The mobile phone operator T-Mobile has issued a statement in response to complaints this week that customers cannot access gay-related websites without age verification.
PinkNews.co.uk reported last week that the provider, one of the UK’s largest, appeared to redirect users who attempted to view some websites that had been deemed unsuitable for under-18s.
T-Mobile released the following statement: “T-Mobile is currently investigating this issue. To be clear, we would never actively block material based on sexual orientation. It’s possible that the sites were blocked because they contain advertising or other content that falls outside of the Content Lock system which helps prevent children from accessing 18-rated material. This is done in accordance with a voluntary code that mobile operators agreed to in 2004.”
The provider’s Content Lock system, is automatically set on phones to filter out ‘offensive’ material. Users must confirm they are over 18 to remove the restrictions. Information on how adults can remove Content Lock can be found on the operator’s website.
PinkNews.co.uk is among the websites affected, while others include gay travel websites, bar and club listings and gay culture websites. PinkNews.co.uk confirms that it has no adult related content or advertising within its website and objects to it being blocked by T-Mobile.
PinkNews.co.uk readers have also complained that rival networks O2 and 3 may also block access to websites with gay content by default.
One O2 customer has claimed that even with age verification, the service redirects from gay related websites including PinkNews.co.uk, while allowing access to heterosexual pornography.
PinkNews.co.uk will be contacting operators for statements on the issue.
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