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Pornography A Call Away

Children are being sent pornography via mobile phones.
The porn includes semi-naked and naked women in provocative poses and eicplicit sex scenes.
The images, advertised as "wall- paper" for mobile phones, are sent out when a 1902 number is called.
The images run beside children's cartoon characters in advertisements for the service.
The advertisements fine print states only that ineligiblity to access the pornography if you are under 14 years of age or do not have the permission of the bill payer.
"It's a concern and it is a loop- hole," Australian Communications Authority's Vince Humphries said.
Young Media Australia president Jane Roberts said she also was disturbed by the way the service was being marketed.
"There needs to be some sort ot safeguard put in place that covers not only the billed customer but the prepaid phone, which is a very popular alternative for children," she said.
"The marketing of this service is placing these images alongside images that are very child orientated, including such cartoon characters as Astro boy and kittens etc. Parents need to be made aware this service is out there.
"Given that Australia has a large and increasing population of Children and young adults purchasing and accessing mobile phones, how do they guarantee that this material - which is quite explicit - is not sent to a 10 year old's mobile?"
The Federal Government last night revealed it was taking steps to close the loophole for pornography suppliers.
"It is important that strong consumer safeguards are in place for these new services, particularly to protect children from possible exposure to inappropriate content," a spokeswoman for Minister for Communications Senator Helen Coonan said.
"The Government takes the issue of protecting children from inappropriate and offensive content very seriously."
The communications authority has asked in May to rule on preventing children accessing the content on SMS and MMS services.
Department recommendations are expected to be released within the next few months.
A spokesman for the Department of Communications. Information Technology and the Arts said it was aware of adult audio visual services being provided on 1302 numbers.
"The Government Will take action to ensure that those services can be provided only where there are appropriate controls to prevent access by minors," she said.
Telstra also has offered to block services where adult audio visual services are provided on 1902 numbers without access controls.

AAP (20-11-2004)
Edith Bevin

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