer Toddle to the shop and tell them you need access to Google Translate then.

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age(ist)

@bagypants... nice one, will do just that.

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Paris Hilton

@bagypants, @Fluffer

Nah, it's the shop monkey that should feel awkward: if it's a guy serving you - and it will almost certainly be a guy - and he looks at you as if you are some kind of smut-mongering filth-bag, just stare back at him with a puzzled wonderment. After all, what kind of guy doesn't (want to) look at porn?!

Paris, for obvious reasons (I wonder if O2 blocks pictures of Paris...?)

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Taking the mickey...

I want to be a fly on the wall when the young man in the shop gets a granny asking him to process the proof-of-age. Funny looks? "Young man, haven't you ever heard of the Swinging Sixties?"

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Happy

Well quite...

As a colleague once remarked, "I'll get a copy of '60 Plus'! ", leaving us to wonder if that was age, size or both! *shudder*

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This validates the device, not the user

> 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

Most people have a 1::1 mapping between their phone and their eyeballs. Most individuals won't (rightly) let others use their phones or see what pops up on its display (or is stored on it). That is not the case with a PC. How would a family "prove" that everyone who accessed a communal computer was > 18? A simple credit card from the ADSL account payer won't do it. All that proves is that ONE individual is over 18, not that everyone is.

So while this scheme may just about be more-or-less viable for a personal device, it is structurally incapable of proving age for a more accessible piece of equipment.

FAIL

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Had to reset iPhone settings to get it to work

I went through the age verification process - and got a text saying that it had worked. However, after that all dodgy web pages were redirected to wap.o2.co.uk!

I called O2 support, and after the obligatory wait, they told me that as I had an iPhone (3GS), I needed to reset the network settings on the phone (which requires a reboot). They did call me back afterwards to confirm it was working, but there was no hint of this being necessary in the instructions beforehand.

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FAIL

FAIL

Just visited the website listed in the FAQ, and tried to follow the process (£2.50 credit for £1 is a good deal).

Entered mobile number and subsequent confirmation code. Entered code and it confirmed I was blocked.

Clicked link to unblock, and got:

"Sorry you have exceeded the maximum number of attempts to use a credit card for age verification. Please visit our staff at any O2 shop who will be happy to help if you bring proof of age and ID"

I haven't even tried to enter CC details!!! O2 FAIL.

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WTF?

Multiple identities or aliases

In the UK it is perfectly legal to have more than one identity so if people are concerned why not simply set yourself up with an ID you use for O2 :)

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multiple id's

@bugs r us: because it's based on your O2 account that you pay monthly for.

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