O2 brands food shop app 'adult' for iPhone users

The Telefonica-owned mobile network O2 has branded lovefre.sh, a UK start up website selling farmer market foods by location, an adult site. When a user installs the app on their iPhone and tries to access the site they are redirected to a blank page. The issue has only been reported on the O2 network, "the problem is that most iPhones in the UK are on O2," said the CEO Mark Spofforth, "I'm despondent about it. It's just crippling."

The company only recently discovered that a third party behind the content blocking system had classed their website as adult, with over 18,000 downloads so far the company are worried about what this may do to business, "Personally I find it worrying that O2 wants to be my dad but I'm more concerned with what it's doing to our business." said Matt Boyle on the official blog.

O2 only recently implement their new age verification system on Thursday 3rd of this month, but forgot to tell their customers. If any of the 20m users tries to access a website with an 18+ rating they will need to make a payment by credit card. While the company says the new system is to protect children, understandably users are not happy with complaints popping up all over the internet.

"To ensure that children are protected from inappropriate content...", "Access to 18+ rated websites is therefore blocked by default. Customers only have to age verify once." said the O2 blog. A company spokesperson acknowledged that people may find it inconvenient and apologized for the lack of advertising when introducing the new service.

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26 Comments

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The whole credit card thing is idiotic tbh. Not everyone over the age of 18 had a credit/debit card nor is it proof that you are over 18 (unless they are ommiting Electron and/or Solo)

They tried it with me and I simply asked for my PAC code. I informed the operator that they knew my DOB when I took out the contract and I wasn't prepared to hand them over more financial details than they were already entitled to. The promptly removed the lock.

I'm on O2 and can access the site just fine on my nexus one o.0 (via 3g etc.)
Google image's and google translate work as well so far as i can tell?

I suffered the same issue on my 3g dongle recently, had to make several calls to o2 to get the varification removed.

They seem to he blocking lots of legitimate normal websites, I was sat in a busy office each time I called them as the sites were business related being blocked.

bbfc_uk said,
Good thing I moved from O2 to 3 because of their really poor 3G network.
So you moved to 3? Absolute backwards step there.

Pauleh said,
So you moved to 3? Absolute backwards step there.

Not sure how you work that out to be honest? I believe Three have the best 3g coverage in the UK. I was with o2 for 7 years and got 0-1 bars of signal at home, no 3g signal possible unless I went out side. Since moving to Three I get full 3g signal inside and can download at 4mbps over 3g.

InsaneNutter said,

Not sure how you work that out to be honest? I believe Three have the best 3g coverage in the UK. I was with o2 for 7 years and got 0-1 bars of signal at home, no 3g signal possible unless I went out side. Since moving to Three I get full 3g signal inside and can download at 4mbps over 3g.

I agree. I have had much better reception with Three than I did with O2. Yes Three were crap when they first started but they now have the largest 3G network in the UK and you can't beat the offers they do!!

InsaneNutter said,

Not sure how you work that out to be honest? I believe Three have the best 3g coverage in the UK. I was with o2 for 7 years and got 0-1 bars of signal at home, no 3g signal possible unless I went out side. Since moving to Three I get full 3g signal inside and can download at 4mbps over 3g.

From the fact that my friend on Three fails to get a signal pretty much anywhere. We live in London and he still struggles to get a signal. All the while I, being on o2, am able to get plenty of bars. So the Three network is something anyone with any sense should stay well clear of, in my opinion.

Pauleh said,
From the fact that my friend on Three fails to get a signal pretty much anywhere. We live in London and he still struggles to get a signal. All the while I, being on o2, am able to get plenty of bars. So the Three network is something anyone with any sense should stay well clear of, in my opinion.

Three are deffo one to steer clear off IMHO.

Stick to Voda, Orange or O2. Everyone else undercuts due to poor C/S and poor reception.

bbfc_uk said,
Good thing I moved from O2 to 3 because of their really poor 3G network.

Bad move, I have really poor 3G signal from 3, Even though I'm promised 99% coverage, and 3G coverage in my area.

Thinking either O2, or Vodafone my next move.

KyleGM said,
Google translate is also blocked... stupid bloody thing.

Translation sites are a well known way of avoiding content filters. Try translating any english site back to english and the resulting URL is changed so avoids the filter. Hence translation being blocked too.

Vodafone have been doing this for a while, although with them you can pay £1 using ccard to verify age and they will credit your voda acc with £2. Or you can phone them up and have it removed for free.

Youngy said,

Translation sites are a well known way of avoiding content filters. Try translating any english site back to english and the resulting URL is changed so avoids the filter. Hence translation being blocked too.

Vodafone have been doing this for a while, although with them you can pay £1 using ccard to verify age and they will credit your voda acc with £2. Or you can phone them up and have it removed for free.

Well in that case I suppose it's pretty smart for catching that, but still I don't use credit cards, and I already contacted a support person and they treated me as though I was the one in the wrong for trying to visit all these "adult websites". It also blocks all of my google images so I can't even do a simple image search without going into town to the nearest 02 store and proving that I'm responsible enough to use the internet.

Its really silly tbh.
I can understand the need to protect children, however a lot of the blocked sites are in no way adult in nature (as the above example) and why is this there for contract users anyway? (As you have to be 18 or over to have a phone contract).

WelshBluebird said,
Its really silly tbh.
I can understand the need to protect children, however a lot of the blocked sites are in no way adult in nature (as the above example) and why is this there for contract users anyway? (As you have to be 18 or over to have a phone contract).

I can see their point when it comes to offering the service to someone on contract. After all, if you bought a phone for your kid and added it to your plan, would you not want to limit the kid's access to porn? Of course, the execution was stupid. Such measures should be off by default and switched on per customer request, not the other way around as it's more trouble for every adult that uses their service to switch it off than it is for every adult to activate the feature on any kids' phones connected to their plan.

Yea, I could kinda see this but they should inform their subscribers first. But then the whole give us ur credit card details for verification is fishy (or should I say phishy) to begin with.

JamesWeb said,
... Slow news day?

Yes, because the UK market is tiny, and O2 doesn't represent a huge proportion of iphone users within said country.

in other news, iphones haven't sold well at all, and Neowin isn't a tech site.

macf13nd said,

Yes, because the UK market is tiny, and O2 doesn't represent a huge proportion of iphone users within said country.

in other news, iphones haven't sold well at all, and Neowin isn't a tech site.


macf13nd said,

Yes, because the UK market is tiny, and O2 doesn't represent a huge proportion of iphone users within said country.

in other news, iphones haven't sold well at all, and Neowin isn't a tech site.

This. Nuff said