A leading internet service provider has told Shooting Times that the magazine?s website is unsuitable for under-18s because it contains information on how to make bombs.
Orange, part of the UK?s biggest mobile phone operator, uses its ?Orange Safeguard? system to restrict mobile access to shootingtimes.co.uk, meaning that readers who wish to view the site on their Orange mobile phone must first prove their age in an Orange shop.
A spokesman for Orange told Shooting Times: ?Orange Safeguard is a mobile content filter which covers customer use of the mobile internet, to prevent anyone under the age of 18 from accessing inappropriate content.?
When pressed as to what was ?inappropriate? about shootingtimes.co.uk, the spokesman referred to Orange?s list of subjects unsuitable for children and said that the site fell into a category called ?bombs?, containing information on how to ?prepare, make, build and use explosives and explosive devices.?
Rival mobile operator T-Mobile also considers shootingtimes.co.uk as unsuitable for under-18s. A spokesman said: ?The content [of shootingtimes.co.uk] was blocked because of the nature of the magazine. There are some images linked to shooting and so it?s deemed that people have to confirm their age before they?re able to view it.?
Barnaby Dracup, Shooting Times? Online Editor, commented: ?Saying that shooting is inappropriate content for minors is greatly discriminatory, and any link to bombs and bomb-making, clearly absurd. Obviously these online content filters are there to provide a service, but can often be no more than a sledgehammer to crack a nut in their application and function.
?However, the fact this content filter is in place for shooting and shooting sports shows an ignorance about these subjects and misrepresents some of the most law-abiding sections of our society ? many of whom have been shooting, perfectly legally, since a very young age.?
Both Orange and T-Mobile say that their choice of adult content follows the guidelines of the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB). When Shooting Times contacted the IMCB, it said that it could not comment on specific cases, apart from to say that decisions such as this ?were not clear cut?.
A spokesman said: ?The idea of our framework is to ensure that content is classified age-appropriately and that material that is not suitable for children is not available to them. We have not been approached by any network in relation to this particular website.?