You notice how these guys trot out the same crap every time. Wouldn't it be nice if all the copyright trolls all agreed to bugger off and sue each other to death for 'stealing' each others 'arguments'?
In addition, its often called "Global warming" because it was first noticed as a warming trend, however, it is more accurately called "Climate change". There are greater extremes at both ends of the scale as a result.
I don't think its fair to blame 3 here. The other telcos do the same thing, and given there is a cost involved, I have to assume there is a legal requirement or at least risk they are trying to mitigate. Is the system over active? Sure, they all are. But the problem that needs to be addressed here is whatever is forcing the telcos to implement this - landline ISPs don't filter by default.
The other thing I would say is that the provider I use allows you to turn off the content settings through your on-line account management page if you are on pay monthly, yet PAYG has to prove their age? That also tells me there is something forcing the telcos hand here.
Full disclosure - I work for a UK telco (Not 3UK), but I'm in IT and have no more knowledge of the legal requirements to filter than the next guy - this is just my opinion.
Just because you could be, does not mean you should be. Your not committing the offence yourself, you are point people to those who will. Its lazy and frankly just another sign of our ever more oppressive government.
But hey, the laws the law, so I guess you win, huh? Although, thinking about it, it does make you wonder why they keep pushing for SOPA etc.
As I understand it, the friend I mentioned is employeed by the telco but paid by the government. I don't know if the telco gets a cut or not though. Like I say, this is the UK, so not directly relevent on what charges US telcos might levey.
That Ben Franklin quote gets trotted out every time, hell I've used it myself plenty of times, but what is it really saying? Taken litterally, it says that freedom is always more important than saftey. If that was true, there would be no cops on the street at all, and the gaols would be empty.
In reality I believe he was saying 'We can't have unlimited freedom, but lets not give up more than we reasonably need to'. Is this exchanging some freedom for some saftey? Yes. But its still more freedom than the current free for all system and a reasonable amount of saftey gained. It feels 'reasonable' to me.
As to chipping away at freedom, I couldn't agree more, I think its actually worse here in the UK than in the states. But we protect ourselves from this by being vigilant and making intelligent desisions based on the situation. A blanket 'No more restrictions on freedom' could be as harmful as a blanket 'the government can do what it wants'. After all, no new laws could ever be passed.
We live in a democracy, and like the system itself, freedom in a democracy is about balance, not extremes, whichever way they swing.
Normally, stopping this kind of behaviour is the kind of thing I'm all in favour of, however in this circumstance I'm not so sure. A friend of mine works for the disclosures team in a UK mobile company. Her job is basically to take calls from law enforcement requesting information. She frequently gets what she calls "life and death" calls, things like missing children, people who have committed violent crimes against thier spouse and then legged it before the cops arrive - things that are time critical. On occasion, this can and has saved lives.
I don't think law enforcement should be requesting any old information they want, but where its life and death, a warrent shouldn't be required. The real question is how you judge this. I'm not sure what the right answer is.