BlackBerry porn problem triggers investigation

Chris Davies - Dec 19, 2011, 4:10 am CST
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BlackBerry porn problem triggers investigation

Uncontrollable mobile porn on BlackBerry handsets has prompted UK communications regulator Ofcom to demand RIM account for its smartphones’ security, summoning the Canadian firm to a smut summit. “It was brought to our attention that there was a problem” an Ofcom spokesperson told The Telegraph, “to do with the way in which the BlackBerry operating system works”; it’s suggested that the secure browsing functionality on BlackBerry devices allows underage users to bypass the usual carrier blocks on pornographic content.

RIM will have several mobile operators to share the stage with at the summit, as Ofcom attempts to find a workable solution to the sexy oversight. The company is said to have already fashioned a system of its own, which was offered to UK networks, though only one – T-Mobile UK – apparently adopted it. On non-BlackBerry devices, content considered only suitable for adults – including not only pornography but mobile gambling and more – is blocked, usually requiring either a credit card be used to prove the user is over 18, or demanding that they contact their carrier’s customer services to have it revoked.

“We are very concerned and want to get this resolved as quickly as possible” Ofcom has said, though the issue has already caught the attention of at least one UK politician who intends to take it further with the government. BlackBerry handsets have seen a significant rise in demand among younger UK mobile users, tempted by the relative low cost of phones and service charges, the bundled BBM IM system, and the secure nature of communications between them.

That encryption led to BlackBerry phones helping rioters avoid police in widespread violence on UK streets earlier this year, with RIM threatened with hacks and data breaches if it agreed to cooperate with security services. The platform’s privacy has also led to problems in Indonesia where the government demanded a porn ban of its own.


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