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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  1. JasonW
    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).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      No title required

      but what about the great army of PAYG customers ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        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?

        1. Annihilator Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          @ 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.

        2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          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.

      2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
        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.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      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.

  2. Jolyon Ralph
    Thumb Down

    Google Translate is blocked

    What idiots.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. Jolyon Ralph
        Thumb Down

        Then they are doing it wrong!

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

      2. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    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

  4. Anonymous Coward
    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!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      somebody yesterday

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

  5. Mark C Casey
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

  6. Chad H.
    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.

    1. Basic
      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

        1. Jon 52

          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.

    2. Blue eyed boy
      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.

      1. Dave Bell

        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.)

  7. Andrew 63
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. The Alpha Klutz

        "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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  9. B33k34

    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.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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?????

      1. Lamont Cranston
        Happy

        Good news:

        he's not a paedo.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      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!

  11. Simon King
    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.

  12. Natalie Gritpants
    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.

  13. Captain Underpants

    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?

  14. Fluffer
    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.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      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!

  15. Nym O'Nonymous
    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.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  17. Baggypants

    Obvous Option

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

    1. Fluffer

      age(ist)

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

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...?)

        1. Dave Bell

          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?"

          1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
            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*

  18. Pete 2

    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

  19. DaveyD
    Thumb Down

    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.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  21. Bugs R Us
    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 :)

    1. Fluffer

      multiple id's

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

  22. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Crap in November Testing, Crap Now

    I was one of the people in the unwitting/unwilling test group back in November last year, and was deeply irritated that I had to go to a shop to prove my age - just to access NORMAL NON-ADULT-ORIENTATED WEBSITES!

    I'm just not into porn.

    Seems from the comments here that the filter's just as arbitrarily shite and irritating as it was 4 months ago.

    Good old O2.

  23. Bugs R Us
    Paris Hilton

    There is a simpler solution

    HTC are about to introduce devices with a Facebook button, so why not have devices pre-enabled for porn? Then only sell them to those who pay by credit card and tick the "I am 18 or over" box.

  24. Pahhh
    WTF?

    Dang.... got caught today...

    I went to check to see where the Ruddles brewery is based and got THE BLOCK.

    I'm on a contract. Why I need to confirm any this is beyond me. As a contract holder, I ought to be able to as least to log on to the web site and select "Dont nanny me".

    I must admit as a parent, I'm all pro "what about the children" but they have a duty not restrict things without making me aware first and give me the opportunatity to either register or opt out of the service breaking the contract free of charge.

    They restricted my use post contract and I think that I ought to be able to opt out of their contract. Its only fair!!!

    1. Tony Green

      Sorry you couldn't get to my website...

      ...assuming you were trying to get to Beermad, which would have that information.

      But I can tell you Ruddles brewery doesn't exist any more. It's one of Greede Kerching's fake breweries, produced like Morland, Hardy's & Hansons, Tolly, etc. at their Bury St Edmund's brewery.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Just a suggestion...

    Just a though... How about going to the O2 store and saying something like (in a loud voice) "I'm trying to use my phone for business translations and very time I access the internet you direct me to a PORN (switch voice to wispier) filter. (loud voice) I DON'T WANT PORN (wispier) filtering (loud) ON MY PHONE".

    Refuse to leave until they've removed the bar and everyone within a 100m radius suspect O2 of being perverts.

    :-)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    It's not just grot

    It also stopped me from getting my real-life mac on by blocking access to match.com. 48 hours away from panting biological clock ruled Cougars was more than long enough.

    Troll because I'm not picky

  27. TonyHoyle

    Wouldn't bother me

    If I had to go into the O2 store to say I liked tits and pussies I'd quite happily go in there and tell them that to their face if they want. Loudly, if necessary.

    Y'see.. I'm what O2 don't seem to like - a normal human male.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Tim Worstal

    Works on blogs too

    Or rather doesn't work on blogs too.

    One disgruntled regular reader of my blog is complaining that it's listed by O2 as an "adult" site. There's the occasional "f**kwit" and the like dotted about, sure, but then that seems appropriate for a blog that talks about politicians and their knowledge of economics.

    Bit odd to be lumped in with the pornno sites though.....

  30. BRYN
    FAIL

    makes me laugh

    I have an iphone on o2, I have my home broadband through o2.

    I cannot use 3g to read the B3ta.com newsletter or use the B3ta app due to o2's new filter.

    However

    If i use wifi connection through my home router i can visit the B3ta website, use the app and apparantly there is something called pron??? I can consume at my (p)leasure. This occurs without any kind of obstruction.

    So to me this is an unbelievable double standard, and they will ot lift the filter for my unless I use a 3rd party company to verify and credit card transaction or take time out of my life to find a photo id and go to an o2 shop.

    Also trying to explain to the faceless drone on the end of the phone when I call them that if I can visit the darker corners of the internet without restriction at home through bb supplied by them that having the filter on my phone contract is well silly.....

    there explanation I have recieved is that its to protect children from accidently going to places they shouldn't be going to.

    epic fail o2

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just got my £2.50 credit

    for £1.00.

    No confirmation email or sms.

    Just the card details.

    No security check, so maybe nicking a wallet and mobile has advantages.....ish

  32. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    This happened to me months ago...

    I had my SIM card for years and had no trouble using sites like sickipedia, fitlads etc, i then got a contract phone with the same SIM and O2 blocked all adult and gay sites 3 months later and made me prove my age.

    I obviously went into a store instead of using a card to point out they know my age and had my card info as i have a contract with them, which finished with me calling their manager a retard and getting told not to come back to that branch again.

    At least now i have control over "my" phone and O2 don't keep sending spam-like texts =]

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Setup to fail?

    This all seems a bit like it's setup to fail. Create a filter, but set it's remit so wide that almost everyone needs to opt out. Either O2 are attempting to prove the filter's unneeded or (more likely) force customers to provide more personal information.

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      Paris Hilton

      both? neither!

      Both of your scenario presuppose a high level of intellect and of technical competence.

      O2?

  34. Loki 1
    Go

    Its ok guys..

    no worries, the article says it blocks commercial porn. So the free stuff is still there!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3?

    Don't 3 do the same thing?

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Happy

      Vodafone do too!

      My Vodafone PAYG USB dongle has to be taken to a store along with appropriate docs to unlock access to bongo-flicks. I'm not that desperate for a little light-relief while on the move, I can keep my urges under control until I get home.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Another unhappy customer.

    This severely inconvenienced me yesterday. I'm a business customer, obviously on a contract. I was blocked from a legitimate search. I'm not a child and I don't have time for this nonsense. They can either stop treating us like idiots or lose us as customers. I don't typically look at porn on my phone - but if I did - this is none of their business. I pay business tarrifs for data, not some packet inspected school-child filter than tells me what I can and can't look at. Pathetic.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Who would you use instead? All the main mobile networks are doing something similar, and in Vodafone's case seem to keep on intercepting all your traffic and send it half way around the world to an untrusted 3rd party even when you have opted out of the filter.

  37. Alex Walsh

    58

    58 is the number of text messages O2 have sent in in the last 14 months. Most of them are trying to sell me things, some point to competitions and one told me they weren't absorbing the VAT rise.

    NOT ONE OF THEM TOLD ME THEY WERE GOING TO PULL A STUNT LIKE THIS.

    *ahem*

  38. Tony Green

    Sadly it's not just porn they block

    The definition of "adult" content used by these people is bloody ridiculous. I run websites about beer and pubs; these get blocked by mobile operators on the grounds that they contain adult content.

    Seems to me the wankers are the ones running the filtering.

  39. Amraj
    Megaphone

    Kick up a fuss...

    I just a had a meeting with a client and demonstrated how good his website looks on an ipad, for the site to be hit with this thing...the client and I were not amused.

    Called up O2 after the meeting and kicked up a fuming rant with them and they offered me the verification to be removed in 30 minutes and a months free line rental.

    Megaphone as thats what my phone turned into after that O2 chat.

  40. ewan 3
    FAIL

    3 are even worse

    The 3 porn filter doesn't just 'think of the children' it suggests a range of 3 provided smut that you may want to view instead. Idiots.

    FYI 3 are not au faux with the concept of IP address and WWW address being equivlent - you can access B3Ta using it's IP 207.44.242.20 for example

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Iphone users

    Download Opera browser. Job done.

    1. Old Tom
      Go

      Android users

      Download Opera browser. Job done.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    I pay by credit card

    I thought as I bought my phone direct from the O2 shop with proof of ID, proof of address etc, I wouldn't need this. They know who I am, how old I am, where I live and a variety of other facts. The payment to them comes off my credit card automatically every month. A quick google of "Page 3" though (for research naturally) and I am facing this screen which, if I hadn't read this article, I would have probably have dismissed as a scam. Bit strange.

    Not really my thing, but if I decide I want to browse Pr0n, it is my business. If someone wants to buy their fragile little flowers a phone, let them choose to get it blocked at the same time.

    Still, £1.50 for 30 seconds work. Thanks O2, I'll put it towards a Friday beer which I can buy without anyone bothering me.

  43. Donovan Hill

    VPN Access

    I'd rather pay for VPN access than "Verify my age". Something about it smacks of "nanny state".

    But it's for the children.

  44. sausages
    WTF?

    Measure mobile campaigns, sites & apps....

    From the bangra website http://bango.com,

    Mobile analytics

    Measure mobile campaigns, sites & apps with 8x greater accuracy

    Unique Identification

    User ID:00232214552

    Network: Sprint

    Device: RIM Blackberry 9700

    .Responded to ad campaign

    .4th visit this week

    .Spent $25 on content

    More at http://bango.com/mobileanalytics/

    Is this another Phorm type company? Kind of concerned that a MARKETING company is filtering all my HTTP traffic from o2 device.

    I actually left VF 2 years back over this same s..t.

  45. Tom Jasper
    Paris Hilton

    Great to see this finally on El Reg

    I became a bit passionate about this when spammed by O2 in November and was vocal on the O2 Customer Forum (t=56214) although the first trials were back in 2009 (search their forums to see how well that was received). Vocal enough to write to a journo here... The topic eventually received good attention from O2 bods, btw...

    I eventually gave up and walked into a crowded O2 shop and, as a reward, loudly asked to be able to visit sites suitable for over 18's... Although I lowered the tone of my voice, the silence in the shop was sufficent for all to take delight in the subsequent conversation.

    Imagine the sniggers when I discussed the irony of using Bango with the (by that time) shop manager (a great company to manage your revenue if your running a mobile pron site) to monitoring govern what unconfirmed adults can view...

    There was a request for a credit card made to prove age - I declined based on ethics and then corpsed along with other customers.

    Mucho fun :D

    Who the heck would visit pron sites using mobile internet on their phones anyway?

    With this topic "It's always back to Paris" (to quote an old Doctors Of Maddness lyric)

  46. DaveB
    Alert

    Just wondering

    Are you limited to one security check ot can you buy 10 and get £25 back?

  47. Neur0mancer
    Alert

    I kicked off about this today

    I called O2 customer support today and complained and they gave me an apology, said it hadn't been handled well, and gave me £5 credit.

  48. demented

    WhoTF is Bango?(they are the company cc payments go through)

    http://bango.com/mobilebilling/ who is behind this company and why should they be able to store and use details of o2 customers? they are the ones who will be finding your cc details ect useful o2 will already hold personal details if on monthly contract

  49. Darren Barratt
    Happy

    DIY

    My phone has a camera and I have my bits so I'm going homemade. Stuff O2

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot
      Thumb Up

      Hmmm....

      I tried it but you can never hold the camera in one hand and "act the part" in the other without losing focus....erm....so I've heard, erm....

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    End of Year

    Is it coincidence that this appears in the last quarter of the tax year, just in time to make O2 accounts look good for investors.

    The accounts will show a nice big bottom line for end of year, and the liabilities will actually be conveniently hidden as they are not actually liabilities (as they are refunds of O2 call time). This is an impressive and calculated piece of accounting and investment management. I hope whichever accounting genius came up with that is getting there bonus this year.

    O2 senior executives get a bonus because of increased share prices, and end of year results will bump salaries too, v nice.

    Meanwhile paying users who are on contracts get shafted, and O2 smile knowing they can keep screwing those people tied in...

    1. Alex Walsh

      considering

      its costing them £1.50 a pop, I don't think they've really done it for investor relations do you?

  51. Oldfogey
    Big Brother

    PAYG Phone - so PAYG Card?

    I wonder whether they would accept one of those pre-payment "credit cards" - that you can get at any age?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No.

      They are not credit cards, they're debit cards...which are not accepted

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not directly about this...but:

    Is anyone else getting a mite peed-off with the way security is going.

    Following the pay-for-porn that O2BoRiNg instituted, and I paid for (pay 1 get 1.5 free) I logged onto my CC account to be told that security had been changed.

    I had to confirm via an email....then pick a memorable picture and phrase....then answer/pick three memorable questions....

    I am not supposed to use repeat passwords (indeed, following the nuisanceware appearing every time I log onto my bank account, and the installation of rapport, I get pop-ups telling me that I have used the same password on some other site.

    I am also not supposed to write them down.....

    Roll-on the electricityless future:

    http://piczasso.com/i/idfjh.jpg

  53. BongoJoe
    FAIL

    What shop?

    The nearest O2 shop to me is a few hours away. Not something that I can do in my lunch break, is it?

    Bits of the Racing Post site seems to be blocked too. This is interesting because there's nothing on there which contains material which is illegal for underage readers. Yes, it's a gambling site but it only discusses odds and selections and unless it's illegal for toddlers to buy The Post in the newsagent then I can't see the point of this.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    CC check dismally failed.

    So I went into the local O2 store, and showed the assistant my attempts to get to Google Translate. Really.

    He gave something akin to a tiny, soul-dying sigh, said that all his mates had been on at him all day to sort their accounts out and that this was such an ill-thought out exercise.

    15 seconds on the computer (no ID or other details requested, so clearly I must look old enough :-/ ) and the filter is gone.

    What does need investigating is the what these Bango people are doing with all the "metrics" etc that appear to be flowing through their systems prior to (and after?) authorisation. Isn't monitoring URL and data traffic what got Phorm up shit creek?

  55. This post has been deleted by its author

  56. Matthew W
    Joke

    Call centre clueless

    I called o2 up on Thursday on 2020 from my phone, eventually after 5 menu's got through to a human in Glasgow. Explained my predicament (banned from visiting my favourite geek site!!) and how I thought I was being browser hijacked and conned into providing my CC details.

    He goes away to check, comes back saying it's a technical fault, and I shouldn't have ended up at this site, and he has a "form to fill in" as it's been hapening to a few customers but they don't know what's causing it!

    Form submitted, and I'm told I have to wait 2 days for it to go live. I called at 5 on Thursday, it's now 10pm on Saturday... and still I can't get to the site I want !

    Bunch of muppets if you ask me... if I were to roll out a major change at work without informing the helpdesk of what had happened and why, I'd be shot, never mind my P45 !

    p.s. Joke Alert - as really o2, you're having a larf!

  57. Grubby

    Do it for the kids...

    I'm sure O2 are thinking of the kids... really, I am... No sarcasm at all from me here...

    It's definitely not because customers on PAYG are less likely (statistically) to have a credit card, so would need to either go into store (where they can be 'sold' to), or sign up for a basic credit card that they could use... Don't O2 do one of them...

  58. MathiasW
    Badgers

    Just tell 'em you're moving and they lift the ban at once...

    The online-verification site has an advert for an online dating site, so they obviously don't care about "protecting" the children THAT much.

    In any case, I just banged off an email to O2 saying that this reduction in service level was not mentioned in my original contract, and as such I wanted to terminate my contract with immediate effect under the clause of "continued unavailability of service", and I would also be keeping the iPhone that came "free" with the 24 month contract.

    My ban was lifted immediately, no credit cards or visits to the O2 shop required.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Badgers

      Nice

      http://www.o2.co.uk/assets/O2HybridNav/Static-files/PDFs/AIRTIMEPAYMONTHLY_JAN09.pdf

      "8.4 You may end this Agreement by giving us written notice if:

      (a) we break this Agreement in any material way and we do not correct the situation within 7 days of receipt of your written request;"

  59. s. pam
    WTF?

    Lying fucking assholes

    o2 has 2 rules and they're damn sure not going to admit it but I can prove it. They're lying and I'd say that in public, quote my name on tele. I am 51 fucking years old and know what I want to look at and not, the EU has nothing to do here, nor does the dimwitted current excuse for a gubmnt.

    I have a o2 Crackberry -- can access anything and I mean anything. Stuff my employer would sack me for viewing. www.camra.org, the UK Beer appreciation society I can access, no charge, etc.

    I have a iPhone4 on o2 -- can't access a lot of stuff, can't access www.camra.org. Stuff that would get me sacked on o2 Crackberry that work supplies doesn't work.

    WTF WTF WTF WTF??????

    EPIC FAIL..............!

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    WTF is Bango....read on

    o2 has outsourced studying what you view, etc to these guys. Take a butcher's at http://bango.com/corporate/ and you'll see that one of their major businesses is studying web usage patterns.

  61. Tadas Jelinek
    Paris Hilton

    complain and annoy them or just use vpn

    According to their terms and conditions O2 allow themselves to collect your browsing history. And they can share your private information with whatever they are doing business with. So.. Since Bango is mobile analytics company, by signing up you mark yourself as adult content consumer.

    About time to start using VPN on my mobile.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complain to O2

    I've just logged a complaint with O2 business. I suggest others do the same.

  63. chriswakey

    Do it online

    I logged into my online account, waited a couple of mins for the "A live operator is waiting to help" box to appear and then explained to him why I wasn't going to provide my credit card details to pay for services that I have already been credit checked for, nor was I about to take time out of my day to visit one of their stores (there's one less than a 10 minute walk away, but that's not the point...)

    Within 5 minutes, the block was lifted.

    Fuck them, I'll leaving just as soon as I contract is up for renewal (unless I could claim this as a change to my contract, and get out sooner?)

  64. balderdash
    Megaphone

    To much worry about porn and not enough about tracking

    Nobody seems to worry that O2 being the provider is using a marketing company as its age verification. Each time you surf a site on O2, the name of the site and its age certification is taken and put through a filter. If your not registered and the age cert is over 18 your challanged. However what is not mentioned by O2 is if that data is then saved. So even if your registered this process still goes on in the back ground. Over time Bango are creating a huge map of how users use their mobile and how to address advertising. It allows for huge amounts of usage data to be saved. Now imagine that O2 does software modicfications prior to the user getting to the phone(they do, but I dont know to what - hence the need for ful disclosure) which allowed the browser to pass over the unique ID of the phone. You as an indivdual could theorectically be tracked by what your text messages say, what your voice data says and what your surfing habits are.

    This is not a big brother type end of the world as we know it rant, but I feel that O2 have an obligation to its customers to give full disclosure of how data is saved, used and shared. Remember how BT where hauled over the fire for its Phorm technology? this is the same. Bango are now the official 'Age restriction' monitors for Vodaphone and 3.

    PS if you use opera, then you can get past O2s proxy. It allows Opera to track you instead, but O2 dosnt get its hands on your data

  65. OFI
    FAIL

    Nice one O2

    Seems to be a pretty hit and miss filter. My dad rang me yesterday wondering why his phone was blocking access to SOME airsoft websites.. ooh er..

  66. Ravenger

    My phone doesn't seem to be affected... yet.

    I just tried going to the Camra site, and used Google translate on my O2 Pay Monthly Android phone and they weren't blocked. I don't believe I've done any age verification.

    Isn't this blocking supposed to be on by default?

  67. Steven Burn

    To those wondering ....

    This is a change of contract and as such, you're entitled to get out of the contract for free if you wish.

    Interesting coinkydink - their name servers suggest a relation to adultfriendfinder.com ;o) (likely just coincidental, but I thought it humerous all the same).

    As for Bango (aka bango.com, .net, .co.uk, .info) wouldn't surprise me if they were just Phorm with a different name (umbrella companies are very popular ......), but that's just my suspicious side coming out.

  68. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Bango

    does sound like the thing they say Silvio Berlusconi keeps doing.

  69. fixit_f
    FAIL

    It's alright

    "Guess Her Muff" is still allowed.

  70. Nigel Brown

    how utterly stupid

    I cant get onto Sickipedia using the browser, but the Sickipedia app works just fine.

    Perhaps I should download Opera tonight and have a play with that instead of Safari.

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