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Vodafone publishes guidelines for content publishers
Posted on 15-Mar-2004 20:47 | Tags Filed under: News

Vodafone publishes guidelines for content publishers
It seems that Vodafone is moving to control parts of the mobile Internet that are not controlled by anyone else - until now. The company has published a set of documents that explain how content will be rated, billed and distributed to the end users.

The first document provide guidelines for what Vodafone classify as being subject to restriction to adult customers, and which therefore need to be behind the agreed adult shortcode. There are three age classifications within these guidelines: Unrestricted, 18, Not allowed. The .pdf file lists examples of each type of content.

The second document explains that Vodafone will launch its Content Control product, designed to prevent minors accessing
inappropriate content. The company will take on the role of age validator for its customer base, meaning that after launch any customer whose request to access an adult service is passed through Vodafone to an aggregator has been age verified. Vodafone will collect age registration details for its customer at point of sale, or through a web and wap registration system.

Once a customer has successfully opted out of Content Control, no further restrictions will be placed on their access to internet, voice, text or MMS. Service providers need to be aware of the impact Content Control will have on their business, and what they need to do to minimise the impact on their non-adult service offerings.

For example, the document explains that if an unregistered user tries send an SMS to an adult shortcode, the message will not be passed on to the Services provider. Instead, Vodafone will block the message, and send a response informing them that they need to regsiter in order to access the service an provide a WAP URL where they can do this. Vodafone will be placing a filtering system on the web and WAP gatway, restriciting access to sites containing adult content. Vodafone’s internet filter contains both an index of known sites and an algorithm to dynamically rate unknown sites. In the case of WAP content, where the filter is unable to read the content (e.g. a java game, or a ring tone), the filter will fail to verify the content. In these cases, the system will bar these sites until a human is able to rate the content (if possible).

It seems that the company will start blocking free access to content sometime soon, unless content providers follow the guidelines and request approval.

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