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Ofcom: Operators Must Self-regulate Adult Content

By Jason Ankeny

Mobile operators must continue to self-regulate their mobile content efforts or else "face termination of future business," according to British independent communications regulator and competition authority Ofcom.

Citing widespread mobile web use among children, Ofcom research notes that most young consumers would not tell their parents if they stumbled across adult content on the mobile platform--the regulatory group said operators must step up their efforts to guarantee that phone users know how to block unsuitable material, adding that its existing code of practice, which restricts adult-rated material to non-age-verified subscribers, remains an effective tool for restricting access to inappropriate content.

"Only 15 percent of adults who use a mobile and who have a child in their household are aware of age verification systems," Ofcom said. "We, therefore, recommend that mobile operators redouble their efforts to ensure that the information supplied by retailers, customer services and websites is easy to understand and is accessible. This is particularly important where the default setting for content controls is off."

Ofcom notes that the mobile industry has made significant investment in establishing and implementing content controls, introducing a warning/sanction protocol viewed by both operators and content providers as an effective compliance mechanism. [FierceMobileContent]

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