back to article O2 boots up boobies blocker

O2 has finally switched on its porn-blocker, much to the annoyance of customers who don't see why they should prove their age. British mobile operators are required to provide age-verification before allowing access to "adult" content, but different operators opt customers in and out by default. It seems that O2 is now …


This topic is closed for new posts.


    1. Pablo

      Or you could just stop being Nazis

      Yeah, that would work too, huh?

  1. Luther Blissett

    "O2 outsources its age filters to Bango"

    Naturally. Any other entity would lack credibility. With O2 management, that is. The name says it all in our postmodern feudalist society.

  2. Abs@O2

    Answers to your questions

    Hi everyone,

    I've seen few comments here on why O2 has blocked a particular website, why is O2 asking to verify my age now and what are the different ways to verify the age on your O2 mobile (if one is not comfortable in giving our his/ her credit card details).

    You can find more details and answers to all your questions here - Hope it's useful!



  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High-frequency porn

    I like it

  4. HappyMisery

    For the Kids? Bollocks!

    So is it a surprise that O2 launch a nanny system in the last few weeks of the financial year?

    Most age verification tools will allow a debit card transaction whereby they will make a deposit and then retake the deposit (normally a penny)

    Its obvious that the motive of O2 is to get 19 million customers to pay £1 each as a cash influx into the business. It's transparent and sickening.

    The £2.50 credit is not a refund, it's money back on a network for which they have already invested.

    Their stance of "We want to ensure that children are not accessing adult content" is a pure smokescreen.

    Did they want to make sure that I'm an adult when setting up a Direct debit for £90 per month?


    Do they check my age before sending me a new handset?



    Scumbag tactics for such a large company.

    1. Andrew Woodvine

      Re: For the Kids? Bollocks!

      You pay £1 and you pay £2.50 less on your next bill. O2 are £1.50 down each time they remove the pr0n block. If this has been done to generate a "cash influx" it's not the brightest idea.

      If you're on a contract then they asked you to provide your date of birth when taking out the contract and you had to be over 18. If you were under 18 and lied about your date of birth you will probably have failed the credit check.

      You are asked to prove your age to remove the pr0n block as some people who are over 18 take out a contract and give the phone to someone under 18.

      So the only bollocks is what you're talking. Whether O2 are justified to place the block by default is another matter.

  5. DR

    think of the adults!

    just tried. (seemed like it would be on the lighter side or wrongness!)

    apparently I'm old enough to buy an iphone, old enough to sign a credit agreement for the tariff to use it, yet not old enough to use it as I wish...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The need for a CC

    Because any monkey can get hold of a debit card/prepaid card these days.

    Web browsing on a mobile or 3G dongle is crap anyway, no matter what phone or network.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So I work in O2 cust service

    And the first I knew about this was when all the agents in our unit started asking about the new calls on this single issue. Nobody informed us anything was happening. Asking for a manager would get you nowhere, asking for his manager would get you nowhere (I know, I am that manager, and I had no idea).

    I should get more details on my next shift, I'll post back.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      What was the story?

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Ok....fixed line requires an "adult" paying bills to get broadbad....yes 16 year olds can get this...BUT if they are classed as adults (Ohhh they can have you know what) then ok.....THEY take the resonabilty as EVERY adult in the UK does, to do the correct thing and make sure little Jonny does not have access to the www as they would not take the kid to a pole dancing club, one would hope!

    mobiles are purcahsed to keep in conact with little jonny by mum and dad.......and if they then have free rain over the net this is bad. It is not possible to block xxx as it is from jonny's PC where they do have control? Simple answer is a credit card check.

    Opt in is always better than opt out.............

    the main issue is you should always be able to opt out of what the company wants to harvest (not opt out of the law) and still get the web, app that you want to use and quite often pay for!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I was really pissed off they would do this to a 30 year old man having had an O2 contract since it was BT Cellnet. Then I thought about it, did the silly CC dance and essentially O2 just paid me 1.50 to look at boobs.. great..

    anyone want to give me a fiver and I'll go and buy the daily sport too..

  10. Graham Anderson

    blocks apps too

    I've been having trouble using a popular gay dating app on the iPhone for the last day or so (when did the block come on?). The app kept just hanging and I thought it was the app's fault. When I tried accessing the dating site using Mobile Safari, I got the age verification messaging for the first time.

    So you'll have a chunk of users who are using apps rather than phone browsers who can't see the messaging from O2 at all.

    I just asked for my PUK - I've had problems with pre-paying for international data where they credit the add-on the *following billing cycle*, ending up with me being charges extoritionate rates for mobile roaming in the US when I thought I was covered, and having a useless bundle of pre-paid data a month after my trip. Add in crap mobile reception and many dropped calls, this is the last straw for me.

  11. MarkSpoff

    We were taken down by o2's filter on Monday

    We're a brand new UK startup that's all about Fresh Local Food and Drink.

    On Friday, Apple featured us on the front page of the Apple Store. We were thrilled.

    We learned today - after 3 days of massively reduced traffic and a fear we'd got something very wrong, that we'd fallen foul of o2 censorship. Goodness only knows why. On Monday o2 shut down our iPhone app for all customers on it's network; by blocking our web-app framework. The framework that powers us, our App lost all functionality and our initial surge of interest - 17,500 downloads in our first 2 weeks, tailed off.

    I'll stop there. I'm furious but helpless in the circumstances. They apologised for their mistake late today - they'll have us up and running tomorrow. Well woopy-bloody-do!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Please sue them! Large damages are the only way to teach something to a big company.

  12. ambrosen

    Best site I came across this on:

    I had to activate adult content to get access to on Orange. I can't be too sure but it looks as if there was a little conflict of interest there, right?

  13. Dave F.

    Depends Who You Get!

    Phoned up O2 C/S, I just gave date of birth and they agreed to lift the block. What worries me more is that Bango store all the information that O2 are denying they do. Who is in charge here and why don't O2 just admit it or grow a backbone! Moving to three one plan in a month!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Three's net filtering is another story...

      They will charge you £1 for removing it, and this will only let you access (and pay extra for) their own pr0n portal, not the blocked sites.

      Also, whenever you go to even the most innocent, but blocked site (Yup, they block sites with 'chat functionality'!), you still get redirected to their pr0n portal with a nice list of topics, big XXX logo and alike. Their rep on tweeter (@threeUK) said they know it's 'a shocker' and they were supposedly working on it - and they're still working after - as far as I remember - half a year.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anon: Because they may come for me

      Ahhh Customer dis-services.

      Which, in my case, take many minutes to not answer.

      And after inputting my cc details the block was lifted.....but wait....I only had to enter what was on the card text back to the ' email.....just the details off the front and the sec code off the back ?

      Oh well, at least I got £2.50 of credit on the 'phone ?

      No !

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's an idea

    When speaking to O2 agents, boldy claim that you want the "porn access unlocked". So if you're in a O2 phone shop, say it out loud and proud so that other customers hear you. Think of the embarrasment you can cause to the O2 folks :)

  15. Steve Brooks


    Of course it will take, oooh, a day or two for some smart arse to imitate the O2 credit card demand on their website and start harvesting punters CC numbers now that 02 have got ppl used to doing it. Or is it already happening, it usually takes a few weeks for the actual authorities to find out and embarrasment to rise to visible levels.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A title

    If it worked I wouldn't be so annoyed, but even image search on google is blocked!

  17. Robocat

    O2 blocking harmless sites

    So I am a long-term O2 customer. Today I click on an email link in my smartphone email to take me to a completely harmless, bog-standard dating service and up pops the Age-Verification rubbish. So I reluctantly hand over my details to this company I've never heard of and get an SMS letting me know I've been verified.

    Now that's wonderful - except it still won't connect. I am re-directed to O2's woeful page when I click the link. So the age verification process still doesn't stop O2 re-writing your links and actually appears to not work.

    Good job O2 - this is why people wish mobile operators become dumb pipes.

  18. Mr Larrington

    They're not the only ones

    Somewhere in the depths of Larrington Towers lies a scarcely-used Vodaphone dongle. It wouldn't let me upload my holiday snaps to Flickr, and wouldn't even let me verify my age online. I bought the bloody thing with a credit card.

    Vodaphone are a shower of dunces.

  19. CockKnocker

    So Unfair!

    There I was half way though a very enjoyable self abuse session at work and the porn blocker came on. This made me very angry so I rang up the O2 man, he was very nice though and let me finish myself off while he stayed on the phone.. (And If u dont have a credit card it takes 2 bloody days to get your mobile smut back!)

  20. Evil Genius
    Paris Hilton

    Obvious I know

    Free the O 2!!!

    Paris. If you have to ask, you're not 18.

  21. Dave@O2

    Quit whinging

    Who does the network belong to, you or O2? You probably got your phone subsidized as part of contract too, so you don't really own that either. Speaking of your contract, does it say "you have a right to receive free smut" anywhere in there? I thought not. If you don't like it, build your own cellular network. Otherwise, just pay your porno fee and quit complaining. If I have to deal with any more of you wankers I'm going to throw up.

    1. IanPotter

      RE: Quit whinging

      There's that famous O2 customer service in action, how it makes us love you...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Sim only ?

      Yeah, sim only contract and I bought my own phone. So, there goes that theory.

      And I pay for a service to access the internet while on the move. As others have noted, some *useful* sites are blocked, not just smut. Do I or do I not have the right to access useful sites while out and about? If I don't, what's the point in paying for access?

      I hope to God you're a troll...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    get lost, and ...

    what on earth is pornographic about Google Maps?

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    get lost, and ...

    what in earth is pornographic about Google Maps?

  24. trashbat

    Has anyone actually done this yet?

    I have, and like all O2 schemes, it doesn't work. Everything caught by the filter redirects to

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I am Mr 48 hours...

    Well, late yesterday evening I received an SMS stating "We've confirmed your age and you can now access 18 rated content. To change this setting call 61018 free".

    Except of course that calling 61018 will require a card (if I for some mad reason enable the filter again).

    The "18 rated content" I wanted (which caused all this for me) was a cartoon about the LHC.

    After I got the SMS I wound up getting redirected to the O2 website (as mentioned above), and I've had to reconnect to the mobile network (Android > Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile Network) before it started behaving.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How does this protect kids?

    This is such a dumb system. It is a one time opt in or out. That's useless. I let my kids use my mobile sometimes, cause they currently don't have their own. But now I have to give them an un-locked phone. Why unlock it you ask. Cause with the filters you cannot get to legitimate sites not just porn.

    There is no chance of opting out again when lending the phone to the kids. I would much rather have some form of parental controls on the phone. Or a system that allows you to free of charge to opt in and out at will. But this system is not worth it at all.

    In fact it is useless, as I would have to unlock the kids phones, if they had them, so they can get to the sites even they legitimately need to use.

    What's the point. This type of system needs to go through big changes / revisions before being rolled out. It just is not ready. It feels like an alpha of what it should be....

    Also how long before we get into trouble for abuse for letting kids near an unlocked internet connection. This whole thing stinks. Welcome to the United 'Puritanical' Kingdom.

  27. Gareth 18

    Age Verification Fail

    Just went to go through the whole farce of removing a block that should never have been there in the first place only to be told by the website my personal mobile was on a business account and I needed to speak to my account manager.

    Went into a store. No luck. I need to speak to my non-existent account manager. Useless bunch of cretins.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020