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T-Mobile customers complain at ‘blocking’ of gay websites

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  1. It’s not just t-mobile; O2 do this was well. It seems to be a money making scam – they will let you through to “over 18″ websites if you pay them a pound to register you’re over 18. Pink News is one of the websites deemed to be for over 18s.

  2. It doesn’t surprise me that they were unavailable for comment. I once had a so called customer service person at their company tell me it was impossible to purchase a mobile phone without a sim card. This was some time ago. I had to show her the website to convince her.

    It gets worse.. when they failed to keep their promise of returning my call I mentioned the sim incident to another customer service person who then laughed at the lack of knowledge of her colleague. Talk about showing up the company she works for.

  3. i had same problem with o2 so for that reason i decided to move to another network and it wasnt going to be t-mobile, coz i knew they were homophobic.

  4. Phoenix0879 3 Sep 2010, 6:31pm

    I’ve had no problem with 02 – from day one I’ve been able to access pinknews on the fly using my phone. Only network I’ve tried that I’ve been able to do that. Most LGBT-friendly network I’ve found so far. 3 was awful – I had considered switching to T-Mobile, but won’t bother if I have to go through crap like that. Not had it on O2, so I see no point in moving to a network that would penalise me for visiting pinknews.

  5. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 3 Sep 2010, 7:05pm

    Its easy to deal with T Mobile, network. Hit them where it hurts in their pockets and “port” your number to another network.
    O2 have no such problems and their customer service is more than helpfulll and oblidging and ready to help.

  6. Simon Murphy 3 Sep 2010, 7:13pm

    Time to call Watchdog.

    Anne Robinson should be on the case!

  7. I phone tmobile yesterday to get 2nd phone on my contract for my partner, when I advised our relation was partners the foreign sounding man said “il put you through to someone more appropoate” then put though to a female where I had to go through all the questions again! I then cancelled my contract with them.

  8. Actually, would anyone affected by this please try to access the website of the Albert Kennedy Trust (a charity specifically aimed at helping young LGBT people who face being kicked out of home, bullying etc)?

    This is disgraceful homophobia, and ann insult to LGBT people. I hope T Mobile and O2, and any other communications companies address this immediately, if they remotely care about their brand values.

  9. Thanks for highlighting the issue. This discrimination needs to stop asap.

  10. T-Mobile has always blocked sites and other services that could contain adult content. Not specifically gay or straight. Even twitter comes blocked by default. Stop the discrimination crap.

  11. @Pedro

    You’re missing the point. Any website could contain adult content. It seems that T-Mobile is blocking sites just because they are about gay issues. That is discrimination.

  12. Scott of Sydney 4 Sep 2010, 4:42am

    I do not know UK law. Here in NSW we have discrimination laws that we would just point out to the likes of this company they are in breach of. Each instance can cost AU$40 000. For a company like this that racks up the dollars real fast.
    The law treats any different treatment in the same way as racism.
    I truly hope you do have legal recourse over this. A good court case not only teaches one company it is a point not lost on many.

  13. I would negate the age requirement and substitute it with an IQ one.

    Here in the USA its the opposite as Verizon billed me for a gay porn chat application I never ordered.

    Go figure.

  14. Ive been with o2 for a number of years and have no problem accessing LGBT sites including the use of various app such as the pink news one.

    I really pleased the days are going where people would feel afraid to call compnaies to say I cannot access a lgbt site keep ringing everyone.

    Gav

  15. I had no idea about this. That such a company to openly show discrimination in the 21st Century is a disgrace.

    I don’t use the internet on my phone even though I can gain access but I will be cancelling my T-mobile account today and going somewhere that wants my business as a gay man. Lets hope more follow suit.

  16. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 4 Sep 2010, 10:41am

    email recived from O2:
    Good morning Omar

    Thanks for emailing us about accessing gay websites.

    O2 doesn’t block gay websites.

    But we are committed to protecting children from accessing inappropriate
    content on their mobiles, while allowing our adult customers to decide
    which content and services they wish to receive. We are also aware of
    the risk associated with location based services and the problems that
    spam and unwanted subscription services can cause.

    We also respect your freedom to choose what material you choose to
    access, so to access 18+ content, you must age verify. You can do this
    by dialling the 61018 or go online to http://www.o2.co.uk/ageverification.

    I’m happy to know that you’re pleased with our service.

    I have sent this reply to ‘news@pinknews.co.uk’ also.

  17. Never had problems on O2 (those kinds of problems, I’ve had other unrelated issues) and I certainly always access PinkNews from my phone.

  18. Here is the support page on T-Mobile’s web site where they describe the blocking program they’re using – http://tinyurl.com/39cqzg2

    T-Mobile call it ‘Content Lock’, but it seems to come out of another institution called the Independent Mobile Classification Body – http://www.imcb.org.uk/ – who appear to be the gang who are deciding what actually gets blocked by this product.

    Comments in one of the forums at Queer Attitude – http://tinyurl.com/333syfy – suggest that Vodafone and Virgin Mobile may also be buying into this, or a similar product, with the same outcome, namely that supportive, positive and informative sites on gay themes are getting blocked to under-18s simply because of the sexualities that they deal with.

    When you consider that UK law forbids discrimination on the grounds of sexuality in the supply of goods and services, coupled with the fact that the age of consent for all sexualities is 16, I really don’t see how these companies are getting away with what they’re doing. And T-Mobile are entirely open about the fact that they’re doing it by default to everyone – their support page actually says:

    “Content Lock is one of the industry’s most advanced filtering tools, and all of our mobiles, USB modems and data cards are sold with it already applied, free of charge.”

    In other words, it seems that even adult purchasers of their products have to ask to have it removed.

  19. I had the same problem with O2 when I got a new sim card in June this year. I volunteer for the Queer Youth Network, and was shocked to discover that I couldn’t access the site from my iPhone until I registered as over 18. This really concerns me, because that is a support site for young people, a lot of whom are under 18.

  20. Jock S. Trap 4 Sep 2010, 2:23pm

    In theory they are doing the right thing but in practise instead of sorting out sex sites from support groups they are just bunching all together. That is wrong. There is a duty to stop children accessing sex sites and this block is for all gay or straight but there should be a call for companies to stop being so lazy and recognising the difference between the two. The main legal sticking point here is the over 18 registration. It should be 16 and for that I feel the companies should be pulled up as well. All phone companies need to be made aware of the support groups and there function and why it is so important that all should be able to access them.

  21. Comment (21) has been written by an imposter who has choosen to steal my nickname to speak for me. This person does not speak for me and what they do is no different than theft and fraud. I assume this is to try and intimidate me to stop posting on this thread. I will now change my nickname.

    PinkNews refuse to act against this which lets these pathetic imposters get away with their behaviour.

    To the Imposter trying to stop me posting threads:- YOU WILL NOT WIN. IT IS MY RIGHT TO POST HERE AND I HAVE WRITTEN NOTHING TO OFFEND. AS PINKNEWS CLEARLY SUPPORTS YOUR BEHAVIOUR I WOULD URGE ALL MEMBERS TO PUSH PINKNEWS TO PUT A STOP TO THIS PRACTISE!

  22. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 4 Sep 2010, 3:51pm

    Good on you no22.
    you have every right as everyone else to comment and express your views. Remember the Human Rights Act, as belive me you will not be the first or last to be intimedated.
    Carry on and the “imposter ” will eventually give up. I should know when vile accusations were thrown in my direction many years ago on this very site.

    The Human Rights Act 1998 gives further legal effect in the UK to the fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the European Convention on Human Rights. These rights not only impact matters of life and death, they also affect the rights you have in your everyday life: what you can say and do, your beliefs, your right to a fair trial and other similar basic entitlements.

    Most rights have limits to ensure that they do not unfairly damage other people’s rights. However, certain rights – such as the right not to be tortured – can never be limited by a court or anybody else.

    You have the responsibility to respect other people’s rights, and they must respect yours.

    Your human rights include, but are not limited to:

    * the right to life
    * freedom from torture and degrading treatment
    * the right to liberty
    * freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and freedom to express your beliefs
    * freedom of expression
    * the right not to be discriminated against in respect of these rights and freedoms

  23. F.K.A.S. (Formerly Known As Squidgy) 4 Sep 2010, 4:00pm

    Thank you Omar, I will.

    Very valid Human Right points too!

  24. Vodafone works fine with Gay content asking as it isn’t 18+

  25. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 4 Sep 2010, 4:06pm

    FKAS,
    you are more than wellcome.
    Remember the latin phrase, which translates to:
    “dont let the bastards grind you down”.

  26. PinkNews: Stop Allowing Duplicate Nicknames 4 Sep 2010, 4:22pm

    Being Gay Friendly should be common customer service, in this day and age we should Not have to fight for it. Companies that make excuses only deserve to go bankrupt! No matter what the size of company.

  27. PinkNews: Stop Allowing Duplicate Nicknames 4 Sep 2010, 4:42pm

    DISCLAIMER
    —————
    Going Offline now until 05.09.2010 after 6am. Any comments made in this nickname before then will Not represent my view and will have been written by an imposter. Squidgy is No longer my nickname, nor F.K.A.S. Any comments in those names are the responsibily of the imposter.

  28. just boycott T-Mobile they will soon wake up that being homophobic does not pay.

  29. As usual, the people on here with massive chips on their shoulders immediately jump on the companies. I’m surprised I didn’t hear the typical “institutionalised homophobia” crap they normally wheel out on these occasions.

    T-Mobile use a piece of software designed to block certain sites. There are numerous ones about. Websites don’t always shout about adult content, and nobody is going to sit there typing in URLs all day, so certain algorithms are used to scan websites for content, check against known databases, and also search for certain words. I suspect the product is American, one of those words will probably be “gay”.

    All that needs to be done is to add it to a “white list” of acceptable words and the problem is fixed. Computers are stupid things and need to be shown what to do. Unfortunately some people are even more stupid and assume there is a little man in there somewhere that really has a thing about homosexuals.

    I’m sure a quick call to T-Mobile and they will soon fix it, they don’t want the adverse publicity.

  30. Spanner notes that “Computers are stupid things and need to be shown what to do. Unfortunately some people are even more stupid and assume there is a little man in there somewhere that really has a thing about homosexuals.”

    Computer algorithms are programmed by people. So, to include ‘gay’ in a list of offensive, or obscene words, indeed implies a little man, somewhere, has a problem with homosexuals to begin with.

    T-Mobile (I presume they have ISO certification?) must surely have approved the list of offensive words too, so they have to take responsibility. While we can’t be sure whether the inclusion of ‘gay’ is malicious or an oversight, we have to call them out.

    Virgin Active prohibited access to PinkPaper.com in its internet cafes until I alerted the website in question, last year. If I recall rightly, I think the excuse they gave was, it was Content Lock. Fine – let’s investigate Content Lock then. It is an attack on the dignity of LGBT customers when they are told that websites informing them about issues relating ot their very nature are ‘inappropriate’.

  31. OMAR KUDDUS GayasylumUK 5 Sep 2010, 5:53pm

    Further email from O2, after my comment at 16.
    Good evening Omar
    Thanks for replying to Runa’s email about the gay websites.
    We’ll surely consider your concern about this as a feedback and pass it on to our relevant team. It helps us identify any area of our service that our customers feel is in need of review. Changes are then made on aregular basis, which reflect what our customers are telling us.
    We do block 18+ contents and on the same time we also respect our
    customer’s freedom. Omar, you’ll be happy to know that we can unblock such contents on your mobile number. You just need to verify your age by making a credit card payment of £1. Once we unblock it, we’ll refund you an amount of £2.50 back to your account.
    I’m pleased to tell you that you can visit your nearest O2 store with proof of identification to verify your age. In the store, our staff will check your official documentation (e.g. passport, photo ID, etc).
    Once your age is verified Omar, you’ll receive a text message ‘Your age verification status has been updated. You can now access content and services classified 18. To change this setting, call 61018 free.’ You’ll then be given access to 18 classified sites.
    You can find your nearest O2 store by clicking on the link below:
    Please call on 0800 224 477 or click on the link below to find your nearest O2 store:http://www.multimap.com/share/o2/
    Calls to this number are charged at 15p per minute from an O2 Pay & Gomobile phone. Calls from any other mobile phones will be charged at yourservice providers published rates or free from UK registered fixed lines.
    For more information about age verification, please click on the link below:
    https://ageverification.o2.co.uk/
    I hope this answers your query and have a wonderful evening.
    For further details about O2, please visit our online Help Centre at:http://www.o2.co.uk/help
    Kind regards Punit
    O2 Customer Service
    Telefónica O2 UK Limited, Registered in England No 1743099. RegisteredOffice: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire SL1 4DX.

  32. I had the same problem with “3″. Couldn’t access gayromeo.com – instead got pushed towards registering for some of 3′s own adult services. Gaydar & Fitlads did work however. I didn’t complain yet. Anyone else had similar problems with 3?

  33. 02 Don’t block any gay sites on my old phone or my new smartphone, and i’ve never confirmed my age

  34. Tigra 07
    I tried to post here a website that O2 certainly blocks until you verify your age put PinkNews blocked it!

  35. “Tigra 07
    I tried to post here a website that O2 certainly blocks until you verify your age put PinkNews blocked it!”

    Lol! I use my fone for pink news, fitlads, gaydar all without trouble and im on 02 and havent confirmed my age

  36. Very odd. I have no problems with O2. No blocking of any gay websites at all.

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