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Ofcom And Mobile Providers Take RIM To Task Over Porn Access

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BlackBerry mobiles allow kids to access porn sites but RIM promises to block illegal content in a matter of days

BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM), will be meeting with Ofcom and network operators today to explain why it has failed to filter pornography on its mobile phones, Techweek Europe has been told.

The regulator confirmed that inappropriate material may be accessed on RIM’s BlackBerry devices, and  that it has called together the mobile network operators, RIM and the  Internet Watch Foundation to further discuss the issue.

All access pass

UK mobile networks operate under a code of practice, under the auspices of the Mobile Broadband Group and in collaboration with the IWF, to prevent access to inappropriate and illegal content, including blocking access to pornography by minors.

The BlackBerry handset, which holds a 37 percent market share among young adults and teens and was heavily criticised for its apparent role in the Summer riots, allows users to download inappropriate content, including pornography even if its network operator has filters in place to prevent this, according to a report by The Telegraph.

This is because data is routed through RIM’s own servers, rather than those of the network provider. According to a statement on mobile provider Three’s Website, UK networks “follow a content code of practice. This sets out the steps we take to try and keep children from seeing anything unsuitable”. However, it notes, “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.”

T-Mobile, according to the Telegraph report, is the only operator which has blocks in place for its BlackBerry handsets.

According to an Ofcom spokesperson, the regulator has already “discussed the matter with RIM, which has committed to resolve the problem as soon as possible, with the illegal sites blocked in a matter of days”.