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MOBILE CONTENT Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and the Films & Publications Board Introduction

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mobile content

MOBILE CONTENT

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and the Films & Publications Board

introduction
Introduction
  • Cell C welcomes the opportunity to address the Committee and to that end clarify the role that Mobile Cellular Telecommunications Service (MCTS) operators play in the delivery of content via cell phones
  • Increasingly, locally and internationally there is a convergence of broadcasting and telecommunication services, thus enabling the delivery of content to a mobile phone or the ability to access the Internet via the mobile phone
  • Broadcasting and telecommunications were legislated separately, acknowledgement of the convergence of technologies has resulted in the passing of the Electronics Communications Act (ECA), which is currently before the NCOP
mechanisms for accessing mobile content
Mechanisms for accessing mobile content
  • Content can be accessed by end users as a result of:
    • Complimentary services provided by Wireless Application Service Providers (“WASPs”) and Mobile Operators, viz.
        • A WASP provides content, such as ring tones
        • Mobile Cellular Telecommunications Service (MCTS) operators’ networks serve as a conduit over which WASP content is provided
relationship between wasp mcts operator and end user
Relationship Between WASP, MCTS Operator and End User
  • End-users contract with WASPs to procure content
  • WASPs provide content. WASPs are not licensed.
  • The WASP’s content is carried over the MCTS network to the end-user. The MCTS operator serves as a conduit for the conveyance of the WASPs content
  • The MCTS operator is not aware of the content that is being conveyed on its network
  • MCTS licences prohibit the holder thereof from intercepting traffic carried on its networks unless expressly authorised to do so
  • Cell C concludes stringent agreements with WASPs in efforts to curb the distribution of “Illegal” content over its network infrastructure
  • Cell C has been and continues to be a strong advocate of self-regulation and thus the creation of an industry association to this end
mobile content distribution system
Mobile Content Distribution System

Marketing and Advertising

Content Provisioning

WASP provides content

Content Producer

Mobile Operator C

End-user requests content

Content Aggregator

WASP provides content

Mobile Operator X

WASP

End-user requests content

regulatory framework
Regulatory Framework
  • Electronic Communications and Transaction Act 25 of 2002
    • Provides for self-regulation by information system service providers, such as WASPs
    • The MCTS sector recently concluded a Code of Conduct together with the Wireless Application Service Provider Association (WASPA) which sets the parameters for the delivery of mobile content from WASPs
    • It serves as a tool to self regulate the delivery of mobile content
    • A similar Code of Conduct is applicable in respect of advertising and is monitored and enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority
content control
Content Control
  • Content is accessed via three methods on mobile telephones
    • WASP and Network Operator Services
    • Web access using GPRS or 3G
    • Multi-media Media Service (MMS) from friends

Controls in place to restrict access to-

WASP services

  • Mobile operators have concluded the IRB Code which regulates Content provision
  • Cell C’s own content portal and content brochures offer no adult-related content
  • Cell C has proposed the use of a specific number range for adult content to enable parents to prohibit access to specific numbers by having such access blocked with the assistance of the MCTS operator

Content from the Internet

  • Browsers may be downloaded from the Internet, which would enable the user to access unrestricted content
  • Software filters that prohibit access to specific sites do not as yet exist
  • Parental control is paramount to controlling access of content via the Internet

Content via Multi-Media Messages

  • Mobile operators are prohibited from intercepting traffic carried over their networks without explicit authorisation from the relevant authorities
  • Accordingly operators are unable to identify undesirable content carried over their networks
  • Again parental control is paramount to deter the distribution of unsuitable messages
international best practices 1
International Best Practices (1)

Ireland

  • Established an independent non-profit body to self regulate called Regtel
  • Specific number ranges have been allocated to adult services
  • Adult services can only be accessed with a PIN number issued by a Network Operator

United Kingdom

  • Established an independent non-profit industry regulator called ICSTIS
  • Strictly regulate advertising of adult content to children.
  • Control Access to adult content and apply appropriate content ratings
international best practices 2
International Best Practices (2)

Australia

  • A discussion paper has been published for comment by the Australian Communications Authority, and the industry is finalising a position regarding “Regulation of Mobile Premium Services”
  • The draft rules published with the discussion paper propose that a specific prefixed number be the only number to access adult services
  • A subscriber will only be allowed access to adult services upon receipt by the MCTS operator of a request in writing by a person older than 18 years of age
mechanisms in place in south africa
Mechanisms in place in South Africa
  • Mobile operators and the Wireless Application Service Providers Association (WASPA) recently concluded a Code of Good Practice for the self-regulation of mobile content services, known as the IRB Code
  • Objectives of the IRB Code
    • Provide parents and other guardians with access to information and resources through which they can influence the type of content. This demonstrates the mobile operators’ commitment to ensuring that unsuitable content cannot be accessed by minors and thus ensure the responsible use of mobile devices
    • that mobile content services are compliant with the rules regarding the protection of their customers and in particular children, whilst safeguarding the right to freedom of expression and the freedom choice
    • Ensure reasonable steps are taken to by mobile operators to protect minors from accessing and viewing mobile content which is unsuitable for them
    • Provide guidelines for mobile operators and other stakeholders in the mobile content services industry for compliance with applicable
      • legal requirements
      • promotion of the adoption of responsible processes and procedures for the provision of mobile content services
      • a transparent, fair and efficient mechanism for the handling of complaints relating to mobile content
    • Promote and encourage the responsible consumption of mobile content services by consumers
the irb code
The IRB Code
  • Mobile operators will only contract with WASPs who belong to WASPA and subscribe to the IRB Code
  • Despite being a conduit for the conveyance of mobile content mobile operators when aware that illegal content is conveyed across their networks will alert the relevant enforcement agencies
  • Mobile operators do not advertise age restricted content in publications for general circulation or via either media accessible to children
  • Mobile operators have committed to introduce access controls or filtering measures to restrict access to children
  • Mobile operators will not advertise content depicting sexual conduct in any publications or other media that children may have access to
  • Mobile operators will take to introduce access controls or other measures to control access by children to unsuitable content
advertising of mobile content services
Advertising of Mobile Content Services
  • Advertisements of mobile content services by WASPs are subject to guidelines prescribed by the Advertising Standards Authority’s Code of Conduct
  • Broadcasters are subject to the Broadcasting Code of Conduct, which sets out the guidelines for advertising
  • A further, Code of Conduct is being finalised which imposes stricter guidelines, particularly in respect of adult content
cell c s measures to restrict access of children to restricted content
Cell C’s measures to restrict access of children to restricted content
  • Cell C only contracts with WASPs that are members of WASPA and subscribe to the IRB Code
  • Cell C content brochures and portal do not offer any adult content
  • We are in negotiations to ensure that a single short code range is used to access Adult Content to enable parents or guardians to block access to such numbers
  • The use of a single short code range is subject to industry agreement
  • We are in discussions with equipment vendors to provide filtering, screening and where applicable blocking at network level of certain content to restricted subscriber segments. A solution from the suppliers should be forthcoming in the first half of 2006.
  • We are also in discussions with handset manufacturers in respect of the development of filters to restrict access to specific websites via the mobile handset, however, the successful restriction of access is complex and challenging
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Cell C recognises and supports the need to protect children from accessing mobile content which is unsuitable for them
  • However, the solution must be a collaborative effort from the
    • content providers,
    • mobile operators whose networks are used for the conveyance of content
    • Manufacturers who develop the mobile devices and software platforms
    • Parents
  • Content providers, mobile operators and manufacturers can develop the technical solution to restrict access, whereas, parents are responsible for the implementation of the control measures to prevent their children from accessing unsuitable content