Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Your Rights Online

Cingular Filtering Porn From Wireless Web? 316

Posted by timothy
from the handhelds dept.
Atryn writes: "Cingular Wireless is reportedly blocking its customers from accessing 'objectionable material" via the Wireless Web.' The spokesman mentioned in the story disclaims knowledge of any blocking -- can any Cingular customers reading this confirm it?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cingular Filtering Porn From Wireless Web?

Comments Filter:
  • So? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neksys (87486)
    Unless you're looking at ascii porn [spacebarcowboy.com], who does this affect? doesn't the Cingular network support primarily text-based devices? I apologize if my understanding of this is incorrect.
    • Re:So? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ziplux (261840)
      That's not the point, the point is Cingular is setting a very dangerous precedent here. They are electing to limit bandwidth not based on the volume of data transfered but on its content. As we know, the consumer drives the market and if consumers want the ISP to filter the Internet WITHOUT their permission then other companies will adopt this policy. Pretty soon there will be no other option for people that want their Internet in its original unfiltered state.
      • Hello ziplux:

        What's the problem if it's just a corporation filtering the content? If a consumer doesn't like a company's policy, they are certainly free to change the service.

  • by jaxon6 (104115) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#3520194)
    What will the world be coming to? I work hard, I follow the rules, I play fair. And in return what do I get? The ability to watch ASCII porn on my phone yanked out from under me. If I want to wait the fifteen minutes per image, so be it. I needs my porn. Boycott! Boycott!
    • Deja doesn't show alt.binaries newsgroups - many employers block pages with swearwords in - employees get fired for sending e-mails with porn attachments - well this had to happen sooner or later didn't it? However you'd think a mobile phone company would be more interested in increasing the revenue per a customer than annoying them. Putting an error page instead was a good idea though because people think its a problem with the website and not with their mobile phone company.
  • by Cheesewhiz (61745) <ianp.mac@com> on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#3520197) Homepage
    can any Cingular customers reading this confirm it?

    So, wait...let me get this straight...you WANT me to view "objectionable material"? Man, what's next, naked pictures of Taco?

    (I feel kind of queasy now...)

  • by HanzoSan (251665) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#3520200) Homepage Journal
    Why dont they just change the word to CENSORING.

    Filtering means you can control it, CENSORSHIP means THEY control it.
    • CENSORSHIP means the GOVERNMENT controls it. Corporations can't censor, by definition. Get over it. It's filtering because it's their network and they don't have to allow anything they don't want.

      --Dan, who is sick of people accusing corporations of violating constitutional rights that specifically apply to congress making laws
      • I see this posted so often -- but it is incorrect. Censorship doesn't have to be done by the government (that's why radio and television have staffed censors, where even if they are inspired by the government, they each adhere to their own in-house standards).

        The thing which differentiates censorship from filtering is that censorship implies that the reason for removal is that the material in question was found to be objectionable (by the censor, whoever he or she is) for some reason. Thus, censorship is filtering based on the morals or the objectives of the censor. What the parent is objecting to is that in this case, it's the company who decides what's objectionable, and not the user.

        Here's the webster definition of "censor", which is very similar to the dictionary.com one:

        1 cen.sor \'sen(t)-sr\ n (15c)
        [L, fr. censre to assess, tax; akin to Skt asati he recites]
        1: one of two magistrates of early Rome acting as census takers, assessors,
        and inspectors of morals and conduct
        2: one who supervises conduct and morals: as
        2a: an official who examines materials (as publications or films) for
        objectionable matter
        2b: an official (as in time of war) who reads communications (as letters)
        and deletes material considered harmful to the interests of his organization
        3: a hypothetical psychic agency that represses unacceptable notions
        before they reach consciousness-- cen.so.ri.al \sen-'sr--l,
        -'sr-\ adj

        2 censor vt cen.sored; cen.sor.ing \'sen(t)s-(-)ri\ (1882)
        :to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable

        -Puk
      • At the risk of being accused of karma whoring, I've pulled a couple of relevant definitions from Dictionary.com [slashdot.org]:

        cen sor ship [dictionary.com] n 1. The act, process, or practice of censoring. 2. The office or authority of a Roman censor. 3. Psychology. Prevention of disturbing or painful thoughts or feelings from reaching consciousness except in a disguised form.
        cen sor [dictionary.com] n 1. A person authorized to examine books, films, or other material and to remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable. 2. An official, as in the armed forces, who examines personal mail and official dispatches to remove information considered secret or a risk to security. 3. One that condemns or censures. 4. One of two officials in ancient Rome responsible for taking the public census and supervising public behavior and morals. 5. Psychology. The agent in the unconscious that is responsible for censorship.

        Although the definition of censor includes the example of an army official, it seems pretty clear to me that any agent that determines whether content is morally or politically or otherwise objectionable, is acting as a censor. Corporations practice this all the time for various reasons, including marketing concerns (e.g., "We need a clean version of this album or Wal-Mart won't buy it.") I'll grant you that this is not automatically a violation of the First Amendment, and that it's not always objectionable. However, it's not exactly in the spirit of Free Speech, either.

        NB: If we use the above definitions, then Cingular may be engaging in censorship. Of course, we have to find out if they're actually blocking porn, first.

      • What gives them the right to censor us when we pay?!If its there network what the hell are we paying for? let them keep their network and lets pool our money and make our own
  • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @05:48PM (#3520201) Journal
    From the article, "Not that wireless Internet customers are missing much; porn images viewed on a cell phone are so pixelated it's tough to tell a nude from a smudge."

    Now how does Ben Charny (author of the article) know what porn pictures on the cell phone look like?

    Busted.

  • whoa (Score:3, Funny)

    by martissimo (515886) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @05:49PM (#3520210)
    never had considered the ability to get pr0n images on a cell phone, maybe the good old POTS line of mine is getting outdated after all!
  • by Darkstar9969 (516815) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @05:50PM (#3520218)
    You must be at least 18 in the USA to view Pr0n.

    You must present a drivers liscense and CREDIT CARD to get a cell phone.

    HOW can they legally restrict you from viewing ANYTHING legal to you as an adult via ANY means?

    Pr0n is legal for me to view if I'm old enough so for crying out loud let me if I wanna!

    Did I miss something???

    My $.02

    • Your parent can co-sign for you. I had my first cell phone at 16. I paid it all and everything, but the CC was my parents. Take a look around yourself. Do you REALLY think that only 18+ people have cell phones? You go to the mall nowadays and there are 11-year-olds chatting it up on their brand new phone.

      Sorry, try again.
    • HOW can they legally restrict you from viewing ANYTHING legal to you as an adult via ANY means?


      Very easily. They own the network. They can legally filter what they want. (The word you're looking for is WHY, and the legality isn't really in question.)

    • There's no law that says you have to be at least 18 to view pornography of individuals who are 18 or older.

      There are a variety of state and federal laws which try to hamper children from getting porn without their parent's permission. This is a very different thing.

    • The same way a bookstore or library can choose not to provide pornographic magazines.
      • A bookstore is offering you material that you can choose to buy or not to buy. A library is a free, public-funded service.

        A wireless service provider is a service that you have already paid for. It is possible to choose between different providers, but you still can't claim full resemblance. Basically, both a bookstore and a library should be able to control what information gets transmitted using their resources; a wireless provider should not.
    • I was getting credit card offers from the time I was 14.
      I conceivably could have gotten a license at 16.
      Online retailers (at least Amazon, who sold me mine) don't ask about licenses, anyway.

      Then again, I probably could have bought porn at the local corner store as a young teen, anyway.

      If I had a kid, I'd buy him a mobile phone, as well, for emergency use only (or limit him to a flat rate program, as a reward for chores, etc.) I'd restrict the internet for him (until he became a teenager, anyway) because if he was my offspring, he'd probably enjoy ascii porn as much as I did when I was a kid.

      (Imagine the father-son discussion that could happen: "when i was your age, I had to look at ascii boobs at 1200 baud.")
  • Give me a break. Why would I want to view porn on a screen the size of a PDA, much less your common cell phone? Yeesh!

    Perhaps they are blocking alt.sex.stories.spanking or something...

    Jack William Bell
    • Give me a break. Why would I want to view porn on a screen the size of a PDA, much less your common cell phone? Yeesh!

      Really! I wish someone had blocked me from downloading dithered EGA porn from BBSs before the internet - it was hardly worth it!
  • Maybe those two employees should ask their moms to call Cingular and ask to have the filter^H^H^H^H^H^Hcensoring stopped.

    I'm a Cingular customer, but I don't need internet on my cell phone.

  • "The Internet is the Internet," he added.

    As if it were something else. ZDNet Journalism at its best.

  • . . . lemmesee w (9) w (9) w (9) . (####) g (4) o (66) a (2) t (8) s (7777) e (33) . (####) c (222) x (99) . . . nope, not worth it.

    But this does pose an interesting question--what URL's are easily memorable, and are optimized for entry via telephone keypad as alpha?

  • For some reason I keep getting a Proxy error on my Cingular phone when I visit a lot of sites...INCLUDING THOSE ON CINGULAR'S SITE!!

    "Cannot display malformed content" is one I get on some parts of Cingular's site...

    It looks like some of the other sites I visit are okay now, Slashdot's site came up for the first time...I was using it to get an error and I can't get an error on any webpage anymore...(something about upstream content to the proxy)...Looks like it was fixed...Now time to go find some pr0n!
  • Ok let me start that Cingular doesn't have any business telling its customers where they should and should not go on the internet.

    That said, how many people are out there looking at porn on a cell phone? Besides the obvious limitations of an image on a black-and-white LCD screen, do some people really need their fix of pr0n so spontaneously that they can't get to their computer or local magazine stand?

  • by Fizzlewhiff (256410) <jeffshannon&hotmail,com> on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @06:05PM (#3520338) Homepage
    Given the size of most cell phone displays perhaps they are doing a public service by blocking pr0n by saving people from unneeded eye strain. Ok, so I am reaching....

    I'm just waiting for a voice over IP chat application on my cell phone. I think this will be the killer app for internet enabled cell phones. Imagine the convenience of being able to have a voice conversation on your internet enabled cell phone with another internet enabled cell phone user.
    • I am waiting for the RIAA backed $20/month option from Verizon Wireless and Kazza to store 16MB worth of 56kbit/sec encoded music that you can stream to your phone for "access to your music anywhere, anytime".
  • by Dr. Zowie (109983) <slashdot@defor e s t . o rg> on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @06:14PM (#3520387)
    Ham packet radio and even CB are subjected to the FCC's rather stringent requirements against profanity and obscenity. I remember this being a big deal when I daydreamed about setting up a packet-radio ISP link in the early 1990s -- even sort-of-innocuous newsfroups like rec.nude could get you into trouble. I'm not sure what's different now with 802.11b.
    • They are in a "no-need for license" free for
      all location in the microwave spectrum. This was originally set aside expect only the military to use it but then cordless phones, 802.11b, and bluetooth appeared. They are perfectly legal in this band as long as the broadcasting power is under a certain limit. Since each device doesn't require an independent license, they don't fall under the same FCC laws that radios and other communication devices do.
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @06:17PM (#3520411) Homepage Journal
    My understanding is that at least one of the wireless carriers has a list of 280 words you can't send via wireless. (Unless it's pay based, then they don't care). They fear that they might offend someone, and have a class action lawsuit brought against them.

    Don't even think of saying "redneck"... it's offensive.

    I've seen the future, it's not free, open 802.11b, it's people using WAP phones playing games, paying 20 cents to get the high score on a round of a trivia game, ending up huge phone bills. Just think AOL before they went flat rate.

    There's money in pay per click.

    Press SEND to get high kharma (for only 20 cents)
    --Mike--

  • pr0n!=bad for kids (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sean Clifford (322444) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @06:28PM (#3520494) Journal
    Okay, gotta sound off.

    Why is pr0n 'bad' for kids? When I was a kid, I looked at pr0n out of curiosity of what the big deal was. From puberty on, I looked at pr0n because of raging hormones. I wasn't sexually active as a teen, but sure looked at a lot of pr0n. It didn't turn me into Osama bin Laden.

    I just don't understand why Americans get into such a snit over sex and pornography; and yes, it's mostly Americans. Most everywhere else in the world porn and sex aren't that big of a deal.

    You can't really censor out pr0n; when I didn't get it from BBSes there was always my dad's magazine collection. It's just not worth the effort, except for stamping out child porn. I mean, really, can anyone demonstrate that pornography is bad for kids?

    • by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @06:36PM (#3520558) Homepage
      I just don't understand why Americans get into such a snit over sex and pornography; and yes, it's mostly Americans.

      It's a moot point. American culture is what God intended. God hates panders, sodomites and pornographers. Therefore America cannot have porn. America is the end of history and is what is supposed to happen, therefore the rest of the world's mores are wrong and must be subjugated to American will.

      I am being outrageous to make a point, but talking morality to Americans is like talking seal clubbing to a polar bear. They have it down, any other voice or idea is wrong. Just watch Fox News [foxnews.com] for a fair and balanced assessment of the subject. ;-p Anybody who says 'boo' to the opposite is a heathen devil sodomite who buggers little boys and votes for Al Gore.
    • by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@noSpAM.hoe.hn> on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @07:20PM (#3520809) Homepage
      All right, now this is getting slightly off topic, but possibly still just slightly, so: in response. Let me preface this by saying this is anecdotal personal experience.

      In my early teen years I used to be all about the porn, "raging hormones" and whatnot. Then I came to the realization that looking at porn affected my view of women. No, it didn't completely desensitize me to their feelings and needs, but I did think about them in a purely sexual context more often when I was regularly looking at porn. Now that I consciously avoid pr0n the amount of time that i spend thinking about women in a sexual context has greatly decreased.

      I'm not saying that the viewing of pornography is necessarily bad, but especially at the very impressionable stages in a young boy's life (or girl's life, although girls seem to have less of a propensity for pornography), viewing pornography could cause a boy to view the opposite sex more as objects, and less as equal humans.
    • by Witchblade (9771)

      I'm sorry, but I get so sick of hearing this shit from so many people. There's this wonderful myth floating around a handful of EU countries that America is nothing but a land of prudes. "Most everywhere else in the world" actually seem to think that we're The Great Satan: a nation of nothing but drunk, dope addicted fornicators.

      When terrorist in Asia, Africa, and South America slaughter innocent tourists as fast as they can claiming they will do anything to stop the spread of "American culture" it's not because they are afraid we may steer their daughters away from a profitable career in adult videos.

      Get a fucking clue.

      • America is a country of prudes.


        Examples:

        • Bleeping the word "ass"
        • Getting worked up when Madonna kisses a black guy who is playing Jesus
        • Getting bent out of shape over a woman athlete posing in Playboy
        • Huffiness over topless beaches
        • Nervous titters: "Phone call for Master Bates"


        You need to get a clue. Where are the Asian, African and South American tourists being slaughtered? Is this recent news? German tourists drop like flies in Miami. But wait, that's different. They should know better than to get lost in one of "those" neighborhoods. In Germany, there aren't any of "those" neighborhoods. Jackass.
      • pr0n & terrorism (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sean Clifford (322444)
        WTF? Where's the connexion between pr0n and terrorism? It must be as tenuous as the current anti-drug commercials so prevalent on American television. Where do terrorists get their money for weapons? Historically, it's from the United States of America. Drugs are bad, of course, unless they're funding an illegal American war in Central America.

        My quip about pr0n not turning me into Osama bin Laden was simply a comment that looking at pr0n as a kid doesn't turn that kid into a maladjusted adult.

        Quite the contrary, sex education that promotes responsible sex - both gay and straight - without moralising about it results in healthy, well-adjusted adults. It reduces unwanted pregnancy and transmission of STDs. Compare the percentages of Dutch kids having unwanted pregnancies versus American kids, infection rates, and so on. The policies of "protecting kids" does just the opposite, yet admitting it undermines the entire "moral" underpinnings of education. It's simply insane.

        You may be sick of hearing it, but Americans are prudes. Horrific violence on television and in cinema is quite acceptable, while curse words and nakedness are taboo. When's the last time you've seen a cock on TV or film, even rated "R". Breasts are fine on pay channels, but other "naughty bits" are left to "adult" channels. In America, apparently only adults are allowed to have sex or exposure to sexuality.

        Now, totally OT, but picking up on the tangent:

        The reason many other countries are pissed off at America because of its foreign policy, not because of strip clubs and pr0n. America is like a spoiled schoolyard bully and its "allies" his gang. Most other kids are relieved that America just steals them blind and doesn't beat the crap out of them. As the Japanese are fond of saying "the nail that sticks up gets hammered down", thus the reluctance of most countries to tell America to piss off.

    • Why is pr0n 'bad' for kids?

      It's not the idea of pr0n so much as the idea of a kid having access to a vibrator with built in porn dispenser... =)

      I'd suggest someone should do a study on effects of cell phone radiation as it affects geeky teens' gonads, except the researchers would probably get accused of child abuse.
    • Porn is bad for everybody, not just kids. The reason why society wants to protect children from porn is that they don't want the kids (who are quite impressionable) to get the wrong ideas about what sex is supposed to be about. Sex is supposed to be an expression of mutual love between two people, something that pornographers go to great lengths to destroy.

      One of the problems with porn, from a societal standpoint, is that it encourages withdrawal of the individual from beneficial sexual relationships. At no point does porn have any redeeming social qualities - it encourages people to engage in selfishness, to treat the opposite sex as nothing more than a means to an end, and destroys the ability of the viewer to enjoy actual sexual intercourse.

      Okay, so now I'll put on the flamesuit to say what I really mean. Don't take this personally, but just consider what I'm saying.

      After all, why would you look at pictures of sex, when you can actually have sex? Oh, right, I get it - you spend all your time looking at porn, so you have no wife, and can't get one either, because you've never actually learned to interact with real women. Oh, what's that? You do have a wife? Well she must not be that great if you're looking elsewhere for sexual gratification.

      I don't mean this as a personal attack, but rather to wake some people up as to the reality of the self-degradation that pornography really is. It doesn't have any good qualities; though you may consider it your "right" to view porn, consider this: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

      • pron!=bad, sex!=bad (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Sean Clifford (322444) on Wednesday May 15, 2002 @10:44AM (#3523305) Journal
        To me - and many others - sex is not an expression of mutual love between two people. It's two (or more!) people having fun, enjoying the sexual experience together. This is exactly the problem I have with this "morality" business. What sex means to you and what it means to me are quite different. I do not want your view of sex foisted upon me, nor should my view get forced on anyone else. This is why freedom of expression exists.

        Why must entertainment have redeeming social qualities? Does "The Terminator" have redeeming social qualities? Entertainment comes in many different forms; if you don't find pornography entertaining, don't watch it. But don't interfere with the right of others to do so.

        The objection to pornography on the grounds that it objectifies people as sexual objects is ridiculous. People lust after other people, regardless of whether or not they're acting in a skin flick. Whether you see other people selfishly as only objects of sexual desire says more about a person's lack of character than it does of the pornography industry. I'm quite able to have non-sexual interactions with other people - that consists of most of my interaction with other people. Can I have a strong non-sexual relationship with someone I'm attracted to? Sure. Can I have a strong relationship with someone I'm NOT sexually attracted to. Yup.

        As to the question of why I'd look at pictures of sex when I can have sex - well, I wouldn't. When I can have sex, I have sex. When I can't have sex, I don't have sex. I think that's true of most people.

        Regarding a partner. First, you assume I'm straight, and yes it's a correct assumption. No, I'm not married and have no desire to get married; I don't believe in the institution of marriage.

        Yes, I've had loving, intimate relationships that have lasted longer than most marriages. Nor do I believe that intimate relationships must necessarily be sexually monogamous; that depends on how you and your partner feel about it.

        Do I find my girlfriend sexy and think she's great? Sure. Just because I look at pornography or have sex with other women doesn't mean that I don't love her and find her satisfying. Just because you love steak doesn't mean that you won't eat chicken. Sex is an appetite. By the same standard, I don't get bent out of shape when she looks at pornography or has sex with other people.

        Obviously, I don't subscribe to the puritanical view of sex that you describe. I just don't find pornography self-degradating or degradating of others. The reason that women are viewed as objects aren't because people lust after them after seeing pornography; it's because Western culture has historically treated them as property at worst and second-class citizens at best.

        As to the right to do stuff: yes, it's my right to view porn. And yes, just because I can do something doesn't mean that I should. For example, just because I have unfiltered internet access at work and CAN view porn at work doesn't mean that I should view porn at work. I don't. Of course, that's not what you meant. But I can't think of another context where I'd find it wrong to look at porn.

  • So the real question is, are they filtering on method or on content? i.e. are sites with plenty of pictures forbidden regardless of content, or is it all sites about sex, regardless of whether or not the site has pictures or just text? What about searches using google? Will they prevent you from reading cached versions of adult content? What if it only looks like adult content?

  • I tried three and couldn't get through, but that doesn't mean they're blocked, necessarily. Here's what I tried, and what I got:

    www.porn.com - Reply unknown!
    www.sex.com - No server access!
    www.fuck.com - File format unknown!
    www.slashdot.org - No server access!

    Looks like they're blocking Slashdot, too, shucks.

    (Test performed on a Nokia 3360 cell phone. Note that I could easily use the phone as a model with my iPaq, then browse all sorts of porn using my regular dial-up ISP.)
  • can any Cingular customers reading this confirm it?
    • Didn't you know? Looking at porn makes you go blind.
  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @06:56PM (#3520661) Homepage Journal
    A key item in the article [com.com] is:

    Not all Web sites are affected, just those that use a standard called Wireless Application Protocol (WAP). Web page makers use WAP to create a slimmed down version of their sites for cell phones.

    Please take this into account for testing. So far, looking over the web, I've found no supporting evidence for the story.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @07:11PM (#3520739) Homepage Journal
    The article [com.com] states:

    For example, the WAP address wap.sex.com can be viewed on cell phones using Verizon Wireless, Nextel Communications and Sprint PCS wireless Internet services. But the same URL entered into a Cingular Wireless device returns the message "your client is not allowed to access the requested object."

    Now compare this old business-week article [businessweek.com]

    But in France, Germany, and most of the rest of the Continent, the pickings are still slim. One trouble is that many phone companies are still in the beginning phases of WAP, and they block access to other service providers. This is known in the industry lingo as a ''closed garden.'' And for the time being, that garden has high fences. When I go to Germany with my French Web phone, I can only gain access to the Web through an international call to France, where I get a French weather report. This will change in the next year or two as phone companies adapt their Web services for roaming travelers.

    And this USA today article [usatoday.com]:

    Moreover, the speed hike only seemed to make a marginal difference over other wireless Web phones I've tried; I was still viewing text, and you must punch too many menu keys to access particular screens. And whenever I entered the Web address for usatoday.com, I received the following message: "WAP Gateway: Your client is not allowed to access the requested object."

    What may have happened is that the sources tried to get to porn sites, didn't work, and then concluded that those sites were being banned in specific. But it could be a general compatibility problem affecting many sites.

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]

  • by corebreech (469871) on Tuesday May 14, 2002 @07:12PM (#3520749) Journal
    Just send it all to me.
  • Technology, censorship, wireless, evil company and PRON!!
  • Now rather than just putting it on vibrate and sticking it in your pocket and calling yourself (not that there's anything wrong with that)

    You can now have naked pictures on the phone AND have it in your pants when you call yourself.

    Us geeks are one step closer to not even needing bio versions of the ellusive other gender.
  • This is more of a specialized service than a standard ISP is. They're broadcasting your content to a large section of geographical area, where theoretically someone else could see it.

    If they don't want porn casted over the airwaves (which is illegal according to the FCC) it's their right.

news: gotcha

Working...