Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
So why does Vodafone filter block Sky News? By Lucy Sherriff Published Tuesday 6th July 2004 14:56 GMT
Vodafone's new mobile content filtering system, designed to stop children accessing Web nasties with their mobiles, raises more questions than it answers.
In January, the major UK operators agreed to implement a content filtering system, with an independent body in place to rate content, by the end of the year. Vodafone has launched its filtering system five months early, presumably hoping to steal a media victory from under the noses of its rivals.
Child protection groups have welcomed the Voda's decision to begin content filtering before the December deadline, but early indications are that the operator has bitten off more than it can chew.
The Register has been flooded with reports of technical difficulties. Some Vodafone users say they have been unable to access corporate email - Vodafone's Blackberry service was apparently disrupted for a time. Others have been unable to access the Sky News website. Access to pornography, however, does not appear to have been universally restricted.
Vodafone argues that teething troubles are to be expected when a system like this goes live to so many users. It is less forthcoming with explanations of how the system should work, once the problems have been ironed out. Questions from the floor
How are sites classified? How accurate is that classification, and what should a site do if it thinks it has been unfairly grouped under the 'adult' banner. Why does Vodafone think it can decide what is appropriate content - after all, who is it answerable to? Site operators who feel they have been unfairly or inaccurately classified can appeal to Vodafone to change its mind. But what is the appeals process. And what if a publisher sued Voda for defamation if its website was wrongly tagged as adult content.