The question of public wifi access and content filtering has received significant attention recently. At O2, we’d like to make our position clear. From the moment our public wifi service was switched on in 2011, we’ve fully content-filtered our service at all venues. This means that we’ve never allowed access to illegal, extreme and adult material. We were the first in the industry to do this, well before all other large wifi providers, and we’re proud of it.
This is an important issue and mustn’t be underestimated. A balance needs to be reached between protecting vulnerable users and allowing adults to enjoy the freedom that the internet affords. Several factors guide our thinking here: Firstly, the open nature of wifi and its availability across many devices means that it’s highly accessible to all, including children. Secondly, public wifi is by its nature ‘public’ and provided in places where people and communities come together, and where adults are unlikely to want to enjoy restricted material, like adult content. Thirdly, most venues explicitly do not want to allow access to adult material in their environment because it doesn’t fit with the experience they provide.
O2 Wifi was created to address the problems in the wifi industry with poor user experience. Part of this included the fact that other major players were not providing this level of protection. We’re encouraged to see that most large wifi players are following our lead and moving in this direction. We’re proud to be recognised by the likes of Mumsnet as a family-friendly company but we do not want to differentiate on content filtering. It should be a hygiene factor for the industry. We’re a trusted mobile data company that provides access to mobile internet and have always taken content filtering extremely seriously.
O2 Wifi’s MD, Gavin Franks, adds “We have taken a strong, leading position on content filtering. As an established and trusted mobile company, O2 has always understood the responsibilities that come with extending mobile data access. When we created O2 Wifi, we built full content filtering into the service from day one. We remain vigilant though, as the internet is constantly evolving and the ways that people share and access content is changing. That’s why the experience we have from our cellular network has allowed us to take such a strong position from the outset.”
O2 is committed to offering a safe digital environment for children. To read more about this, click HERE.