Rating: World Cup streaming story comes to our rescue
For some reason, ten days ago Vodafone‘s mobile broadband service suddenly started to block access to the GoMo News site to all those who hadn’t registered themselves as over 18. Initial attempts to find the root cause and overturn the restriction proved fruitless until we spotted this World Cup video streaming story on The Register. The answer lies with K9 listings.
Vodafone is bound by a mobile industry code of conduct which commits the operator to preventing unsuitable materials (porn and gambling) being readily viewed by those under 18. Hence one conspiracy theory was our story mentioning pornography had triggered the ban.
Trying to find our way around the Vodafone support forums to discover exactly who you complained to if you site was suddenly blocked, didn’t yield any useful results. So we tried to enlist the help of Vodafone’s PR machine but the wheels are still turning on that one.
By happy chance, this GoMo News hack was perusing other mobile orientated stories on Google News when a story by Bill Ray entitled ‘Vodafone blocks World Cup, except for iPhone users’ caught our eye.
Good old Bill Ray mentioned that Vodafone relies on listings supplied by Blue Coat Systems under the K9 Web Protection brand. So now we knew which Bad Boys list we’d gotten ourselves onto.
Then, it was a simple matter of entering our site’s URL on the K9 ‘Check Site Rating’ page here. You have to be patient, however, because pages on that site being served up by nohold.net (possibly linked to Comcast) take ages to appear.
Unfortunately Blue Coat/K9 listings had categorised us as serving up Spyware/Malware. This is an old problem. We were running version 2.8.0 of the OpenX adserver which had been compromised. The solution is to go to version 2.8.1 or above. We have actually upgraded to 2.8.5 and so alerts aren’t generated anymore.
So if Vodafone mobile broadband starts blocking you and you want to have your listing changed, you should visit this page on the K9 web site here. We have.
Update: Blue Coat responded to our online request and unblocked the site after around 24 hours