Porn "hijacks" SingTel Mobile surfers

Unsuspecting surfers looking to find a good handphone deal were dealt with a "crude" blow--a "SingTel Mobile" Web site which redirects to a multimedia-enabled pornography site.

SINGAPORE--Unsuspecting surfers looking to find a good handphone deal were dealt with a "crude" blow--a "SingTel Mobile" Web site which redirects to a multimedia-enabled pornography site.

At first glance, visitors, over 21 of course, will be "greeted" by a member of popular sitcom Friends before the "tour" begins.

The site contains two million pictures of more than 1,000 well-endowed men and women, plus over 200 hours of adult movies.

SingTel Mobile is the cellular subsidiary of telecoms giant Singapore Telecommunications Ltd.

A check with Register.com, a domain name registration service, revealed that the site in question was not registered to SingTel. No names were provided apart from an Armenian address and an Idaho, US telephone number.

According to Register.com, the domain is currently for sale although it was registered on July 1, 2001 and expires on July 1, 2002. The telephone number provided led to an automated voice message.

Clearly, this was a case of cybersquatting and not SingTel's attempt to boost its sluggish share performance.

When alerted, a SingTel spokesperson said that it would be seeking legal advice.

Cybersquatters have long been a persistent nuisance to legitimate businesses. Even giants such as Coca-Cola, Dell, eToys as well as superstar Madonna have been previous victims.

At home, Singapore Airlines and Singapore Cable Vision have had similar experiences. Singaporegirl.com returned to her rightful place after the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo) intervened last September.

The airline also managed to wrest the singaporeairlines.com domain name back from Spanish company P&P Servicios de Communication.

"The .com domain comes under US jurisdiction and therefore we can't do anything about it," an Info-communications Development Authority official said.

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