Thursday, September 30, 2004

implausible denial

Why is email breaking-down? Why are Tech-Support departments getting busier and bigger in spite of ALL figures proving they should be shrinking (or at least having an easier life)? Because of silly, ill-conceived (but 'well-meaning') initiatives such as Vodafone's 'Guide to Content Control'.

I use the phrase 'well-meaning', although it's really the Legal and Marketing departments trying to convince you they have your best interests at heart. In the real world, we all know it's to avoid compensation actions and so they can appear caring and concerned. (incidentally, these departments, in virtually ANY organisation or company of any size, comprise two-thirds of Satans-own Unholy Trinity along with the Klix drink-vending machine, and are despised equally.)

Vodafone has taken on the role of Public Protector, and decided that they have the power to judge what is suitable and appropriate for ALL their subscribers. While Cable TV companies provide Parental Control in the form of security codes, and Film and Music distributors sunscribe to a 'review & information label' system, Vodafone, in their all-knowing wisdom have opted for a 'positive-approval' whitelist system, meaning you can't view what they haven't rated. Unless you contact them to request a blanket lifting of this system, (invariably to some spotty salesman in a mobile 'phone shop who looks at you like you are a serial porn-scrounger) you are denied access to sites such as Pete's Eats and numerous other completely innocent and informative sites.

As if you can view any decent filth on a bloody Nokia anyway! So restricted are we in the UK to available mobile-bandwidth (not due to technology, I hasten to add, but by the fact the Networks paid so much for the licences for 3G they can't afford to ditch the old technology yet) that Blogs and info-sites are just about the only thing you can browse with any speed anyway!

Apply Vodafone's ethos to email routing, spam filtering and a multitude of other 'imperitive' business functions online, and you end up with IT departments battling with un-arbitrated Whitelists, reverse-domain lookups and all manner of other hurdles, most of them doing as much blocking of legitimate traffic as unwanted (as if the users they support aren't enough of a trial....)

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