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If it’s not malware it should be

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[Jane Adams] I’ve got a sore back. Or to be more precise I’ve got a sore tail bone. I don’t know whether it’s from being thrown in a fight or from the amount of time I spend on trains commuting between home (Edinburgh) and work (Guildford) but sitting down has been painful recently. Last night I felt moved to Google the problem on my phone to see what could be done.

Google did its job with a multiplicity of results. But I couldn’t access any of them because my MNO blocked them all as adult content. I didn’t use *rse or b*m as search terms but anything below the waist appears to be out for this MNO.

What I was presented with was a tiny, barely legible (even on my Samsung S3), barely branded screen asking me to input my credit card details to prove that I was old enough to read about what is probably age-related spine degeneration.

On an Android phone? You must be kidding.

And why is this necessary? I have an account with my phone provider (one of the big 4). I’ve had a business account with my phone provider for something like 10 years. Until recently, when I got my proper job with Consult Hyperion, I was VAT registered and the MNO had that information in its system. If, as the phone owner, I’m old enough for a VAT registration, I’m old enough to read about bottoms. And if I’m not the venerable phone owner and I’ve nicked their phone, I’ve probably nicked their credit card too.

There’s a lot of talk about big data at the moment. Proper use of data could considerably improve the prospects for mobile wallets. However if this is indicative of what mobile operators are doing with data, I’m not optimistic.

Frankly, I rather hope that the screen was malware generated rather than genuine.

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