|24th December |
So who actually decides which websites are blocked on mobile phones in the name of child protection?
See article from
All the major UK mobile operators have Internet blocking schemes that block certain content from users. This is designed to protect children from accessing adult material. The filters are turned on by default when anybody signs up to a mobile contract.
Age verification, normally via a credit card, is required to turn them off.
We've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of mistakes, over-blocking and the difficulty of pointing out when things go wrong.
Mobile Internet access is becoming more
important as a means of getting online. According to Ofcom, 28% of UK adults said they accessed the internet on their mobile in the first three months of 2011. So we've started to look more closely at how this blocking works.
It's clear that
mobile operators could be much clearer about this. They tend to be pretty opaque as to exactly how their blocking works, and how they decide which Web pages are inappropriate for under 18s.
For example, Orange says that it is the Independent
Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) that decides what is adult content or not. However this is not true. The IMCB only provides a framework for determining content from mobile phone companies that is inappropriate for children and teenagers. But content
from the Internet is out of IMCB's remit, as stated in its Classification Framework.
Mobile operators all declare that they are acting according to a code of conduct set by the Mobile Broadband Group. But this code does not provide for any
kind of criteria for determining or defining blockable content. It simply points at the IMCB framework.
It is most likely that lists from US companies like Blue Coat are used to decide what we are able to access. How the policies of these
companies fit with the frameworks of the IMCB and the Mobile Broadband Group is another question we are looking to answer.
Transparency regarding how mobile operators decide what counts as blockable content is increasingly important.
Customers should be able to ascertain how and why content is blocked, and have easier ways to point out when things are going wrong. We'll be developing more work on this, including tools to help you point out when mobile operators are blocking sites,
soon. Please let us know if you're interested in helping out.
...See more information at
|21st December |
UK BlackBerry phone users are not subject to age verification before access to adult websites
11th December 2011. See
article from huffingtonpost.co.uk by John Carr
Last week my attention was drawn to a notice which had been put up on 3's web site. It reads as follows
Note: If you're using a BlackBerry, we can't put a filter on your phone. This is because BlackBerry apply
their own settings to access the internet
Why had this caveat appeared out of the blue where previously there had been nothing? Had something changed? If so, what and when?
At first everyone started clamming up. I took that as
a sure sign. Then finally two networks confirmed that, right now, they believe none of their BlackBerry users are covered either by the adult content blocking policy or by the IWF list blocking policy. Another network said they believed some BlackBerry
models were still covered but they acknowledged not all of their BlackBerry users are any more.
Why have Blackberry decided to stop running services which keeps adult sites away from children or indeed anyone who has not asked for the adult bar to
be lifted? And what exactly is the position with the IWF list? When did universal coverage under either or both headings cease to be a fact? Was it ever a fact?
Was OFCOM, CEOP, the Government or anyone in authority informed of any changes to what
was very widely understood to be the status quo? If not why not? This is a scandal which risks putting a big dent in the credibility of the whole notion of self-regulation of the internet in the UK, if not elsewhere as well.
My understanding is
that all of the UK's mobile phone networks have been tearing their hair out trying to get RIM to sit down with them and resolve this but it hasn't happened. Meanwhile what are the networks to do? Cut off all of their customers who use BlackBerry devices?
I am sure some people will say that is exactly what they should have done but I think that is rather an extreme view and it ought not to be necessary when RIM have it within their gift to avoid it.
Should the mobile networks have warned parents or
the public or some of their customers?
Blackberry has some explaining to do.
...Read the full article
18th December 2011. See article from
BlackBerry has been summoned to a meeting with the internet censors at Ofcom after it emerged that its internet feed is provided without age restrictions.
Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry, will be joined at the summit by
the leading mobile networks at the summit called by the telecommunications regulator.
It was brought to our attention that there was a problem, an Ofcom spokesman said: It is to do with the way in which the BlackBerry operating system
works. We are very concerned and want to get this resolved as quickly as possible.
While mobile phone operators have been able to apply filters to other handsets such as the iPhone, they have been unable to do so on the BlackBerry. This is
because data flows through the BlackBerry's own services rather than those provided by the networks. It is understood that RIM did offer its own filtering system to UK networks, but this has only been taken up by T-Mobile.
Update: Blocking Report
21st December 2011. See article from
Ofcom have had their first meeting with RIM on the subject of website blocking. The meeting was attended by all the UK mobile operators and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). A second meeting has been scheduled for the New Year to check on progress.
An Ofcom spokesperson reported to Techworld that, although RIM was blocking access to those URLs flagged up by the IWF, it does not currently prevent access to adult content by default.
RIM explained it is now working on new parental
control features that will give parents the ability to control and restrict their children's use of various services and applications on BlackBerry smartphones. Integrated parental control features will be provided in future versions of BlackBerry 7, and
BlackBerry App World 3.1 also offers content rating and filtering options for applications based on the CTIA Wireless Association's Guidelines for App Content Classification and Ratings .
|2nd December |
Software discovered that transmits user activity on US smart phones to a central database with a lame explanation about who uses the data and why
See article from
See video from
An Android app developer has published what he says is conclusive proof that millions of smartphones are secretly monitoring the key presses, geographic locations, webs browsing and received messages of its users.
In a YouTube video, Trevor
Eckhart showed how software from a Silicon Valley company known as Carrier IQ recorded in real time the keys he pressed into a stock EVO handset, which he had reset to factory settings just prior to the demonstration. Using a packet sniffer while his
device was in airplane mode, he demonstrated how each numeric tap and every received text message is logged by the software.
Eckhart then connected the device to a Wi-Fi network and pointed his browser at Google. Even though he denied the option
to share his physical location, the Carrier IQ software recorded it. The secret app then recorded the precise input of his search query, hello world, even though he typed it into a page that uses the SSL, or secure sockets layer, protocol to
encrypt data sent between the device and the servers.
In an interview last week, Carrier IQ VP of Marketing Andrew Coward rejected claims the software posed a privacy threat because it never captured key presses. Our technology is not real
time, he claimed at the time. It's not constantly reporting back. It's gathering information up and is usually transmitted in small doses. Coward went on to claim that Carrier IQ was a diagnostic tool designed to give network carriers and
device manufacturers detailed information about the causes of dropped calls and other performance issues.
Carrier IQ and Your Phone: Everything You Need to Know
article from mashable.com
Is the software only on smartphones? Carrier IQ
says its software is on feature phones, smartphones, and tablets.
Is it on my phone? Carrier IQ is running on 141 million devices in the U.S., according to InformationWeek. Among the major carriers, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T have
confirmed that they use it, and Verizon Wireless told Mashable that it doesn't.
On the manufacturer side, both RIM and Nokia made statements that said it doesn't install or authorize its carrier partners to install Carrier IQ on phones. Nokia
similarly denied installing Carrier IQ on its products. If you're an iPhone owner, Apple told AllThingsD that it removed Carrier IQ in most of its products when it released iOS 5, with plans to remove it completely in a future software update.
How do I get rid of Carrier IQ? If you have an Android phone, you can find out whether or not Carrier IQ is installed by using Eckhart's Logging Test App, and you can use the app to remove the software for the cost of a dollar. The app requires
rooting your phone, however, so proceed with caution and be warned: Some reports say it's not always successful.
On an iPhone, it may already be absent from your iOS 5 device, according to Apple, but if you want to be 100% safe, TechCrunch says
you should open your settings, go to Diagnostics & Usage, and select Don't Send.
How likely is it that data collected by Carrier IQ could be accessed by a third party such as the security agemcies? ...
Update: Under Investigation in the US
6th December 2011. See article from
US senator Al Franken has asked software maker Carrier IQ to respond to claims by an independent security researcher that its products collect and transmit
potentially sensitive data about millions of mobile phone users.
Update: Under Investigation in Europe
7th December 2011. See article from gamepolitics.com
Watchdog groups and
governments in Europe are taking a closer look at Carrier IQ's tracking software, to make sure those mobile phone vendors and operators who use it are not violating users' privacy or the law. The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection recently sent a
letter to Apple asking it how it uses Carrier IQ's software.
The most important thing to me is that users know how their data is used, and if that isn't the case there is a problem, said Thomas Kranig, president of the Bavarian data
protection office. Kranig did not comment on the letter's contents, but tells PC World that he expects an answer from Apple within about two weeks.
Update: Law Suit
10th December 2011. See
article from mashable.com
A class action lawsuit, spotted by Ars
Technica, was filed in Delaware late Friday against Apple, AT&T, Carrier IQ, HTC, Motorola Mobility, Sprint Nextel, Samsung, and T-Mobile USA.
Filed on behalf of four plaintiffs who use smartphones, the suit claims the installation and use of
Carrier IQ violates the Federal Wiretap Act, Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It demands financial compensation, as well as a court order to prevent the companies from installing such potentially privacy-busting
software in future.
|30th November |
US computer game ratings group set to move into rating mobile apps
22nd November 2011. See
article from gamasutra.com
The Entertainment Software Rating Board ESRB, is teaming up with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association trade group to create a standardized rating system for mobile apps and games.
The groups teased the existence of the new new
ratings system, which will be based on age-appropriateness of their content and context, ahead of an official announcement.
There is currently no unified standard for content-based ratings across mobile platforms.
Since its creation
in 1994, the industry-backed ESRB has rated over 21,000 console and PC games released in the United States. In April, the group introduced an automated system to aid in rating the high number of digitally distributed console games.
Update: ESRB Ratings to be used for Apps
30th November 2011. See article from
CTIA, the international nonprofit association representing wireless carriers, in collaboration with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), has
announced the development of a mobile application ratings system to be implemented next year.
In a press release, CTIA stated:
The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB will utilize the well-known and
trusted age rating icons that ESRB assigns to computer and video games to provide parents and consumers reliable information about the age-appropriateness of applications. Today's announcement is an extension of CTIA's 2010 Guidelines for Application
Content Classification and Rating.
When developers submit their applications to a participating storefront they will be able to complete a detailed yet quick multiple choice questionnaire that is designed to assess an
application's content and context with respect to its age-appropriateness. This includes violence or sexual content, language, substances, etc., as well as other elements such as a minimum age requirement, the exchange of user-generated content, the
sharing of a user's location with other users of the application and the sharing of user-provided personal information with third parties.
Once developers complete all answers to these questions, their applications are rated
within seconds. Each rated app is issued a certificate and a unique identifying code that may be subsequently submitted to other storefronts during their respective onboarding processes, avoiding the need for developers to repeat the rating process. This
means consistent ratings across participating storefronts and a convenient, cost-free process for app developers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the age-based ratings categories will be the same as those used by ESRB for video
games, adding, The carriers, which sell apps via their own storefronts---much as Apple Inc.'s iTunes sells music---are expected to roll out the ratings sometime next year. Each carrier will decide for its own store whether the ratings will be
mandatory for some or all apps, or entirely voluntary.
iPhone apps will not be covered, since Apple already has set up a far more censorial ratings system.
Also Google said publicly that it didn't make a lot of sense to sign on to the
new ratings system because it already had its own system.
ECRB ratings for video games are:
- EARLY CHILDHOOD (EC) Content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
- EVERYONE (E) Content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may
contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
- EVERYONE 10+ (E10+) Content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild
violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
- TEEN (T) Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling,
and/or infrequent use of strong language.
- MATURE (M) Content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. This
category is particularly designed to ensure that the most adult possible can be sold at many supposedly 'family friendly' retailers who refuse to stock adults only titles.
- ADULTS ONLY (AO) Content that should only be played by persons
18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity. Many US retailers refuse to carry AO titles.
- RATING PENDING (RP) Titles have been submitted
to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)
|28th November |
Angry Armies, a mobile games app set in the world of football hooliganism
article from mirror.co.uk
A mobile phone app game which is set around warring football hooligans has been criticised by the usual sound bite nutters for promoting violence.
The App Angry Armies costs 69p on iTunes and pitches gangs of thugs against each other as
they hurl coins and bottles to lift the Hooligan World Cup.
They score a point every time they strike a rival fan and the army with the most hits wins.
A spokesman for campaign group Mediawatch UK said:
We are very concerned.
To present something as serious as football violence like this is extremely irresponsible.
But Justin Finch of games developer The Innocent Devils defended Angry
Armies, saying: It's no different to the many hundreds of games which use war as a backdrop.
|1st November |
South Korea telecoms companies to block porn on mobile devices
The South Korean government and telecom companies have agreed to ban access to foreign pornography via mobile devices such as tablet PCs and smart phones from November, communications authorities said.
According to the Korea Communications
Commission, the nation's top three telecom services providers: KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus will block access to adult content.
SK Telecom voluntarily blocked five pornographic websites from overseas in August that were most frequently accessed by
Adult users will be able to access presumably mild content approved by the KCC after an identification process.
|22nd October |
RIM agrees to block porn in Kuwait
See article from
RIM, the Toronto-based maker of BlackBerry phones, has reached an agreement with the Kuwaiti communication ministry to block porn sites from its devices by the end of the year.
News of the block was reported Reporters Without Borders, which warns
that non-porn websites could be blocked as a result of overblocking. Reporters Without Borders has called on the Ministry of Communication to rescind the measure, which has been worked on for about a year.
|15th October |
China blocks Android Marketplace website
See article from
Access to the Android Marketplace has been blocked entirely from within China as The Next Web reports, but locals are also complaining that Android handsets are having a hard time getting onto the Gmail service. The Gmail block isn't being applied to
IMAP connections, which means iPhones and similar are working well, lending weight to the idea that this is a political, rather than a security, issue.
The absolute block on android.com started over the weekend, just after Google announced it
would be helping the Dalai Lama to (virtually) visit South Africa. That might be coincidence, but it's not the first time that China has been accused of using restrictions on internet access as a political tool.
|13th October |
Californian governor vetoes bill to prevent police going on fishing trips through the mobile phones of arrestees
Based on article from
A bill that would have required Californian policemen to obtain search warrant before examining the contents of a person's cell phone was vetoed by Governor Brown.
Approval of the bill SB 914 would have overturned a decision issued by the
California Supreme Court in January that said law enforcement officers could legally search the cell phones of people they arrest.
Senator Mark Leno introduced SB 914 in February after the case, People v. Diaz, was brought to the Supreme Court.
Leno explained in a document:
Law enforcement need not obtain a warrant or judicial oversight to search the personal data of cell phones in incident to a custodial arrest .
Cell phones (are
getting) smarter and contain nearly all the same information as our personal home computers, Leno said in a press release. This legislation (SB 914) will help ensure that a simple arrest -- which may or may not lead to criminal charges -- is not used as
a fishing expedition to obtain a person's confidential information.
The California Senate passed a bill on Sept. 1 saying police officers could no longer search cell phones without a warrant. But this was vetoed by the Governor.
|12th October |
Australia draws up legislation to exempt apps from the formal censorship process
article from smh.com.au
Thousands of mobile phone apps released every week in Australia will be exempt from classification for the next two years under a federal government plan to give mobile phone application creators and businesses clarity pending the ongoing review of
Australia's classification system.
Currently, mobile apps are treated the same as video and computer games and are technically required to be classified by the classification board. But because of the huge volume of apps created every week, very
few actually go through the system.
Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, who will introduce the legislation to allow the exemption, said:
The current classification system never envisaged the technology
powering smart phones, let alone the rapid development of online games or mobile phone apps.
These changes will allow most mobile phone and online games to be supplied without classification for the next two years, while retaining
safeguards to protect children from computer games that are of concern.
The exemption will not apply to computer games likely to be refused classification and the classification board will retain the power to call in a game if it is
likely to be classified M or above. The public will still be able to lodge a complaint.
|10th October |
Mobile porn doing well in China on fly-by-night websites
See article from
Mobile porn in China is on the rise thanks to low-cost entry into the adult business.
According to a Penn-Olson report, even though porn is illegal in China, would-be adult mobile companies can get server hosting packages set up for as little as
$78 per year. The deals are reportedly being advertised heavily by hosting companies hiding behind disposable Chinese social networking QQ websites.
Mobile websites are less strictly regulated than conventional sites, and the growing
number of dubious companies offering cheap hosting and ready-made WAP site templates makes it easier for fly-by-night 'yellow' sites to flourish, the report said.
The boom is keeping Chinese authorities hopping as they try to stem the spread
of the illegal WAP adult sites, supposedly over concerns 'for the children'. Because the sites come and go quickly, authorities are finding it difficult to patrol and shut them down.
|10th October |
US mandates that all mobile phones should incorporate GPS tracking by 2018
See article from
The US telecoms censor, the FCC ,has ruled that all telephone service providers, including VoIP services, must offer only GPS-capable handsets by 2018 to better aid in pin-pointing the location of users.
Phones without GPS require the carrier to
triangulate the caller's location from cell towers, which is less efficient than the phone's GPS simply relaying location data back.
The FCC estimates that with or without the new rules, 85% of cell phone owners will have GPS-equipped devices by
The GPS mandate is supposedly to better locate callers in the case of 911 emergency calls.
|6th October |
Google pulls Android app: Is my Son Gay?
Based on article
See article from
A new smart phone app from France promised to help parents determine their son's sexuality in 20 questions.
It caught the eye of TV commentators who saw the potential for 'outrage'. CBS 2's Sean Hennessey had particularly good fun.
Hennessey called and e-mailed Google to see what kind of vetting is done when it comes to selling controversial apps, but the company never responded at the time with a comment.
The Android app claims to be able to assess sexuality via question
such as: Does your son like musical comedies, Madonna, or football? Does their son dress well? Is his best friend a girl? Are you divorced?
Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network, called the app
ridiculous and horrifying:
The questions in this app are horrendous stereotypes that would be completely laughable if they weren't so dangerou.
The implication, one, is that there is one way to
be if you're gay and, two, that there's sort of blame to attach to parents.
Psychologist Alan Hilfer said the app will never replace a heart-to-heart talk.
But now Surrendering to 'widespread' 'outrage', Google has pulled the
app from its online store.
|18th September |
Apple removes database of celebrity's religion from App store in France
See article from
Apple Inc has removed an app, called Jew or Not Jew? , from its online App Store in France. The app let users consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine if they are Jewish or not. The app was selling for 0.79 euro.
Its removal follows a complaint from a French anti-racism group that threatened to sue Apple. SOS Racisme had argued that the app violated France's strict laws banning the compiling of people's personal details without their consent. Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is illegal.
In a statement, SOS Racisme had called on Cupertino, California-based Apple to remove the app from its online store and be more vigilant about the applications it sells.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the app did violate local law, so it
was removed from the French App Store. It is still available outside France, however, and currently sells for US$1.99 through Apple's US App Store.
App developer Johann Levy said he developed the app to be recreational :
As a Jew myself I know that in our community we often ask whether a such-and-such celebrity is Jewish or not. For me, there's nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not. On the contrary, it's about being proud.
|15th September |
Apple censors game depicting international exploitation by phone makers
See article from gamepolitics.com
See also phonestory.org
The Phone Story website describes its game app as:
Phone Story is an educational game about the dark side of your favorite smart phone. Follow your phone's journey around the world and fight the market forces in a
spiral of planned obsolescence.
Apple has now taken down the game that is critical of the process by which most smart phones are made perhaps because it highlights the exploitation of workers and the environment (or it hit too close
The game was developed by MolleIndustria and tells its tale via four mini-games that show what it takes to make a phone including extracting minerals for components in Congo, using outsourced labor in China, dealing with e-waste in Pakistan, and consumers buying the product in Western companies.
Molleindustria tweeted that: Phone Story was removed from the app store without explanation .
Apple responded that the app had broken 4 guidelines:
- depicting against children or child abuse
- presenting objectionable or crude content
- containing fraudulent of misleading representations
- failing to comply with all legal requirements.
|15th September |
Apple censors name of Australian TV quiz show
Based on article from
Spicks and Specks is an Australian TV quiz show that takes its name from a Bee Gee's song.
But their inevitable Phone app has been censored after Apple deemed the title was racist.
The game has topped the iTunes entertainment app
charts, but the computer giant lists the shows as S***ks and Specks Quiz for fear of appearing offensive. Americans use the word spick as a racist insult for Latin American people.
ABC has asked iTunes to reconsider its decision. A
spokesman said: iTunes is a US-based platform and it automatically censors words which are considered accidentally offensive in America. We've asked Apple to review it for the Australian audience.
|30th August |
US petition to remove dog fighting game from the Android app store
Animal rights activists have taken to the virtual streets hoping to persuade Google to remove Kage Games' virtual dogfighting game, KG Dogfighting, from its Android Market for smartphone apps.
Change.org is one of the groups supporting the effort;
an online petition there has attracted more than 41,000 signatories. According to Change.org:
This app makes a game out of dog fighting -- celebrating cruelty against animals and contributing to the attitude that
there's nothing wrong with using animals in bloodsports. This type of media fuels animal abuse and breed specific legislation, which costs innocent dogs their lives...
Dog fighting is a felony across all 50 states. KG Dogfighting
promotes violence and creates a virtual community for a very real crime. Like many sites, Android Market's policies don't specifically address animal cruelty, but do state: Android Market should not be used for unlawful purposes or for promotion
of dangerous and illegal activities.
Kage Games' description of the $4.99 app includes a long and often cheeky response, including such observations as
Perhaps one day we will make
gerbil wars or betta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games and Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie or video game about it.
There are hundreds of games on the Google Android market as well as any other popular game platform which, if acted out in real life, would be illegal. What makes the Google Android platform special is that it gives the freedom and
responsibility to the individual users to decide what to put on their phones as opposed to the phone carriers and app stores making value judgments on our behalf.
|19th August |
Apple relents and allows softcore programming on its iTunes store
A new app has arrived at the iTunes store that appears to contradicts Apple's censorship policy of keeping adult material off its app store.
The company has approved the Cinemax Max Go app, which provides on-demand access to movies and programming
on mobile devices to the cable channel's subscribers. The app also includes a Max After Dark tab, which allows streaming of some of the channel's softcore programming .
The app includes a disclosure that states users must be at least 17
years old to download the app because, among other things, it includes frequent/intense sexual content or nudity.
Movies with softcore titles such as The Hills Have Thighs, Bikini Jones, and The Temple of Eros are available
under the tab.
|14th August |
San Francisco police shut down underground mobile phone service to prevent protest about police shooting
See article from
In response to a threatened protest in its subway system, San Francisco authorities temporarily shut down mobile phone service in the underground stations of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, known locally as BART.
A civil disturbance
during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators, BART officials claimed in a statement. BART temporarily interrupted [mobile
phone] service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.
According to the local-news website SFist, the demonstration had been publicized by a group known as No Justice No BART in
response to the July 3 fatal shooting by BART police of an intoxicated homeless man, Charles Hill, who had allegedly thrown a knife at an officer.
To protest the shooting No Justice No BART posted on its website that it wanted to mobilize
without public announcement beforehand to preserve the element of surprise .
Unfortunately for No Justice No BART, their web posting was noticed, BART police were informed, and the mobile phone shutdown was instituted. The call to
pretest was removed from the website and the protest did not take place.
Rapper could face charges over flash mob tweet'
article from telegraph.co.uk
|14th August |
The Daily Mail tries to find out
See article from dailymail.co.uk
|23rd July |
The Lover's Guide comes to Android phones
Based on article
The Lovers' Guide , the pioneering sex manual, has announced plans to launch its first app for smartphones. Coinciding with the first terrestrial broadcasts of the series, the application will launch at the end of July for Google's Android and
feature a total of 71 explicit clips costing £ 1 each.
Censorial rules on Apple's app store prevent the app from being launched for iPhone or iPad, but a BlackBerry app is already being planned.
Although Google's Android platform is open to all app developers to use without interference from the search giant, no major brands have yet launched similarly explicit apps. A number of smaller developers have introduced some basic programmes, but The Lovers' Guide is expected to be the first to include video.
The Lover's Guide video/DVD releases featured clear real sex. In Britain this was rated as 18 rather than R18 (hardcore), as the sex was considered more educational than arousing.
|21st July |
Nonsense survey reveals 25% of Brits use their smartphone for adult entertainment
See article from
One in four British men use their smartphones to access porn, according to a new survey by LG Electronics.
The study was done by LG to mark the launch of its Optimus 3D Android handset.
More than 25% of Brits use their device for adult
entertainment and one in six men admitted that they flirt with potential partners even if they're in exclusive relationships. And 20% said they'd be embarrassed by something they have stored on their phone .
British women are also
using their smartphones for more than talking, with 62% saying they are hiding a secret text message.
|24th May |
Nudity which works round Apple's moral censorship of apps
See article from
The official Playboy website designed for viewing on the iPad, announced in January, is now live.
Playboy for iPad brings the magazine's entire back catalog as well as new issues. The content is available only to subscribers at $8 per month,
$60 per year and $100 for two years.
For those wondering how Playboy managed to bypass Apple's strict no-nudity laws, the catch is that the app is web-based, thereby bypassing Apple's review process.
|18th May |
'Dating' app approved for iPhone
See article from
A 'dating' app, with the strap line: Where romance meets finance , has achieved Apple's approval for inclusion in its AppStore.
According to the dating site SugarSugar.com, its Dating App will be available for download on
June 1st through SugarSugar.com and iTunes. It will, the site says be compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices:
The app will use GPS technology to instantly identify those
seeking 'mutually beneficial' arrangements within the user's vicinity. After 'checking in, the application will map out the profiles of nearby members. Users will be able to trade stats, show photos or send messages to arrange an effortless rendezvous.
The website explains its fun loving ethic:
SugarSugar.com is for generous men looking to spoil, and dynamic women looking for financial support with bills, or who just need some
excitement in life! Started by a real sugar baby, SugarSugar.com only accepts true, proven sugar daddies and sugar babies, and provides a staff of sugar dating experts to help you find the perfect mutually beneficial arrangement.
Sugar Daddy relationships are as old as mankind itself. Men have a natural instinct to surround themselves with beauty, and women have always sought out the security of a mature, financially stable man. While these aren't the only
qualifications for a good dating experience, they are a good place to start!
|11th May |
Porn apps for Android phones
See article from
A new website for accessing porn video and adult apps for the Android platform has debuted.
The developers of AndroidPorn said their site is mobile optimized and supports full browsing on every available Android smartphone regardless of
carrier, screen size or device processor.
Mike of AndroidPorn told XBIZ, The market for Android mobile specifically is growing more rapidly than any other, but the Apple marketing campaigns have managed to confuse many merchants into thinking
that the iPhone or iPad are the predominant mobile devices.
|9th May |
Wannabe censors eye standardised age ratings for phone apps
See article from zdnetasia.com
|8th May |
South Korea app store removes adult material
See article from
South Korea seems to be taking a dim view about adult material available for mobile phones.
Korea's largest mobile service operator, SK Telecom, will close down its hot zone category on its T Store. This section currently offers 600 adults
only products including photos, cartoons and videos. T Store is extremely popular in Korea with some 6.6 million subscribers.
The hot zone used an age verification procedure in which users had to prove they were 19 years of age or older.
But teenagers often used their parents' resident registration numbers to get around the system.
SK Telecom is taking the move despite the hot zone being a cash cow. In the first quarter of this year, SK Telecom raked in 3.8 billion won from
T Store. And 270 million - or 7% - came from the hot zone.
The ban comes after the Korea Communications Commission, the country's telecommunications censor, announced last month that it will look into ways to solve the 'problems' of
teenagers being exposed to obscene content in smartphone application stores.
The KCC said it is debating such measures as setting up separate application stores for adults and teenagers, among other options.
LG U+, the country's smallest
mobile service operator, also said it will come up with ways to tackle the availability of adult material to its teenage users.
|6th May |
Google and Apple generate an unencrypted location file on mobile devices even when geo-location services are turned
1st May 2011. Based on
article from kionrightnow.com
Security researchers have revealed that Apple's iOS 4 mobile operating system, which runs on the highly popular iPhone and iPad devices, constantly tracks and stores users' approximate location information without their knowledge or consent.
It has now been learned that law enforcement agencies have known about the secret iOS tracking for at least the last year, and have used the data to aid criminal investigations, according to CNet.
The information recorded by Apple is not a users' exact location; instead, the company tracks which cell tower each iOS device uses to connect to a wireless network.
Apple has never publicized any information about the tracking function.
collected cell tower and Wi-Fi access point information, which is transmitted to Apple every 12 hours.
According to a company called Katana Forensics, however, the unencrypted data is also used by law enforcement for their own
purposes. The information on the phone is useful in a forensics context, said Alex Levinson of Katana, who spoke with CNet. The company's iOS data extracting software, Lantern 2, is often used by small-town local police all the way up to state
and federal police, different agencies in the government that have forensics units.
Apple's iOS isn't the only mobile OS that collects user location information. Devices running Google's market-leading Android OS also keep a record of the
locations and unique IDs of the last 50 mobile masts that it has communicated with, and the last 200 Wi-Fi networks that it has 'seen,' according to the Guardian.
There may be a glimmer of hope for the little man in this, however.
Representative Edward Markey has come to the rescue, asking Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a letter sent this week to explain his company's privacy-encroaching ways. I am concerned about this report and the consequences of this feature for individuals'
privacy, Rep. Markey wrote in the letter, followed by a series of questions about the location data file and why, exactly, it exists.
6th May 2011. See
article from bbc.co.uk
Apple has released a software update after complaints that iPhones and iPads were secretly recording locations.
The problem came to light when security researchers found a hidden file on the devices containing a record of everywhere they had been.
The update, which is available through the iTunes store, cuts the amount of stored data to just a week and no longer transfers it to the owner's computer when the phone is connected.
And if users disable the location services setting on
their iPhone or iPad, it will stop collecting data completely.
Permission for the tracking was given by users, albeit hidden away in the terms and conditions for the iTunes store.
|4th May |
Dog fighting game app reappears with a new name
See article from
After a little controversy with Dog Wars , which Google pulled from the Android Market last week, Kage Games has returned with a new name, KG Dogfighting .
We appreciate everyone's thoughts about our app as we are firm believers
in the right to free speech and the free exchange of ideas, writes Kage Games.
These freedoms are the building blocks of the Google Android operating system and the very reason so many users choose Google Android over the alternative.
A Google spokesperson talking to the LA Times has said that the original game wasn't removed because of any content issues, but because of copyright infringement , which suggests that this new title is enough to resolve the issues.
See article from reviews.cnet.com
The head of the LA Police Department's officers union has spoken out against the app, according to the Los Angeles Times, calling it sick and disgusting, despite its new name. The app may have especially struck the wrong chord
with police officers since it offers game players a gun that they can use in the event of police raids and to inject the virtual dogs with steroids.
In its response, PETA unveiled its own iPhone app last week that highlights stories about animal
cruelty, inviting users to share the details on Facebook and Twitter and take action by sending letters of protest to politicians, corporate executives, and other officials. The app also enables people to donate money to the cause through PETA's mobile
|27th April |
Whingeing at phone app game featuring dog fighting
Thanks to emark
article from peta.org
Kage Games, LLC, describes its Dog Wars app as a game that will never be in the iPhone App store.
And for good reason. Dog Wars features the training of virtual dogs to fight to the death and challenge other phone users to dogfights.
Alicia Silverstone was so 'appalled' when she heard about the Android phone app that she wrote a letter to the CEO of Google, maker of the Android, and Kage Games, asking that they pull the game right away:
As a mom-to-be and someone who has adopted and loved rescued pit bulls, I join PETA's millions of members in imploring you to cancel this game immediately. If one dog dies as a result of this game, you will not forgive yourself.
The app makers seemed to be anticipating a bit of nutter controversy and said in their game description:
It is just a video game. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish
wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games ... Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it.
|25th April |
RIM now blocks porn websites in Indonesia
See article from
Bowing to pressure from the Indonesian government, Research in Motion (RIM) is now filtering porn from its BlackBerry devices.
The company is reportedly cooperating with the Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology that
put pressure on RIM last January threatening to ask the six domestic telecommunications operators of BlackBerry's Internet services in Indonesia to stop supporting the company if it didn't block porn.
A report said the new filter is getting mixed
reviews but it doesn't appear it will have a major impact on BlackBerry use in the country.
Update: Indonesia still unhappy
17th December 2011. See
article from zdnet.com
Indonesian government has again threatened to shut down BlackBerry services in the region, as the company has not been cooperative , the Jakarta Post reports.
This decision likely comes as a result of Research in Motion (RIM) opting to
build their latest datacenter in neighbouring Singapore, despite it having a much smaller BlackBerry consumer market.
RIM had agreed with the government that it would establish a datacenter by December 31st as part of a series of agreements
decided upon in September. However it was not specified that RIM would necessarily build the server on Indonesian soil, but it was expected due to Indonesia having the largest number of BlackBerry users in the south-east Asia market.
BlackBerry data is processed through Research in Motion's datacenters in Canada, which allows the data to be uniquely secure; something that no other network offers. It also means however that the Indonesian government does not have access to the data.
|26th March |
Apple ludicrously censors Eve's breasts in an environmentally themed game
See article from
Global charity Wellcome Trust's hidden word game Filth Fair is based on a piece of artwork from renowned painter Mike Wilks (who did The Ultimate Alphabet books), which feature 331 words related to filth, dirt, hygiene, and the history of
cleanliness and waste products.
The game is that it's part of its Dirt Season, which also features a BBC TV series, an exhibition in London, and various other events at dirty locations in the UK .
But it wasn't all the talk of poo
and other excremental substances that got the game into trouble. Instead, it appears a couple of bare breasts were the cause of the problem.
Eve has now been covered up and you ca get Filth Fair - which is a free app - for your iPhone, iPod
touch and iPad, although for some bizarre reason it's age-rated 17.
|23rd March |
Apple chooses gay rights over christian anti-gay nonsense and free speech
19th March 2011. Based on article from christianpost.com
app details from exodusinternational.org
petition from change.org
article from theregister.co.uk by Jane Fae Ozimek
Ever since Apple set themselves up to be moral censors then there was a danger of being caught up in moral conflicts. The latest example perhaps shows where conflicts can arise that simply would not occur in an uncensored system.
International claims to be the world's largest Christian ministry dealing with homosexual issues. It has a website featuring lots of anti-gay sentiment that surely reinforces the general religious perception that being gay is a sin. However, it does not
call for anything in the way of violence, nor is it threatening, nor is it likely to fall under any gay hatred legislation.
But as soon as it branches out from its tolerated and legal website into the world of Apple apps, it opens itself up for
censorship, just because a moral censor has previously established a private moral test.
The LGBT rights group Truth Wins Out has established a petition on Change.org:
Exodus International, the notorious
ex-gay organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders. The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+
rating from Apple, meaning that it contains no objectionable content.
No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus' message is hateful and bigoted. They claim to offer freedom from homosexuality through
the power of Jesus Christ and use scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients. They endorse the use of so-called reparative therapy to change the sexual orientation of their clients,
despite the fact that this form of therapy has been rejected by every major professional medical organization including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association. But
reparative therapy isn't just bad medicine -- it's also very damaging to the self-esteem and mental health of its victims.
Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the
green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a sin that will make your heart sick and a counterfeit. This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.
Apple needs to be told, loud and clear, that this is unacceptable. Stand with Truth Wins Out -- demand that the iTunes store stop supporting homophobia and remove the Exodus app.
the petition has attracted about 26,000 signatures.
There's no such measure of support levels for Exodus International but surely being a major example of a US christian group suggests that it has massive support too.
Perhaps Exodus is
justified in its concern that Apple is in danger of failing to meet the diverse needs of their customer base by denying them access to all viewpoints regarding sexuality.
Update: Apple chooses gay rights over
christian anti-gay nonsense and free speech
23rd March 2011. See article from
Taking a bite out of
freedom of speech?
Apple appears to have pulled an iPhone and iPad app promising freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus after coming under fire from gay rights activists.
More than 146,000 people signed a petition calling on Apple to remove
the so-called gay cure app backed by Exodus International, a Christian group that describes itself as the world's largest worldwide ministry to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.
The app has been on sale since
February 15 but was last night no longer available. Apple has yet to comment on the furore that the app sparked.
|10th March |
Australia proposes to allow apps to be sold without state censorship rating unless flagged for review by the public
See also Net classification
costly: Telstra, RIM from zdnet.com.au
Australian Home Affairs minister Brendan O'Conner has revealed proposed new laws to Parliament to allow the censorship of apps and games sold online.
Technically the Classification Board should review every app, but because of the sheer size of
the app store -- it contains hundreds of thousands of apps -- it is simply impossible to do so because of a lack of resources.
O'Conner says instead of having the Classification Board review every single app, the Government will use the online
content system which in based on ratings provided by the store. The store allows users to complain about offensive material. Only apps that receive complaints will be subject to review by the Australian Censorship Board.
If Apple, or any other
marketplace provider such as Google, continued to sell content that is refused classification then they would be breaking the law, O'Conner said: We would prosecute people who actually broke the law . People cannot [be allowed to] break the
law. People cannot at the moment sell, distribute or watch... games that have been refused classification.
App makers say it would be too cumbersome. MoGeneration chief executive Keith Ahern says the current system within the App Store is
working well: The current system is probably more effective than anything the Government can introduce. So maybe the bigger question is, how does the App Store set this? I would say that system has been partly responsible for the success of the app
|5th March |
O2 now blocks adult sites until users make a credit card payment to
verify their age
See article from
O2 has been criticised by its customers after it implemented the age verification system without warning on Thursday.
Any of its 20m users who try to access a page that has been rated as 18+ will have to go through a verification page which
demands a payment from a credit card.
The company insists that it has taken the step as a child protection measure. Previously it only implemented the block if the buyer or controller of a phone requested it, such as a parent buying for a child.
But the flip from the longstanding opt-in system to an opt-out system, where people have to make a payment on a credit card as an age verification measure -- on the basis that credit cards are only available and accessible to
over-18s -- has annoyed users.
Users in its forums have worried that they are being scammed, and complained that O2 is censoring them.
O2 says that the move is not censorship, and that it is not profiting from the verification
process. A £ 1 payment is made, but £ 2.50 is then refunded to the credit card and the phone is approved for full access. Customers only have to age verify once.
An O2 spokesperson acknowledged that people would have found it inconvenient and apologised for the lack of publicity for the introduction of the scheme.
It could have been handled better, the spokesperson said.
News reports have also being picking on examples of over-blocking when innocuous sites have been put on the 18+ list for very little reason.
Changing to default blocking will
surely make over-blocking a far greater issue. When opting for blocking, then it is presumably for the benefit of children and a 'better safe than sorry' approach makes sense. The kids just have to lump it.
But with a default blocking system, then
an over-blocking approach will simply irritate users as their favourite websites get blocked for no apparent reason.
And of course there could be grounds for court compensation claims. Companies will be rightfully aggrieved if they lose business
due to their websites being incorrectly blocked by O2.
|23rd February |
Government issues order to suspend messaging services via Blackberry Enterprise Server
See article from
Reporters Without Borders urges the Indian government to rescind an order it issued to national telecom operators on 13 February to suspend all mobile messaging services that cannot be monitored by the country's law enforcement agencies, including the
BlackBerry smartphone's corporate email service, called BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
The move is the latest step in the government's battle with Research In Motion, the BlackBerry's Canadian manufacturer, for access to the BlackBerry's encrypted
services. Reporters Without Borders fears that it could lead generalized monitoring, filtering and censorship of mobile Internet services.
Citing national security needs, India had given RIM until 31 January to provide it with access to the
encrypted data on BlackBerry Enterprise Server. RIM had previously given the Indian authorities the ability to monitor its consumer messaging services, including BlackBerry Messenger and email. RIM finally responded on 28 January with a statement that it
could not surrender the keys to BlackBerry Enterprise Server's encrypted data because it did not have them. The only keys were those held by its corporate clients, RIM claimed.
The order issued three days ago to commercially-owned telecom
operators Bharti, Vodafone, Idea, Rcom and Tatas and to state-owned operators BSNL and MTNL was the Indian government's response to RIM's statement.
|6th February |
Deadline passes for RIM to enable Indian snooping on business networks
See article from
Indian Blackberry users could face a ban after the phone's maker failed to meet a government deadline to grant access to encrypted business communications.
Officials in Delhi claim they need to read encrypted Blackberry messages to help guard
against terrorist attacks. They have been locked in negotiations with Research In Motion, which makes the popular device, since last summer.
However as a January 31 deadline passed, RIM said it would not lift encryption for its business clients.
Standard subscriptions with a telephone company can be snooped upon but businesses using their own server can retain the key without providing it to RIM for snooping purposes.
RIM said that complying with the January 31 deadline had proven
technically impossible because does not have the ability to unencrypt messages on business private networks.
It is unclear what steps the government may take as a result of the missed deadline, but senior officials have warned that they would not
take no for an answer.
|5th February |
BBFC provide a free iPhone app with their latest ratings and information
See article from
The BBFC have provided a new app available for iPhone and iPad with the description"
Check out the latest film and DVD classification decisions from the BBFC. Whether you are at home, at the cinema or out
and about, get detailed information about why the film or DVD you are thinking of seeing or buying got the classification it did.
Interesting to note the rating has been rated:
for Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
Presumably the app is not carrying the full range of certificates lest Apple get offended by titles such as Rocco Siffredi's Stick your iPhone up your Arse 17.
|31st January |
Phone app keeps protestors up to date with info such as the location of police kettles
Thanks to Nick
article from thenextweb.com
An app has been launched to coordinate status, information, maps and messages for London protestors
The service, which went live with tie in with an organised student protest in London, runs in mobile web browsers and promises to display a
wide range of information about the protest, including live updates about any trouble that might be brewing between the police and protesters along the route. Users can submit information about the current situation via Twitter, Google Latitude, Flickr,
TwitPic and SMS.
For those without a web browser on their phone, Sukey will be tweeting out updates, which users can subscribe to using SMS alerts.
The name Sukey stems from the nursery rhyme Polly put the kettle on , in which a
character called Sukey takes it off again .
|15th January |
Phone sex service on the decline in Australia
Based on article
While the adult entertainment industry in general has flourished online, one sector has become all but extinct.
Phone sex - based on the 1900 numbers usually listed in newspaper and magazine classified sections - will soon be a thing of the past.
Around Australia, adult phone services advertisements are shrinking every year.
Fiona Patten, of the Eros Foundation, said phone sex had almost disappeared over the past decade, as customers turned to cheaper or free content on the internet: With the new technology online, it's really made the phone sex ads kind of quirky.
It used to be around 25 per cent of all ads in adult magazines but now it's all about downloading adult content to your mobile.
In South Australia, print ads have declined by almost 65% since 2005, from 475 ads a week in The Advertiser
to just 169 a week in 2011. The average per-minute price of phone sex services also has dropped dramatically in the past decade.
|15th January |
RIM agree to censor porn for Blackberry phones in Indonesia
13th January 2010. See
article from thestar.com
Facing a BlackBerry ban in Indonesia, Research In Motion. says it will comply as soon as possible with a government demand that it block pornography from its smartphones.
RIM has until Jan. 21 to begin filtering porn sites or face legal
action including revocation of its permit to operate in the country, one of RIM's fastest-growing international markets. Communication and information technology minister Tifatul Sembiring said that may include a complete blocking of the BlackBerry's web
RIM is in talks with domestic phone carriers to find a remedy, the Waterloo, Ont-based company said in a statement. It did not respond to a request for further comment.
Better in Malaysia
15th January 2011. See article from
Malaysia will not ban the use of the Blackberry smartphone as of now as it has not caused any problem with regard to security, culture and administration, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.
said, if there were sections of society with the facts to prove that the Blackberry phone were causing problems, the ministry through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), would investigate the matter under the country's existing
He was referring to reports that the Indonesian government planned to ban the use of the Blackberry phone in the republic if its order for the service provider to implement pornography blockers and to create a server is not adhered to
Update: Worse in India
15th January 2011. See
The Indian government, which fears that the heavy encryption on RIM's BlackBerry smartphones makes them convenient for terrorists to use undetected, has asked RIM to grant access to its messenger services before Jan 31, 2011.
According to WSJ:
The lawful access capability now available to RIM's carrier partners meets the standard required by the government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace, RIM said in a customer
update seen by Dow Jones Newswires.
No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server [corporate email] customers since, contrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same
around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys, RIM's customer update said.
RIM continues to work closely with the government and RIM's carrier partners in India…We are
pleased to have delivered a solution well before a mutually agreed milestone date of January 31, 2011, RIM said.