O2 Filtering

12. April 2011 22:11

Something I just happened to notice today was that O2 have decided to block some internet access from my iPhone. This isn't something that I asked for when I signed up nor was I aware of it when I took out the contract. so this also means that they are spying on my connection. They kind of have todo this in order for the blocking to work since they have to intercept the connections to the server and see what it is they are requesting.

 

What I find really stupid about it is that I actually initially though it was a scam since the app I was using had been recently upgraded. The app of course is Othello. The reason for the block according to O2 is because the site contains content for over 18's. I guess it must have been google mobile ad's that are being rated as over 18 for some reason. Or mayby something in the app.

 

Here is a screenshot on the phone at the time when it was blocked.

 

I though it was a scam for the following reason's (remember this is from inside the app othello)

  • I cannot identify if that is actually an O2 site or just another site using the O2 logo. There is no address bar since it is inside the app.
  • It ask's me for credit card details. Like this can verify age? since there are pre pay credit cards for kids.
  • It ask's me to call a number which is a strange format for the UK normally we have the format of 0XX XXXXXXXX
  • It also promises me more money in return. Which really is a WTF / Scam alert trigger for most people.

 

Something that is even them more ironic is the what I found while browing the link at the end of the first screenshot "O2 Home". The following was then delivered to the phone screen. The content contains a clear case of an adult advert!

 

 

This really does start to highlight the reasons why internet filtering should not exist by default on a paid service unless requested by the person paying the bill. The next step I took after this was to try the same at home to check that the iphone app was not messing about. So dumping the nat table from the router at the time of loading the app didnt really reveal anything special about it other than a few requests going out to an ip addres to check for an update / adverts etc.. Of course the application worked flawlessly while doing this.

Note: The application is othello and is a game which contains no adult content.

 

What I find even more ironic about this situation is the internet provider I use (BeThere.co.uk) is actually owned by O2!

 

So while large ISP or goverments are talking about filtering the internet access for countries.

I think the first question that needs to be asked is Can this work?

Instead of asking the current question of Should we do it?

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