There have been so many stories lately about mobile operators trying to stop porn from going on their networks, and now an analyst firm is out there saying that mobile operators have to block porn or governments will get angry and start issuing various laws. This seems like a very strange argument. First off, how is a mobile operator any different than a regular ISP? With landline broadband, the law (at least in the US) is clear that ISPs are not at all responsible for the content that travels over their network. They're just providing the network. So why is it different with mobile operators? Well, for one thing, mobile operators still insist that mobile data needs to be locked up behind walled gardens -- despite plenty of evidence that walled gardens just don't work. So, if the mobile operators woke up and recognized that mobile phones should just be yet another terminal onto the internet, then it's hard to see how they could be required to put in place filters (that wouldn't work anyway) to stop porn. There's nothing wrong with trying to come up with systems to try to stop kids from accessing porn. However, to say that the mobile operators are responsible isn't going to solve the real issue -- especially as mobile operators finally realize that they're really just connecting mobile devices to the wider internet.
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