T-Mobile's Web Guard: Lame Criteria Do Not Explain Many Blocked Websites



From the Open Observatory of Network Interference via Slashdot.  

10minutesaperdre.fr/  French funny news website
bbcprofit.com/  Financial advice website
cosmopolitan.com/  Cosmopolitan is an international magazine for women.  
el-annuaire.com/  French website index
elu24.ee/  Estonian news portal
girlpower.it/  Italian women advice web
hackbase.com/  Chinese computer security website
hackforums.net/  Computer security Forum
hltv.org/  Sports news website
ir-tci.org/  Iranian Forum
kath.net/  Religious news site
livesports.pl/  Polish sports news website
logicalmedia.com/  Logical Media is an Affiliate Network.
nullrefer.com/  Hide Refer hides the visitors’ refer[er] from being seen by other websites
p.tl/  Japanese URL shortening service
pitsirikos.net/  Greek political blog
                     sougouwiki.com/  Japanese wiki
statsie.com/  Website statistics collection site   
titan007.com/  Chinese sports news website
torproject.org  The Tor Project is dedicated to prov[id]ing anonymous secure communication
whatreallyhappened.com/  [non main stream] ...news site
wiki-live.com/  Online Article directory
wjunction.com/  Webmaster Hangout
www.chartsinfrance.net/  French pop music hit list
yusukebe.com/  Japanese blog
zonebourse.com/  French economics and financial news site

"...Web Guard is supposed to inhibit access to content that falls under the following categories: Alcohol, Mature Content, Violence, Drugs, Pornography, Weapons, Gambling, Suicide, Guns, Hate, Tobacco, Ammunition" says the OONI.   Interesting that sites that would merit an R or X rating were they films are listed twice.  

I know from experience that the inclusion of political websites is so extensive as to imply no error in algorithm.  All prepaid (read: anonymous) accounts are subject to this infantilizing of the T-mobile version of the Web, or the T-Web (pronounced 'tweb'), as Mr. Corporanon dubbed it.  

'Hello.  This is T-mobile.... May I help you?  ....You say you want out of the T-Web?   No problem!  We value our customer's satisfaction and will be happy to remove that for you! What kind of account do you have?  ...Oh, Prepaid, I see.  Hold on while I transfer you.'  

'Hello.  This is T-mobile Prepaid.... May I help you?  ....You say you want out of the T-Web?   No problem!  We value our customer's satisfaction and will be happy to remove that for you! ....To whom am I speaking?  What is your address? Zip code?  How old are you?'

No anonymous accounts with any ability to surf, if T-mobile can help it.  

The OONI has a record of a rather interesting back-and-forth with T-mobile, about what possible justification there could be for having the Tor Project on the list. Well worth the read.

Here's an anecdotal example of the joy of the T-web.  Eleven thirty at night in an urban metropolis: two people who smoke tobacco find they have but one cigarette left.  One has a T-mobile cell phone with T-Web enabled.  Both know there are at least a couple all night tobacconists within reasonable driving distance, but do not know where.  A search is performed on the T-Web version of google.  Keywords "all night tobacconist" and the name of the city.

The results - all of them - are links concerning various aspects of quitting smoking -- not a tobacconist among them.



Be seeing you.

3 comments:

  1. This is news?

    Date: Thu, 2 Dec 2010
    To: wrh@whatreallyhappened.com
    Subject: T-mobile default blocks you. Just FYI
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
    Status: O
    X-Status:
    X-Keywords:
    X-UID: 21


    The wireless on the 1500 min pre-pay plan has the following message:

    Content Restricted


    The Web Guard feature has been enabled on your line.
    Web Guard has restricted your access to this content The person on your
    Wireless account who is designated as the Primary Account Holder can
    disable this restriction through the account management website.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They want name, address, birthday, and last 4 digits of your SS# put into a verifiable online database to take it off their 4G mobile hot spot units.

    Took me hours on the phone throwing a fit, multiple trips to the T-mobile store, to finally get it taken off without that. The store uses the same database system even though they can look at you and tell you are in your 60s.

    If you buy a phone or hot spot account insist it is taken off before you purchase it.

    ReplyDelete
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