On Monday, Grapevine reported
on a story from RÚV which stated that Iceland's two largest ISPs, Vodafone and Síminn, were considering blocking customer access to porn and gambling sites, justifying the idea as a defence against malware. Today, Vodafone spokesperson Hrannar Pétursson wrote to the Grapevine to clarify his company's position:
1. Vodafone is not planning to block access to any material online.
2. We have never said that a „block, if enforced, would be a way to protect customers from viruses and malware that frequently run rampant on porn and gambling sites” as stated.
3. The Grapevine story was written from a story from RUV, which again was made from radio discussions on the Online Safety Bill now being discussed in the UK. During the radio discussions I said, that Vodafone had considered to have its Online Filtering Service default on all connection. Instead of having to turn the filter on customers who choose would have to turn the filter off, using their self-service page. This would not require them to list the sites they want access to and would happen without any interference by us.
4. It is incorrect that „customers could still request access to such sites ... but doing so would require users to tell their ISP what risqué sites they want to visit.“ Customers would use their self-service page to turn the filtering off.
5. If – and I repeat – these discussion will lead to any actions at all, users would control their access themselves by using their self-service page.
Overall the story is based on mis-understanding.
It is as important for us, as it is for your readers, that the key messages in the story are corrected as soon as possible.
In response to a story Grapevine reported about Vodafone possibly blocking access to porn and gambling sites, a spokesperson for Vodafone explained in further detail what ideas are - and are not - on the table.