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24th December   

Enquiring Minds...

So who actually decides which websites are blocked on mobile phones in the name of child protection?
Link Here

All the major UK mobile operators have Internet blocking schemes that block certain content from users. This is designed to protect children from accessing adult material. The filters are turned on by default when anybody signs up to a mobile contract. Age verification, normally via a credit card, is required to turn them off.

We've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of mistakes, over-blocking and the difficulty of pointing out when things go wrong.

Mobile Internet access is becoming more important as a means of getting online. According to Ofcom, 28% of UK adults said they accessed the internet on their mobile in the first three months of 2011. So we've started to look more closely at how this blocking works.

It's clear that mobile operators could be much clearer about this. They tend to be pretty opaque as to exactly how their blocking works, and how they decide which Web pages are inappropriate for under 18s.

For example, Orange says that it is the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) that decides what is adult content or not. However this is not true. The IMCB only provides a framework for determining content from mobile phone companies that is inappropriate for children and teenagers. But content from the Internet is out of IMCB's remit, as stated in its Classification Framework.

Mobile operators all declare that they are acting according to a code of conduct set by the Mobile Broadband Group. But this code does not provide for any kind of criteria for determining or defining blockable content. It simply points at the IMCB framework.

It is most likely that lists from US companies like Blue Coat are used to decide what we are able to access. How the policies of these companies fit with the frameworks of the IMCB and the Mobile Broadband Group is another question we are looking to answer.

Transparency regarding how mobile operators decide what counts as blockable content is increasingly important. Customers should be able to ascertain how and why content is blocked, and have easier ways to point out when things are going wrong. We'll be developing more work on this, including tools to help you point out when mobile operators are blocking sites, soon. Please let us know if you're interested in helping out.

...See  more information at


2nd December   

Carrier IQ...

Software discovered that transmits user activity on US smart phones to a central database with a lame explanation about who uses the data and why
Link Here

An Android app developer has published what he says is conclusive proof that millions of smartphones are secretly monitoring the key presses, geographic locations, webs browsing and received messages of its users.

In a YouTube video, Trevor Eckhart showed how software from a Silicon Valley company known as Carrier IQ recorded in real time the keys he pressed into a stock EVO handset, which he had reset to factory settings just prior to the demonstration. Using a packet sniffer while his device was in airplane mode, he demonstrated how each numeric tap and every received text message is logged by the software.

Eckhart then connected the device to a Wi-Fi network and pointed his browser at Google. Even though he denied the option to share his physical location, the Carrier IQ software recorded it. The secret app then recorded the precise input of his search query, hello world, even though he typed it into a page that uses the SSL, or secure sockets layer, protocol to encrypt data sent between the device and the servers.

In an interview last week, Carrier IQ VP of Marketing Andrew Coward rejected claims the software posed a privacy threat because it never captured key presses. Our technology is not real time, he claimed at the time. It's not constantly reporting back. It's gathering information up and is usually transmitted in small doses. Coward went on to claim that Carrier IQ was a diagnostic tool designed to give network carriers and device manufacturers detailed information about the causes of dropped calls and other performance issues.

Carrier IQ and Your Phone: Everything You Need to Know

See  article from

Is the software only on smartphones? Carrier IQ says its software is on feature phones, smartphones, and tablets.

Is it on my phone? Carrier IQ is running on 141 million devices in the U.S., according to InformationWeek. Among the major carriers, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T have confirmed that they use it, and Verizon Wireless told Mashable that it doesn't.

On the manufacturer side, both RIM and Nokia made statements that said it doesn't install or authorize its carrier partners to install Carrier IQ on phones. Nokia similarly denied installing Carrier IQ on its products. If you're an iPhone owner, Apple told AllThingsD that it removed Carrier IQ in most of its products when it released iOS 5, with plans to remove it completely in a future software update.

How do I get rid of Carrier IQ? If you have an Android phone, you can find out whether or not Carrier IQ is installed by using Eckhart's Logging Test App, and you can use the app to remove the software for the cost of a dollar. The app requires rooting your phone, however, so proceed with caution and be warned: Some reports say it's not always successful.

On an iPhone, it may already be absent from your iOS 5 device, according to Apple, but if you want to be 100% safe, TechCrunch says you should open your settings, go to Diagnostics & Usage, and select Don't Send.

How likely is it that data collected by Carrier IQ could be accessed by a third party such as the security agemcies? ...

Update: Under Investigation in the US

6th December 2011.  See  article from

US senator Al Franken has asked software maker Carrier IQ to respond to claims by an independent security researcher that its products collect and transmit potentially sensitive data about millions of mobile phone users.

Update: Under Investigation in Europe

7th December 2011.  See  article from

Watchdog groups and governments in Europe are taking a closer look at Carrier IQ's tracking software, to make sure those mobile phone vendors and operators who use it are not violating users' privacy or the law. The Bavarian State Office for Data Protection recently sent a letter to Apple asking it how it uses Carrier IQ's software.

The most important thing to me is that users know how their data is used, and if that isn't the case there is a problem, said Thomas Kranig, president of the Bavarian data protection office. Kranig did not comment on the letter's contents, but tells PC World that he expects an answer from Apple within about two weeks.

Update: Law Suit

10th December 2011.  See  article from

A class action lawsuit, spotted by Ars Technica, was filed in Delaware late Friday against Apple, AT&T, Carrier IQ, HTC, Motorola Mobility, Sprint Nextel, Samsung, and T-Mobile USA.

Filed on behalf of four plaintiffs who use smartphones, the suit claims the installation and use of Carrier IQ violates the Federal Wiretap Act, Stored Electronic Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It demands financial compensation, as well as a court order to prevent the companies from installing such potentially privacy-busting software in future.


30th November   

Updated: The App Rating Game...

US computer game ratings group set to move into rating mobile apps
Link Here

The Entertainment Software Rating Board ESRB, is teaming up with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association trade group to create a standardized rating system for mobile apps and games.

The groups teased the existence of the new new ratings system, which will be based on age-appropriateness of their content and context, ahead of an official announcement.

There is currently no unified standard for content-based ratings across mobile platforms.

Since its creation in 1994, the industry-backed ESRB has rated over 21,000 console and PC games released in the United States. In April, the group introduced an automated system to aid in rating the high number of digitally distributed console games.

Update: ESRB Ratings to be used for Apps

30th November 2011. See  article from

CTIA, the international nonprofit association representing wireless carriers, in collaboration with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), has announced the development of a mobile application ratings system to be implemented next year.

In a press release, CTIA stated:

The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB will utilize the well-known and trusted age rating icons that ESRB assigns to computer and video games to provide parents and consumers reliable information about the age-appropriateness of applications. Today's announcement is an extension of CTIA's 2010 Guidelines for Application Content Classification and Rating.

When developers submit their applications to a participating storefront they will be able to complete a detailed yet quick multiple choice questionnaire that is designed to assess an application's content and context with respect to its age-appropriateness. This includes violence or sexual content, language, substances, etc., as well as other elements such as a minimum age requirement, the exchange of user-generated content, the sharing of a user's location with other users of the application and the sharing of user-provided personal information with third parties.

Once developers complete all answers to these questions, their applications are rated within seconds. Each rated app is issued a certificate and a unique identifying code that may be subsequently submitted to other storefronts during their respective onboarding processes, avoiding the need for developers to repeat the rating process. This means consistent ratings across participating storefronts and a convenient, cost-free process for app developers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the age-based ratings categories will be the same as those used by ESRB for video games, adding, The carriers, which sell apps via their own storefronts---much as Apple Inc.'s iTunes sells music---are expected to roll out the ratings sometime next year. Each carrier will decide for its own store whether the ratings will be mandatory for some or all apps, or entirely voluntary.

iPhone apps will not be covered, since Apple already has set up a far more censorial ratings system.

Also Google said publicly that it didn't make a lot of sense to sign on to the new ratings system because it already had its own system.

ECRB ratings for video games are:

  • EARLY CHILDHOOD (EC) Content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
  • EVERYONE (E) Content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
  • EVERYONE 10+ (E10+) Content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
  • TEEN (T) Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
  • MATURE (M) Content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.  This category is particularly designed to ensure that the most adult possible can be sold at many supposedly 'family friendly' retailers who refuse to stock adults only titles.
  • ADULTS ONLY (AO) Content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.  Many US retailers refuse to carry AO titles.
  • RATING PENDING (RP) Titles have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)


28th November   

Mediawatch-UK Recommend...

Angry Armies, a mobile games app set in the world of football hooliganism
Link Here

A mobile phone app game which is set around warring football hooligans has been criticised by the usual sound bite nutters for promoting violence.

The App Angry Armies costs 69p on iTunes and pitches gangs of thugs against each other as they hurl coins and bottles to lift the Hooligan World Cup.

They score a point every time they strike a rival fan and the army with the most hits wins.

A spokesman for campaign group Mediawatch UK said:

We are very concerned.

To present something as serious as football violence like this is extremely irresponsible.

But Justin Finch of games developer The Innocent Devils defended Angry Armies, saying: It's no different to the many hundreds of games which use war as a backdrop.


1st November   

Emulating the North...

South Korea telecoms companies to block porn on mobile devices
Link Here

The South Korean government and telecom companies have agreed to ban access to foreign pornography via mobile devices such as tablet PCs and smart phones from November, communications authorities said.

According to the Korea Communications Commission, the nation's top three telecom services providers: KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus will block access to adult content.

SK Telecom voluntarily blocked five pornographic websites from overseas in August that were most frequently accessed by smartphones.

Adult users will be able to access presumably mild content approved by the KCC after an identification process.


15th October   

Update: Vengeful Censorship App...

China blocks Android Marketplace website
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Access to the Android Marketplace has been blocked entirely from within China as The Next Web reports, but locals are also complaining that Android handsets are having a hard time getting onto the Gmail service. The Gmail block isn't being applied to IMAP connections, which means iPhones and similar are working well, lending weight to the idea that this is a political, rather than a security, issue.

The absolute block on started over the weekend, just after Google announced it would be helping the Dalai Lama to (virtually) visit South Africa. That might be coincidence, but it's not the first time that China has been accused of using restrictions on internet access as a political tool.


13th October   

Angling for Police Support...

Californian governor vetoes bill to prevent police going on fishing trips through the mobile phones of arrestees
Link Here

A bill that would have required Californian policemen to obtain search warrant before examining the contents of a person's cell phone was vetoed by Governor Brown.

Approval of the bill SB 914 would have overturned a decision issued by the California Supreme Court in January that said law enforcement officers could legally search the cell phones of people they arrest.

Senator Mark Leno introduced SB 914 in February after the case, People v. Diaz, was brought to the Supreme Court. Leno explained in a document:

Law enforcement need not obtain a warrant or judicial oversight to search the personal data of cell phones in incident to a custodial arrest .

Cell phones (are getting) smarter and contain nearly all the same information as our personal home computers, Leno said in a press release. This legislation (SB 914) will help ensure that a simple arrest -- which may or may not lead to criminal charges -- is not used as a fishing expedition to obtain a person's confidential information.

The California Senate passed a bill on Sept. 1 saying police officers could no longer search cell phones without a warrant. But this was vetoed by the Governor.


12th October   

Update: Too Many Apps...

Australia draws up legislation to exempt apps from the formal censorship process
Link Here
Full story: Online Games Censorship in Australia...Online games producers try to evade censorship

Thousands of mobile phone apps released every week in Australia will be exempt from classification for the next two years under a federal government plan to give mobile phone application creators and businesses clarity pending the ongoing review of Australia's classification system.

Currently, mobile apps are treated the same as video and computer games and are technically required to be classified by the classification board. But because of the huge volume of apps created every week, very few actually go through the system.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, who will introduce the legislation to allow the exemption, said:

The current classification system never envisaged the technology powering smart phones, let alone the rapid development of online games or mobile phone apps.

These changes will allow most mobile phone and online games to be supplied without classification for the next two years, while retaining safeguards to protect children from computer games that are of concern.

The exemption will not apply to computer games likely to be refused classification and the classification board will retain the power to call in a game if it is likely to be classified M or above. The public will still be able to lodge a complaint.


10th October   

Update: Yellow Sites...

Mobile porn doing well in China on fly-by-night websites
Link Here
Full story: Pornography in China...Always under the cosh

Mobile porn in China is on the rise thanks to low-cost entry into the adult business.

According to a Penn-Olson report, even though porn is illegal in China, would-be adult mobile companies can get server hosting packages set up for as little as $78 per year. The deals are reportedly being advertised heavily by hosting companies hiding behind disposable Chinese social networking QQ websites.

Mobile websites are less strictly regulated than conventional sites, and the growing number of dubious companies offering cheap hosting and ready-made WAP site templates makes it easier for fly-by-night 'yellow' sites to flourish, the report said.

The boom is keeping Chinese authorities hopping as they try to stem the spread of the illegal WAP adult sites, supposedly over concerns 'for the children'. Because the sites come and go quickly, authorities are finding it difficult to patrol and shut them down.


10th October   

Where Art Thou Romeo?...

US mandates that all mobile phones should incorporate GPS tracking by 2018
Link Here

The US telecoms censor, the FCC ,has ruled that all telephone service providers, including VoIP services, must offer only GPS-capable handsets by 2018 to better aid in pin-pointing the location of users.

Phones without GPS require the carrier to triangulate the caller's location from cell towers, which is less efficient than the phone's GPS simply relaying location data back.

The FCC estimates that with or without the new rules, 85% of cell phone owners will have GPS-equipped devices by 2018 anyway.

The GPS mandate is supposedly to better locate callers in the case of 911 emergency calls.


6th October   

Questionable App...

Google pulls Android app: Is my Son Gay?
Link Here

A new smart phone app from France promised to help parents determine their son's sexuality in 20 questions.

It caught the eye of TV commentators who saw the potential for 'outrage'. CBS 2's Sean Hennessey had particularly good fun. Hennessey called and e-mailed Google to see what kind of vetting is done when it comes to selling controversial apps, but the company never responded at the time with a comment.

The Android app claims to be able to assess sexuality via question such as: Does your son like musical comedies, Madonna, or football? Does their son dress well? Is his best friend a girl? Are you divorced?

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network, called the app ridiculous and horrifying:

The questions in this app are horrendous stereotypes that would be completely laughable if they weren't so dangerou.

The implication, one, is that there is one way to be if you're gay and, two, that there's sort of blame to attach to parents.

Psychologist Alan Hilfer said the app will never replace a heart-to-heart talk.

But now Surrendering to 'widespread' 'outrage', Google has pulled the app from its online store.


18th September   

Update: Pride for Some, Scary for Others...

Apple removes database of celebrity's religion from App store in France
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple Inc has removed an app, called Jew or Not Jew? , from its online App Store in France. The app let users consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine if they are Jewish or not. The app was selling for 0.79 euro.

Its removal follows a complaint from a French anti-racism group that threatened to sue Apple. SOS Racisme had argued that the app violated France's strict laws banning the compiling of people's personal details without their consent. Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is illegal.

In a statement, SOS Racisme had called on Cupertino, California-based Apple to remove the app from its online store and be more vigilant about the applications it sells.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the app did violate local law, so it was removed from the French App Store. It is still available outside France, however, and currently sells for US$1.99 through Apple's US App Store.

App developer Johann Levy said he developed the app to be recreational :

As a Jew myself I know that in our community we often ask whether a such-and-such celebrity is Jewish or not. For me, there's nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not. On the contrary, it's about being proud.


15th September   

Update: Phone Story...

Apple censors game depicting international exploitation by phone makers
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

The Phone Story website describes its game app as:

Phone Story is an educational game about the dark side of your favorite smart phone. Follow your phone's journey around the world and fight the market forces in a spiral of planned obsolescence.

Apple has now taken down the game that is critical of the process by which most smart phones are made perhaps because it highlights the exploitation of workers and the environment (or it hit too close to home).

The game was developed by MolleIndustria and tells its tale via four mini-games that show what it takes to make a phone including extracting minerals for components in Congo, using outsourced labor in China, dealing with e-waste in Pakistan, and consumers buying the product in Western companies.

Molleindustria tweeted that: Phone Story was removed from the app store without explanation

Apple responded that the app had broken 4 guidelines:

  • depicting against children or child abuse
  • presenting objectionable or crude content
  • containing fraudulent of misleading representations
  • failing to comply with all legal requirements.


15th September   

Update: Spicks and Specks...

Apple censors name of Australian TV quiz show
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Spicks and Specks is an Australian TV quiz show that takes its name from a Bee Gee's song.

But their inevitable Phone app has been censored after Apple deemed the title was racist.

The game has topped the iTunes entertainment app charts, but the computer giant lists the shows as S***ks and Specks Quiz for fear of appearing offensive. Americans use the word spick as a racist insult for Latin American people.

ABC has asked iTunes to reconsider its decision. A spokesman said: iTunes is a US-based platform and it automatically censors words which are considered accidentally offensive in America. We've asked Apple to review it for the Australian audience.


30th August   

Update: Nutters Unkaged...

US petition to remove dog fighting game from the Android app store
Link Here

Animal rights activists have taken to the virtual streets hoping to persuade Google to remove Kage Games' virtual dogfighting game, KG Dogfighting, from its Android Market for smartphone apps. is one of the groups supporting the effort; an online petition there has attracted more than 41,000 signatories. According to

This app makes a game out of dog fighting -- celebrating cruelty against animals and contributing to the attitude that there's nothing wrong with using animals in bloodsports. This type of media fuels animal abuse and breed specific legislation, which costs innocent dogs their lives...

Dog fighting is a felony across all 50 states. KG Dogfighting promotes violence and creates a virtual community for a very real crime. Like many sites, Android Market's policies don't specifically address animal cruelty, but do state: Android Market should not be used for unlawful purposes or for promotion of dangerous and illegal activities.

Kage Games' description of the $4.99 app includes a long and often cheeky response, including such observations as

Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or betta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games and Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie or video game about it.

There are hundreds of games on the Google Android market as well as any other popular game platform which, if acted out in real life, would be illegal. What makes the Google Android platform special is that it gives the freedom and responsibility to the individual users to decide what to put on their phones as opposed to the phone carriers and app stores making value judgments on our behalf.


19th August   

Update: Intense Sexual Hypocrisy...

Apple relents and allows softcore programming on its iTunes store
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

A new app has arrived at the iTunes store that appears to contradicts Apple's censorship policy of keeping adult material off its app store.

The company has approved the Cinemax Max Go app, which provides on-demand access to movies and programming on mobile devices to the cable channel's subscribers. The app also includes a Max After Dark tab, which allows streaming of some of the channel's softcore programming .

The app includes a disclosure that states users must be at least 17 years old to download the app because, among other things, it includes frequent/intense sexual content or nudity.

Movies with softcore titles such as The Hills Have Thighs, Bikini Jones, and The Temple of Eros are available under the tab.


14th August   

Underground Protest...

San Francisco police shut down underground mobile phone service to prevent protest about police shooting
Link Here

In response to a threatened protest in its subway system, San Francisco authorities temporarily shut down mobile phone service in the underground stations of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, known locally as BART.

A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators, BART officials claimed in a statement. BART temporarily interrupted [mobile phone] service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.

According to the local-news website SFist, the demonstration had been publicized by a group known as No Justice No BART in response to the July 3 fatal shooting by BART police of an intoxicated homeless man, Charles Hill, who had allegedly thrown a knife at an officer.

To protest the shooting No Justice No BART posted on its website that it wanted to mobilize without public announcement beforehand to preserve the element of surprise .

Unfortunately for No Justice No BART, their web posting was noticed, BART police were informed, and the mobile phone shutdown was instituted. The call to pretest was removed from the website and the protest did not take place.

Rapper could face charges over flash mob tweet'

See also article from


14th August

 Offsite: Can RIM Decrypt Blackberry Messages?...

Link Here
Full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users
The Daily Mail tries to find out

See article from


21st July   


Nonsense survey reveals 25% of Brits use their smartphone for adult entertainment
Link Here

One in four British men use their smartphones to access porn, according to a new survey by LG Electronics.

The study was done by LG to mark the launch of its Optimus 3D Android handset.

More than 25% of Brits use their device for adult entertainment and one in six men admitted that they flirt with potential partners even if they're in exclusive relationships. And 20% said they'd be embarrassed by something they have stored on their phone .

British women are also using their smartphones for more than talking, with 62% saying they are hiding a secret text message.


18th May   

Sweet Euphemism...

'Dating' app approved for iPhone
Link Here

A 'dating' app, with the strap line: Where romance meets finance , has achieved Apple's approval for inclusion in its AppStore.

According to the dating site, its Dating App will be available for download on June 1st through and iTunes. It will, the site says be compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry devices:

The app will use GPS technology to instantly identify those seeking 'mutually beneficial' arrangements within the user's vicinity. After 'checking in, the application will map out the profiles of nearby members. Users will be able to trade stats, show photos or send messages to arrange an effortless rendezvous.

The website explains its fun loving ethic: is for generous men looking to spoil, and dynamic women looking for financial support with bills, or who just need some excitement in life! Started by a real sugar baby, only accepts true, proven sugar daddies and sugar babies, and provides a staff of sugar dating experts to help you find the perfect mutually beneficial arrangement.

Sugar Daddy relationships are as old as mankind itself. Men have a natural instinct to surround themselves with beauty, and women have always sought out the security of a mature, financially stable man. While these aren't the only qualifications for a good dating experience, they are a good place to start!


11th May   

Uncensored Apps...

Porn apps for Android phones
Link Here

A new website for accessing porn video and adult apps for the Android platform has debuted.

The developers of AndroidPorn said their site is mobile optimized and supports full browsing on every available Android smartphone regardless of carrier, screen size or device processor.

Mike of AndroidPorn told XBIZ, The market for Android mobile specifically is growing more rapidly than any other, but the Apple marketing campaigns have managed to confuse many merchants into thinking that the iPhone or iPad are the predominant mobile devices.


9th May

 Offsite: Apples and Oranges...

Link Here
Wannabe censors eye standardised age ratings for phone apps

See article from


8th May   

Not So Hot...

South Korea app store removes adult material
Link Here

South Korea seems to be taking a dim view about adult material available for mobile phones.

Korea's largest mobile service operator, SK Telecom, will close down its hot zone category on its T Store. This section currently offers 600 adults only products including photos, cartoons and videos. T Store is extremely popular in Korea with some 6.6 million subscribers.

The hot zone used an age verification procedure in which users had to prove they were 19 years of age or older. But teenagers often used their parents' resident registration numbers to get around the system.

SK Telecom is taking the move despite the hot zone being a cash cow. In the first quarter of this year, SK Telecom raked in 3.8 billion won from T Store. And 270 million - or 7% - came from the hot zone.

The ban comes after the Korea Communications Commission, the country's telecommunications censor, announced last month that it will look into ways to solve the 'problems' of teenagers being exposed to obscene content in smartphone application stores.

The KCC said it is debating such measures as setting up separate application stores for adults and teenagers, among other options.

LG U+, the country's smallest mobile service operator, also said it will come up with ways to tackle the availability of adult material to its teenage users.


6th May   

Updated: Where Does Apple Stand on Privacy?...

Google and Apple generate an unencrypted location file on mobile devices even when geo-location services are turned off
Link Here

Security researchers have revealed that Apple's iOS 4 mobile operating system, which runs on the highly popular iPhone and iPad devices, constantly tracks and stores users' approximate location information without their knowledge or consent.

It has now been learned that law enforcement agencies have known about the secret iOS tracking for at least the last year, and have used the data to aid criminal investigations, according to CNet.

The information recorded by Apple is not a users' exact location; instead, the company tracks which cell tower each iOS device uses to connect to a wireless network.

Apple has never publicized any information about the tracking function. And the closest it's ever come to acknowledging the geolocation monitoring function was during questioning from Congress last July about its privacy policy and location-based services. In a letter responding to Congress queries, Apple said that it intermittently collected cell tower and Wi-Fi access point information, which is transmitted to Apple every 12 hours.

According to a company called Katana Forensics, however, the unencrypted data is also used by law enforcement for their own purposes. The information on the phone is useful in a forensics context, said Alex Levinson of Katana, who spoke with CNet. The company's iOS data extracting software, Lantern 2, is often used by small-town local police all the way up to state and federal police, different agencies in the government that have forensics units.

Apple's iOS isn't the only mobile OS that collects user location information. Devices running Google's market-leading Android OS also keep a record of the locations and unique IDs of the last 50 mobile masts that it has communicated with, and the last 200 Wi-Fi networks that it has 'seen,' according to the Guardian.

There may be a glimmer of hope for the little man in this, however. Representative Edward Markey has come to the rescue, asking Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a letter sent this week to explain his company's privacy-encroaching ways. I am concerned about this report and the consequences of this feature for individuals' privacy, Rep. Markey wrote in the letter, followed by a series of questions about the location data file and why, exactly, it exists.

Update: Geo-Unlocated

6th May 2011.  See  article from

Apple has released a software update after complaints that iPhones and iPads were secretly recording locations.

The problem came to light when security researchers found a hidden file on the devices containing a record of everywhere they had been.

The update, which is available through the iTunes store, cuts the amount of stored data to just a week and no longer transfers it to the owner's computer when the phone is connected.

And if users disable the location services setting on their iPhone or iPad, it will stop collecting data completely.

Permission for the tracking was given by users, albeit hidden away in the terms and conditions for the iTunes store.


4th May   

Update: Bloodied But Comes Back Fighting...

Dog fighting game app reappears with a new name
Link Here

After a little controversy with Dog Wars , which Google pulled from the Android Market last week, Kage Games has returned with a new name, KG Dogfighting .

We appreciate everyone's thoughts about our app as we are firm believers in the right to free speech and the free exchange of ideas, writes Kage Games.

These freedoms are the building blocks of the Google Android operating system and the very reason so many users choose Google Android over the alternative.

A Google spokesperson talking to the LA Times has said that the original game wasn't removed because of any content issues, but because of copyright infringement , which suggests that this new title is enough to resolve the issues.

Not Impressed

See  article from

The head of the LA Police Department's officers union has spoken out against the app, according to the Los Angeles Times, calling it sick and disgusting, despite its new name. The app may have especially struck the wrong chord with police officers since it offers game players a gun that they can use in the event of police raids and to inject the virtual dogs with steroids.

In its response, PETA unveiled its own iPhone app last week that highlights stories about animal cruelty, inviting users to share the details on Facebook and Twitter and take action by sending letters of protest to politicians, corporate executives, and other officials. The app also enables people to donate money to the cause through PETA's mobile Web site.


27th April   

Barking up the Wrong Virtual Tree...

Whingeing at phone app game featuring dog fighting
Link Here

Kage Games, LLC, describes its Dog Wars app as a game that will never be in the iPhone App store.

And for good reason. Dog Wars features the training of virtual dogs to fight to the death and challenge other phone users to dogfights.

Alicia Silverstone was so 'appalled' when she heard about the Android phone app that she wrote a letter to the CEO of Google, maker of the Android, and Kage Games, asking that they pull the game right away:

As a mom-to-be and someone who has adopted and loved rescued pit bulls, I join PETA's millions of members in imploring you to cancel this game immediately. If one dog dies as a result of this game, you will not forgive yourself.

The app makers seemed to be anticipating a bit of nutter controversy and said in their game description:

It is just a video game. Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or beta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games ... Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie, or video game about it.


6th February   

Update: Negotiations Jammed...

Deadline passes for RIM to enable Indian snooping on business networks
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Full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

Indian Blackberry users could face a ban after the phone's maker failed to meet a government deadline to grant access to encrypted business communications.

Officials in Delhi claim they need to read encrypted Blackberry messages to help guard against terrorist attacks. They have been locked in negotiations with Research In Motion, which makes the popular device, since last summer.

However as a January 31 deadline passed, RIM said it would not lift encryption for its business clients. Standard subscriptions with a telephone company can be snooped upon but businesses using their own server can retain the key without providing it to RIM for snooping purposes.

RIM said that complying with the January 31 deadline had proven technically impossible because does not have the ability to unencrypt messages on business private networks.

It is unclear what steps the government may take as a result of the missed deadline, but senior officials have warned that they would not take no for an answer.


5th February   


BBFC provide a free iPhone app with their latest ratings and information
Link Here

The BBFC have provided a new app available for iPhone and iPad with the description"

Check out the latest film and DVD classification decisions from the BBFC. Whether you are at home, at the cinema or out and about, get detailed information about why the film or DVD you are thinking of seeing or buying got the classification it did.

Interesting to note the rating has been rated:

Rated 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor

Presumably the app is not carrying the full range of certificates lest Apple get offended by titles such as Rocco Siffredi's Stick your iPhone up your Arse 17.


15th January   

Hanging Up...

Phone sex service on the decline in Australia
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While the adult entertainment industry in general has flourished online, one sector has become all but extinct.

Phone sex - based on the 1900 numbers usually listed in newspaper and magazine classified sections - will soon be a thing of the past. Around Australia, adult phone services advertisements are shrinking every year.

Fiona Patten, of the Eros Foundation, said phone sex had almost disappeared over the past decade, as customers turned to cheaper or free content on the internet: With the new technology online, it's really made the phone sex ads kind of quirky. It used to be around 25 per cent of all ads in adult magazines but now it's all about downloading adult content to your mobile.

In South Australia, print ads have declined by almost 65% since 2005, from 475 ads a week in The Advertiser to just 169 a week in 2011. The average per-minute price of phone sex services also has dropped dramatically in the past decade.


15th January   

Updated: Censorship in Motion...

RIM agree to censor porn for Blackberry phones in Indonesia
Link Here
Full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

Facing a BlackBerry ban in Indonesia, Research In Motion. says it will comply as soon as possible with a government demand that it block pornography from its smartphones.

RIM has until Jan. 21 to begin filtering porn sites or face legal action including revocation of its permit to operate in the country, one of RIM's fastest-growing international markets. Communication and information technology minister Tifatul Sembiring said that may include a complete blocking of the BlackBerry's web browsing capability.

RIM is in talks with domestic phone carriers to find a remedy, the Waterloo, Ont-based company said in a statement. It did not respond to a request for further comment.

Update: Better in Malaysia

15th January 2011. See  article from

Malaysia will not ban the use of the Blackberry smartphone as of now as it has not caused any problem with regard to security, culture and administration, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

However, he said, if there were sections of society with the facts to prove that the Blackberry phone were causing problems, the ministry through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), would investigate the matter under the country's existing laws.

He was referring to reports that the Indonesian government planned to ban the use of the Blackberry phone in the republic if its order for the service provider to implement pornography blockers and to create a server is not adhered to implemented.

Update: Worse in India

15th January 2011. See  article from

The Indian government, which fears that the heavy encryption on RIM's BlackBerry smartphones makes them convenient for terrorists to use undetected, has asked RIM to grant access to its messenger services before Jan 31, 2011.

According to WSJ:

The lawful access capability now available to RIM's carrier partners meets the standard required by the government of India for all consumer messaging services offered in the Indian marketplace, RIM said in a customer update seen by Dow Jones Newswires.

No changes can be made to the security architecture for BlackBerry Enterprise Server [corporate email] customers since, contrary to any rumors, the security architecture is the same around the world and RIM truly has no ability to provide its customers' encryption keys, RIM's customer update said.

RIM continues to work closely with the government and RIM's carrier partners in India…We are pleased to have delivered a solution well before a mutually agreed milestone date of January 31, 2011, RIM said.

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