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UK censorship on O2

     
1:18 am on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Web filtering has come to the UK, and as you might expect it's been implemented in ridiculous ways, but because it's coming in bit by bit and over the holiday season it's really hard to determine how much impact it is having, and how much is due to seasonal dips.

You can use this link to check whether your own site is blocked, and at what level: [urlchecker.o2.co.uk...]

I'm not sure whether it's accurate, because nearly every site I've checked is marked as blocked at the "parental control" level, and I'm not able to test that. And when I say every site, I mean news sites, blogs, political sites, you name it. Even Disney, at some levels.
2:23 am on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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nearly every site I've checked is marked as blocked at the "parental control" level

Does this mean that the site factually is blocked? or only that it is listed on some vendor's default list of sites that can be collectively blocked if the parent/school/employer clicks the appropriate button? (For a given definition of "only", obviously.) If you exclude a given filter's robot, does that automatically put your site on the "blocked by parental controls" list?
11:27 am on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Finding the same issue both on my sites and on other random sites that I have put in. I did wonder if it was just a fault on the checker but their own website comes up as allowed.

Why do I start remembering Groucho Marks singing "whatever it is, I'm against it"?
3:50 pm on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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My own O2 connection is via WAP, which is why I can't check yet because I think they're only blocking through the 3G network so far. So it has yet to fully roll out.

They responded to my tweet, explaining that "parental controls" means a site is only blocked if you opt in to that setting. From their site:

"Parental Control is a free service that limits mobile Internet access to sites that are suitable and interesting for children."

That's all the information they give, rather than a list of sites. By the looks of things it's incredibly draconian. I actually managed to find a publisher of kids' books that wasn't blocked, but I found more in that niche that are.
5:18 pm on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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All I get for a site of mine, for the last 12 hours, is.....
'Sorry, an error occurred retrieving the URL's profile. Please try again later.'
5:33 pm on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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"Parental Control is a free service that limits mobile Internet access to sites that are suitable and interesting for children."

I think a few parents will be complaining when they realise that putting parental control on the tablet means that dad can't check the weather forecast (the BBC news site is on the block list).
9:41 pm on Dec 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Oh, ouch. You mean "Parental Control" is a specific, named entity?