Unblocking Content

We’ve heard some troubling reports from Russia about its newest draconian law, a government-run Web-filtering protocol ostensibly designed to ‘protect children’. It gives officials (who? how many are there?) the power to unilaterally block-out websites based upon an unacceptably broad rationale.

Protecting children can be used as a red herring that can justify censoring virtually any legitimate non-porn ‘adult’ site, after all. In Russia, this is being done at the discretion of a particular political party, which now has control over the viewable Web, rather than at the discretion of a democratic council of pro-children voices.

We feel appalled at this news — and yet in the back of our minds this escalating Internet oppression, if you will, may appear a reason to feel thankful we live in a freer democratic country. … But, have you ever heard of the ‘IMCB’?

IMCB stands for ‘Independent Mobile Classification Body’. Hm. … Have you come across the phrase ‘content filtering’ or ‘Internet content blocking’ yet?

As it turns out, unfortunately for us, the IMCB is acting much like the Russian government, but with the actual task of ensuring that mobile users are over 18 when accessing adult content.  How is this age verification happening? The re are classificationsmade of websites, and those considered unfit for children are labeled and blocked by default on most pay as you go plans.

  • Virgin
  • Vodaphone
  • O2
  • Tmobile
  • Orange

All of the above mobile carriers utilize the IMCB’s filtering, which often excludes online casinos and mobile casinos, too (less likely for prepaid accounts where the customer’s name and personal details are on record). The filtration can happen on any compatible device, of course, whether you’re on an iPhone or a Blackberry, Android or Windows Phone. The censorship comes from the top: your ISP.

Even adult users are almost always viewing a Web that isn’t all there. The IMCB makes mistakes (or maybe it is otherwise, we are left to wonder). There is ‘over-blocking’ and overly conservative estimates.

Now, how do you unblock your mobile? Basically, it takes getting in touch with customer service reps at your ISP and explaining that you wish content filtering removed for your account.

TIP: Going to High Street in person to get unblocked can be faster.

There are a few problems, including the embarrassment of asking to view ‘adult’ content (when you just want to see the whole Web). Some have suggested our requests to unblock be called parental controls instead, to remove the awkwardness. Sometimes service providers could be better trained to handle such requests, also.

The bottom line, really, is a question of freedom of expression for humanity, now that we have this incredible medium of worldwide sharing. What a shame for it get closed, funneled and filtered.

On the other hand, the parental hand, you need your kids safe from encountering sudden cleavage and scams. You’re probably better off keeping your Web access unfiltered, then securing it yourself to protect the kids.

There are some better things you can do for safety:

  • Submit identity verification to your ISP
  • Run a parental control app like PhoneSheriff
  • Hide your IP address
  • Use a re-applying filter when minors use the phone

Play safe games with friendly content, read the full review of Desert Treasure here and Iron man slots here.