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S'pore operators to regulate mobile content

M1, SingTel and StarHub have jointly created a code of practice that seeks to limit access to undesirable content by young persons.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The country's three mobile operators have developed a new code of practice for the development and marketing of mobile content.

The initiative, unveiled Wednesday, joins MobileOne (M1), SingTel and StarHub in an attempt to respond to concerns over an underaged person's easy access to undesirable content via his mobile phone.

According to a statement jointly released by the three operators, the code for self-regulatory purposes is available on the companies' Web sites, and identifies content that are inappropriate for mobile subscribers in Singapore.

As laid out in the code, prohibited content includes subject matters that depict nudity, sexual activity, or promote extreme violence, and racial or religious intolerance.

The types of content include images, games and chat services provided by mobile operators or third-party content operators that have contractual arrangements with the mobile operators.

The code also lays out guidelines on how certain content should be distributed. For example, the code recommends that appropriate warning should be issued to mobile subscribers of chat services, highlighting that the nature of the content transmitted may be unsuitable for young persons.

The framework however, does not cover subscriber-to-subscriber communications, nor does it have control over content obtained through the Web. But mobile operators can provide the option of disabling GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) access to mobile phone holders who are minors.

The three Singapore-based operators also announced that they will jointly establish a compliance review committee to ensure the guidelines remain relevant and effective over time.

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