BlackBerry to meet UK regulator over 'porn filter'

Summary:UK communications regulator is looking to speak to the BlackBerry maker, after it was found that children and teenagers could access pornography on the smartphone.

Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry smartphone range, is to meet the UK phone and broadband regulator Ofcom, over concerns that the phones can be used by children to access pornography.

Ofcom confirmed that there "was a problem", after the matter was brought to the regulator's attention.

UK mobile phone networks voluntarily implement filters to block adult content, for which a parent or guardian can subscribe to.
But because BlackBerry data runs through Research in Motion's own servers, the mobile filters put in place by the networks do not work.

"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", the regulator said, speaking to The Inquirer.

(Modified from source: Flickr)

The Telegraph reports that the Ontario-based smartphone giant did offer its own filtering system, but only T-Mobile took up the offer. T-Mobile snapped up an agreement with the BlackBerry maker in 2006 when it began selling the smartphone.

It is not known whether the service Research in Motion offered was charged, or declined due to reasons relating to cost.

Seeing as teenagers and younger people are one of the highest demographics in the UK of BlackBerry smartphone use. Over 8 million UK mobile phone owners subscribe to the BlackBerry service, the majority of which are under the age of 30.

Earlier this year, the BlackBerry network went down across a four-day period, which left an estimated 70 million people with nothing short of an expensive paperweight.

Data services were heavily disrupted by a problem that stemmed from a BlackBerry datacenter in Slough, near London, that subsequently spread across the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas, including the U.S. and Canada.

Related:

Topics: Government : US, BlackBerry, Government, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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