This morning I was checking my usual web hangouts in the bath, as I am wont to do in these dark, internetless days, when I discovered something disturbing. Intending to give the birthday girl’s Rachel Maddow article another read, I was shocked to find out that the side it was posted on was “restricted”, and therefore couldn’t be accessed from the 3 network.
Now, why would an article about an American broadcast journalist, posted on a news and culture site, be worthy of such a rating? I’ve had a whole bus journey in which to ponder this, and have come to the somewhat unsettling conclusion that it’s because the site happens to have a queer focus and has a title based on the word “lesbian”. I seem to have no problem acccessing AfterEllen.com from my phone, so am forced to conclude that the 3 network is run by a bunch of homophobes who have programmed the word “lesbian” into some automated blocking software because OF COURSE the word only relates to girl-on-girl, strap-ons and titlating behaviour. Real women aren’t lesbians, and sexuality is not a political issue.
I’ve got a piece of paper that begs to differ, and that piece of paper is called the Equality Act 2006.
Ach, I’m not really a moaning minnie but I’ve had nothing but bad experiences since I signed up to the 3 network (under duress, and after a sales call from one of those third-party companies offering half-price line rental for a year that you claimed back via a voucher. The third party company, of course, went out of business before I was eligible to claim). They were always the best for mobile internet, which as you all know is one of the primary uses to which I put my mobile, but now the rest of the world has caught up on their iPhones and Blackberries the service has slowed to a crawl and is only accessible without problems for about twenty minutes a day. I also seem to have lost the ability to get any sort of reception either at the Towers, or my mum’s – something which has only seemed to happen over the past two months. The annoying thing is I recently tied myself in for another eighteen months so I could take advantage of their 3 Like Home scheme while I was in Australia – something which ultimately backfired as I couldn’t get onto the network in Bendigo or the surrounding areas (despite the fact the James never had any problems). And let’s not get started on their notoriously shoddy customer service (apparently now operated from the Indian countryside rather than Mumbai, so they can pay their staff even less)!
I hope to ultimately replace both my useless brick of a phone and iPod Touch with an iPhone, meaning I get to reduce the amount of expensive gadgetry I have on my person at any given time, and while I intended to wait until my contract expired and they ultimately release a 32Gb iPhone if I could get out of my contract today I would.
And, let’s face it, when you’re a little bit depressed there’s nothing like a bit of righteous indignation to get the blood boiling. If I get any response to my email, I’ll let you know.
I write to express my concern at the way websites are filtered on the 3 mobile internet service.
I was an early adopter of mobile internet technology, and have readily
incorporated checking relevant news sites, email and blogs on my phone
into my daily routine. Imagine my surprise this morning when, on trying
to access a link on a feminist blog, I received a Restricted Content notification preventing me from accessing the site.
The site in question was www.lesbilicious.com, an online media and culture magazine with an obvious emphasis on queer culture. Although its editorial policy does not shy away from the most hard-hitting of issues, I think it would take a substantial stretch of the imagination to classify anything contained therein as pornography, and as a journalist and lawyer with an interest women’s issues – with an emphasis on gay rights – I find the implications which can be taken from blocking a site which happens to have the word “lesbian” in the title disturbing, if not ultimately at odds with the non-discrimination provisions contained in the Human Rights Act 1998 and Equality Act 2006.
Furthermore, the hypocracy displayed by 3 as far as adult content is concerned is palpable when you consider that links to such content are displayed on your homepage from about 9pm every evening and are accessible to those of any age with a 3 phone. I am aware that the content itself can only be accessed by those over the age of 18 who have registered for a PIN, but the links and pictures displayed are pretty self-explanatory.
I have been a 3 customer since 2005, and am fast becoming completely disillusioned with your service – not least because, over the past two months, I seem to have lost the ability to get a decent reception from my home. I would appreciate a full outline of your content filtering policies at your earliest convenience.
Kind regards, etc.