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O2 now blocking sites

  • 10-09-2009 12:49pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    It appears that o2 are now blocking some sites on the basis of a list supplied by the Internet Watch Foundation.

    File hosting sites are affected so far from what I can see.

    Any attempt to reach these sites is greeted with a o2 screen saying that they have blocked the site on the basis of what the IWF say.

    This can be avoided by not using o2's DNS settings.

    Seems we are headed down a slippery slope.


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Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,236 Sponge Bob


    O2 sell a lot of product to teenagers so maybe it is no harm . Most of the sites are porn sites in fairness, not filesharing sites.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    As changing the DNS bypasses their nanny state blocking, i suppose that is a compromise.

    I meant to say this is on their midband products.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,224 Walkman


    Sponge Bob wrote: »
    O2 sell a lot of product to teenagers so maybe it is no harm . Most of the sites are porn sites in fairness, not filesharing sites.
    If it was 3 we would all be giving out about them saying how dare they who are they to say what we can or cannot view.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    Given the hoo-ha over eircom's blocking of Piratebay, I'm surprised at the complete lack of talk about this.

    As mentioned, it's a half-hearted block effort, as a simple DNS change bypasses it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,459 ✭✭✭ Ronan Raver77


    On the phone to o2 yesterday and guy said we do not block any sites.....It wasn't any prn site either i was looking at..


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    Well they are deffo blocking sites.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    Indeed, depositfiles is one they are blocking. You get a generic warning page with a link to the Internet Watch Foundation. Why a company like O2 are blocking file-hosting sites listed by an anti child-porn site is strange though. I've never heard of these sites being big on CP distribution.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,459 ✭✭✭ Ronan Raver77


    They sure are...so who do i ring besides o2 tomorrow..think il cancel my phone and broadband for this sly act!!!!

    From another site

    Was looking over the broadband T & C and noticed a few things

    4. Service
    4.4. O2 reserves the right to restrict, modify or block access to the Service if in its reasonable opinion the Service is being used for purposes other than as permitted under this Agreement.

    Well you are now restricting access to the Service unilaterally but how have you come to your 'reasonable opinion the Service is being used for purposes other than as permitted under this Agreement' for each individual user?

    10. Liability (Limitation and Exclusions)
    10.3 O2 Mobile Broadband will allow you to access websites offered by third parties. O2 has no control over these sites and is not responsible for their availability, content or subject matter. O2 does not control or select this content and is not responsible for its availability or subject matter. O2's inclusion of this content does not imply any endorsement of the content and O2 accepts no liability whatsoever for this content.

    This is clearly false. By blocking access O2 does have control over sites by selecting only content they approve. Is O2 now in breach of contract by deliberately ignoring your own T & C? Perhaps you should have changed them first.
    http://forums.o2online.ie/forums/showthread.php?p=73462


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    Indeed. Hotfile is also blocked. Only a matter of time before they block rapidshare.
    I've never heard of these sites being big on CP distribution.
    It is a poor justification to stop people connecting to sites that involve large amounts of data being used.
    Also it is amazing their staff are denying any of this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,459 ✭✭✭ Ronan Raver77


    I was onto o2 today and the guy confirmed they are blocking sites that were provided to them by the Internet Watch Foundation. I also rang comreg so will see what happens.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭ MackDeToaster


    I've just seen this and I thought I was mad, but then I also logged onto the o2 forum to add to your post and was greeted with the message "You have been banned for the following reason : No reason specified" and "Date the ban will be lifted: Never".

    I had a total of three threads there, two asking for help which were sorted, and one helping someone else which was thanked by Daryll. No reason to ban me whatsoever.

    Between that and unwanted and unwarranted censorship I'm cancelling my contract immediately even though it will leave me with no web access. I also am the 'tech guru' for several others for whom I recommended O2, so I'll ensure they'll also be leaving. Well done O2, a lesson in how to alienate customers.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    I'm going to wait and see if there's any response on that thread on the O2 forum, but I'm considering a move to Vodafone right now. They charge 10 euro a month less, have the same cap, and have coverage in pretty much all the places I'd need it. The only drawback I see is no EDGE on Voda, and I'd be down to bare GPRS in one or two locations.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    I am between a rock and a hard place here. O2 is the only game in town for me.
    Luckily a simple DNS change has defeated the Limerick chancers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,459 ✭✭✭ Ronan Raver77


    I should really have a user name here:) my signal coverage on mobile and broadband may start to go haywire:o Guys in o2 defo watching peoples reactions to this sly underhanded move!!!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    It is amazing there is no official response. Normally they are quick to put down the nay sayers.

    The posts on their forum are reasoned and well constructed yet there is no response from any person representing o2.

    I registered over there so I can add my 2 cent to the discussion. Still awaiting to be allowed in.


  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭ MackDeToaster


    Since I'm banned from posting on O2's site, I may as well post here about how furious I am about O2's conduct.

    1. Using the protect the children argument as reason for censorship is utterly pathetic.

    2. O2 made a unilateral decision with regard to my rights of access to the interent - zero consulation was made with me, zero notification was given.

    3. This is in breach of the Terms and Conditions of the contract which states "10.3 O2 Mobile Broadband will allow you to access websites offered by third parties. O2 has no control over these sites and is not responsible for their availability, content or subject matter. O2 does not control or select this content and is not responsible for its availability or subject matter. O2's inclusion of this content does not imply any endorsement of the content and O2 accepts no liability whatsoever for this content."

    4. IWF is a foreign private organisation, unaccountable to anyone, which has already been tarnished and shown to be arbitrary by such actions as putting the entire Wikipedia on it's list for showing a picture of a Scorpions album cover, an album readily available in online and street music shops. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Watch_Foundation_and_Wikipedia

    5. IWF is not combating the spread of illegal child pornography websites by any means, they're just hiding away what THEY think is wrong. If sites such as Depositfiles are actually used by child-pornography, they would and should have been taken down by the police and relevant authorities long ago.

    6. These ISP restrictions are easily circumvented by anyone wishing to gain access to these sites, i.e. they do nothing to prevent the real perverts and hinder everybody else. Plus, note that except for the occasional minor dumpkoffs, the major players are all long gone beyond the reach of ISPs to the darknet and will always remain one step ahead. So, once again, what is the point of this beyond pathetic showboating which has no real effect and only serves to infuriate people? Is O2 really this incredibly stupid ?

    7. The slippery slope. An ISP is a pipe, they should provide a service and nothing more. O2 has zero right to even attempt to decide what is and what is not good for me. So what's next O2, what else can we expect to have vanish ? What else will you and the ridiculous IWF decide is not suitable for me ?

    8. Leading on from 7, why has O2 decided that they will be my big brother and hold my hand in the big world wide web and "maintain a safer mobile environment" for me ? How incredibly arrogant and insulting. I make my choices as to where I want to go and what I want to see, and I take full responsibility for those choices and actions. O2 can butt right out of it.

    This isn't very coherent, just a quick sticking together, but I would still like a point-by-point rebuttal from O2, a precise explanation and a watertight case as to their actions and censorship. I somehow doubt I'll get it, all I'll expect is corporate sticking their head in the sand and repetition of that stupid post on their forum, but I'm waiting to be pleasantly surprised and proven wrong.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    Aparantly, they've unblocked Depositfiles. Can anyone who hasn't changed their DNS confirm this?


  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭ MackDeToaster


    Yes, Depositfiles is now fine, but hotfile remains blocked. Judging by the thread on their forum and lack of a proper response they've made a proper hames of things.

    I couldn't get through on Friday after hours of ringing, but I've just managed it a few minutes ago and the guy I was talking to was apparently genuinely surprised, if not actually astonished, at this.
    He insisted that they don't do censorship, but went off and got a modem and tried it himself and didn't know what to say when he confirmed it, so he has pushed it upstairs.

    It'll be interesting to see what they get back with but if they don't cut the crap I'm gone and so are seven other users I recommended this 'service' to.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 20,374 ✭✭✭✭ foggy_lad


    it would have been a good idea if they offered it as an optional service to customers but someone had the bright idea to block everything even before customer care were properly informed.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 865 Purple Gorilla


    I e-mailed the EU Commission about this. They love fining the crap out of companies for being anti-Consumer


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  • Registered Users Posts: 138 ✭✭ Tucker.Tim


    Err, to voice the concerns of lay people, what exactly do you change the DNS settings to? A random public IP address? And does your 'primary' and 'secondary' need to be different?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    You can change the settings to OpenDNS, these are 208.67.222.222 & 208.67.220.220

    You can also use 4.2.2.1 & 4.2.2.2

    To make this change, you need to open the O2 control software, edit network settings, and enter primary and secondary DNS there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 138 ✭✭ Tucker.Tim


    jor el wrote: »
    You can change the settings to OpenDNS, these are 208.67.222.222 & 208.67.220.220

    You can also use 4.2.2.1 & 4.2.2.2

    To make this change, you need to open the O2 control software, edit network settings, and enter primary and secondary DNS there.

    Thanks!


  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭ MackDeToaster


    Has anybody else put in a formal complaint and received nothing other than a statement stating they have not breached the terms of the contract and refusing to expand upon that ? This is pure and simple stonewalling by O2, the typical response of any Irish organisation found to be in the wrong.

    I'm going to complain to Comreg, but does anyone know where I can look to in the EU to complain about this part ? ...

    Under Regulation 17 of the European Communities (electronic communications networks and services)(Universal Service and Users’ rights) regulations 2003 an operator shall not shall not less than one month prior to the date of implementation of any proposed modification, notify its subscribers to that service of the proposed modification in the conditions of the contract for that service, and their right to withdraw without penalty from such contract if they do not accept the modification.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    Someone will have to cancel their contract on the basis of them changing the terms and conditions. Of course knowing how o2 operates they will not take anyone to court to enforce the contract and the matter will never be tested. O2 will just write off the account after a few months of scary letters.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    Has anybody else put in a formal complaint and received nothing other than a statement stating they have not breached the terms of the contract and refusing to expand upon that ? This is pure and simple stonewalling by O2, the typical response of any Irish organisation found to be in the wrong.

    I'm going to complain to Comreg, but does anyone know where I can look to in the EU to complain about this part ? ...

    I put in a formal complaint, awaiting a response now. If you get nowhere, you'll have to exhaust their complaints procedure before you go to Comreg, as otherwise Comreg will ignore you (or tell you to exhaust O2's complaints procedure).

    My complaint
    Good day,

    I've already posted this on your support forum, but I'd like to make it an official complaint. As mentioned by others on the forum, O2 have changed the terms and conditions, without notifying any customer, or giving them the required 28 days notice for them to disagree before implementing any change, in breech of the Universal Service and User Rights Regulation, regulation 17.

    My post is here
    http://forums.o2online.ie/forums/showpost.php?p=74971&postcount=40

    Regulations link:
    http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/NR/rdonlyres/02EC83AC-5574-4D7C-9FE1-95BB649F69C6/0/CommsReg_USO_final.doc

    Regulation 17 states:

    "Contracts

    17. (1) An undertaking that provides to end-users connection or access or both connection and access to the public telephone network shall do so in accordance with a contract.

    (2) A contract referred to in paragraph (1) shall specify, inter alia -

    (a) the identity and address of the supplier,
    (b) services provided, the service quality levels offered, as well as the time for the initial connection,
    (c) the types of maintenance service offered,
    (d) particulars of prices and tariffs and the means by which up to date information on all applicable tariffs and maintenance charges may be obtained,
    (e) the duration of the contract, conditions for renewal and termination of services and of the contract,
    (f) any compensation and refund arrangements which apply if contracted service quality levels are not met, and
    (g) the method of initiating procedures for settlement of disputes in accordance with Regulation 28.

    (3) Where a contract is agreed between an end-user and a provider of electronic communications services, other than one providing connection or access or both to the public telephone network, such contract shall include the information specified in paragraph (2).

    (4) An undertaking referred to in paragraph (1) or a provider of electronic communications services referred to in paragraph (3) shall, not less than one month prior to the date of implementation of any proposed modification, notify its subscribers to that service –

    (a) of the proposed modification in the conditions of the contract for that service, and
    (b) their right to withdraw without penalty from such contract if they do not accept the modification.

    (5) A subscriber referred to in paragraph (4) may withdraw from his or her contract with the undertaking or provider, without penalty if he or she does not accept a proposed modification referred to in paragraph (4)."

    The decision to block certain websites, no matter how distasteful or illegal the content, constitutes a change to the terms and conditions that I, and every other customer, signed up to. In fact, there's still no official mention of this, and it doesn't appear in the terms and conditions, that access to the Internet is restricted in any way.

    Section 10.3 of your own Terms and Conditions states:
    "10.3 O2 Mobile Broadband will allow you to access websites offered by third parties. O2 has no control over these sites and is not responsible for their availability, content or subject matter. O2 does not control or select this content and is not responsible for its availability or subject matter. O2's inclusion of this content does not imply any endorsement of the content and O2 accepts no liability whatsoever for this content."

    O2 does not control or select this content and is not responsible for its availability or subject matter.

    This a complete lie, as you are now controlling available content. You are in breech of your terms and conditions, or you have changed the terms and conditions (but not on the website) and have failed to notify your customers, which is in itself a breech. It is also a breech of the Universal Service and User Rights Regulations, as stated above.

    If a user is bound by contract terms and conditions, is it too much to ask that the service provider be bound by the same?

    To finish, I am not looking to terminate my service, and I am already outside of my 12 month minimum term anyway. All I ask is that O2 conducts it's business in a proper manner, within the terms that O2 itself set down, and those set down by Comreg and the DCMNR. Failing to do so is illegal after all.

    You can find EU directives on telecoms regulation here:
    http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/index_en.htm
    However, I don't think there's actually an EU telecoms regulator just yet. This more to do with the EU commission taking individual states to court, or holding to account, for failure to implement regulatory services (correctly?).

    Make sure your complaint to O2 is a formal one, and get a reference number. You'll need that if you take it further.

    Bond, you're probably right. It will take someone to cancel while within a contract to test this, and O2 will probably farm it off to a debt collector before letting it quietly disappear. Whatever causes least fuss, I'd guess.


    They've moved the post from the Broadband forum to the General forum too, with no redirect. Gets less attention that way?


  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭ MackDeToaster


    jor el wrote: »
    You can find EU directives on telecoms regulation here:
    http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/index_en.htm
    However, I don't think there's actually an EU telecoms regulator just yet. This more to do with the EU commission taking individual states to court, or holding to account, for failure to implement regulatory services (correctly?).

    Make sure your complaint to O2 is a formal one, and get a reference number. You'll need that if you take it further.

    Thanks. I rang up and made a complain early last week and got a reference number but never heard anything back. I then emailed them and got basically this..
    "I have investigated this matter with our legal team and we are satisfied that we have not breached the terms of your contract with us.".

    I asked them to explain precisely how they are not in breach and got..

    "
    As per my previous email, we are satisfied that we have not breached the terms of your contract with us however if there is reference within our terms and conditions that you wish to clarify, please let me know."

    I asked them yet again to explain this and have gotten no reply, so this morning I mailed them once more and asked them to terminate my contract without penalty in light of them being unwilling to explain how they are not in breach, so I'm currently waiting on a response.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭✭ jor el


    The specific bit of their T&Cs you want to question them on is 10.3, that I quoted in my email above. That's the bit that says they don't interfere with Internet content, even though they are.

    More generally, ask them where exactly in the T&Cs it says that O2 are allowed to censor content? If they can't show you which part of the terms covers their current actions, then they don't have any cover, and shouldn't be doing it.

    The questions, exactly like the one's we're asking here, are being ignored on O2's own support forum too. The only answer is pretty much exactly what you've been told; "No, we're not breaking the contract".


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 29,821 ✭✭✭✭ Our man in Havana


    That is like saying that black is white. They won't justify it except to say that black is white and you better accept that. I doubt they will accede to Mack's request to cancel the contract without penalty. It would open the floodgates.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 330 ✭✭ MackDeToaster


    Yes, I have referenced 10.3 in all communications with them. I've pointed out that to all intents and purposes this is a straightforward case of a broken contract, but they simply refuse to acknowledge this and deny it with no further explanation.

    To me this appears to show that they are aware that they are in trouble and they're just trying to ignore the problem in the hope it'll go away - we only have to look at the government, the church, etc, to see similar tactics. However I'll have no problem in fighting this as far as I can.

    As far as I'm concerned, while censorship is way out of line and I'd be leaving anyway, it wouldn't be quite so bad for O2 if they did admit straight up they have introduced it, and if they did admit that they have broken the contract.

    But this barefaced lying, evasion and refusal to fully engage with any argument I've put to them, or that of anyone else on the forum, is being counter-productive and is instead demonstrating them to be a company devoid of any real morals, ethics, principles or pretensions towards genuine customer care, which is quite ironic when you consider their purported reason for this unwanted censorship.

    As I said in an earlier post I believe this to be mere political grandstanding, an ineffective soundbite dreamed up by some idiots in marketing to put a nice sheen on them. But they've put their own priorities ahead of their customers and their initial sneaky breaking of trust and subsequent behaviour is for me both inexcusable and unforgivable and I'll be glad to get rid of them.


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