So, in a moment of EPIC INCOMPETENT FAIL today, mobile operator O2 decided to go where angels and governments fear to tread and applied wildly out-of-proportion internet censorship to pretty much all their customer base. Now, any site that O2 deems “adult” or “inappropriate” cannot be accessed on their 3G or Edge network without first passing through a ridiculously dodgy-looking age verification process (which looks like a hack and involves submitting your credit card details through an unsecured, third-party company that you will have never heard of, in breach of a whole metric fuckton or regulations).
Their idea is to prohibit those uinder 18 from accessing adult content, whcih in one way is a noble idea. Problem is, their list of inappropriate sites is WAY off the mark, including – amongst a LARGE selection – not just Avoid Spikes (!) but mainstream sites like Jalopnik (not that you would want to go to that train-wreck of a site since the Gawker redesign), some twitter feeds, and, of all things, Google search. One customer was blocked when he carried out an image search for “cutlery”. To make this even more frustrating I, for example, am being asked to prove my age when I have been with them for over ten years, they already have my date of birth as a security question, they have my bill being paid off my card every month, and they fucking ID-proved me when I BOUGHT THE DAMN PHONE.
None of this was announced to customers, it just happened. I was able to avoid the credit card bullshit by calling customer services and chewing them out until they removed the restriction. I felt sorry for the phone-monkey who helped me out – he was nice, helpful, and sounded like he had had the same conversation a billion times in the last eight hours. Thanks, Matthew!
If you are having the issue, call 202 from your mobile (it’s free, the landline 0844 number is not) and get it removed. It takes about 2 days to come off.
Maybe they have the same strategy planners as Gawker?