O2 has made unexpected changes to its content filter, leaving 3G users unable to access sites it has deemed unsuitable for under 18s. Confusingly, among the sites affected are google’s translate service, and car blog Jalopnik.
Users attempting to view dodgy sites are invited to confirm their age by calling an automated service on 61018, or by using the online verification system. Somewhat outrageously, customers have to pay £1 via credit card as part of the process, though they’re credited with £2.50 on their next bill.
Customers were understandably concerned about the legitimacy of the payment request, as it’s handled by an external company called Bango.
If you don’t have a credit card, you can prove your age in-store with a driver’s license or passport.
O2 has been employing a filter for some time, but not to this extent. The network defended itself on its blog, explaining: “It’s not O2 that decides which websites are classified as 18 rated. All the main UK mobile operators have agreed to a Code of Practice to protect children in this area.”
One savvy user contacted Wired, explaining that the content filter doesn’t apply to users of Opera Mini, which uses its own servers. There you go; that’s one way to get hold of your mobile smut without paying a quid.