jkt's blog


Czech Vodafone started filtering the Internet

Today I finally got time to open my last cell phone bill and found something which seemed like an error. I picked up the phone, called the customer service and got greeted by an automated voice that by the way mentioned to me that "To improve the child protection on the Internet, Vodafone has decided to filter out access to suspicious or illegal sites" (rough translation of a spoken notice). This made me really surprised as this is the first action of such kind in this country, AFAIK.

When I got put through to the operator and had solved the issue I was calling about, I asked him what the recently introduced filtering is, how exactly it works and if I can have it deactivated (I for one don't like my ISP deciding what I can and what I can't read, that seems too Chinese to me). He explained that this is done to protect the safety of children on the Internet (I don't consider myself a child, and feel pretty much comfortable on the Internet, thank you), works by filtering based on a "list of illegal sites", like those offering child pornography (I don't really suspect crowds of people downloading child pornography through their cell phones and watching it on the tiny screen) or promoting racism.

In their press release, they are nicely making the whole issue sound like an optional filter that allows parents to block drugs/sex/whatever from reaching their children, while in fact this is a ridiculous attempt to filter the Internet for all customers. When I pay for GPRS access, I pay for access to the Internet as a whole, not to a subset of it (and the "subset" is a very precise word here, and I even make the customer care guy say it to me). So, it seems that even Czech republic is starting to follow the admirable leadership of certain countries to censor as much as possible :(...

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Tags: gentoo, kde.