Study Finds Too Much Content Is Filtered By Mobile Carriers

Mobile carriers generally tend to filter such content which is flagged adult or is otherwise inappropriate. This is usually done so that if a minor is using the device, he can be protected from data which is unsuitable for his age. Such users who think they do not fall under this category can call up the company and ask them to unblock such sites.

However, Open Rights Group in UK has now discovered that the content filtering done by mobile carriers is some times ridiculously illogical. The carriers do not provide a reason about why they have a blocked a certain website. They simply give it a general title and then block it.

The result is that a number of such websites and blogs which are perfectly safe to read for people of all ages, are blocked and filtered on a user’s mobile by the carrier. This is, naturally, unacceptable and Open Rights Group has done a study on it since in a way, this infringes upon freedom of expression and falls dangerously close to censorship.

The mobile carriers claim that if a user has any problem with a URL that has been blocked and put on blacklist, he can contact the phone company and have it removed. However, Open Rights Group has discovered that in many cases, it is really difficult to have the URL removed and the carries do not cooperate well enough on this.

The casual attitude that carriers have towards such content filtering needs to be condemned. In one example, the website of a church was blocked because of ‘adult content.’ And while it contained absolutely no adult content and the carrier was contacted about it, it refused to remove the URL from its blacklist.

The report by Open Rights Group is titled “Mobile Internet Censorship: What’s happening and what we can do about it” and is quite interesting and important in that it explores the notion of censorship across the mobile platform, something which mobile carriers actively indulge in. And in some cases, this so-called content filtering is used to block sites ‘disliked’ by the UK government or for similar reasons, thus putting a threat to the freedom of expression. You can read the entire report here.

Source: Open Rights Group

Courtesy: The Verge

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Salman Latif is a software engineer with a specific interest in social media, big data and real-world solutions using the two.Other than that, he is a bit of a gypsy. He also writes in his own blog. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter .

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