Following talks with BASC, people using Virgin mobile phones will now be able to visit shooting websites.
Complex under-18 filters, which are the default setting on Virgin Mobile phones, meant that shooters were unable to access websites that had anything to do with shooting, including Shooting Times and BASC.
However, following discussions between BASC and Virgin Mobile, the issue is being resolved.
A spokesman from BASC told Shooting Times: “Lawful shooting sports have been caught up unnecessarily by these automatic blocks. We welcome Virgin mobile’s positive approach to removing unwarranted censorship and hope their example will go a long way towards persuading others in the mobile industry to follow their lead.”
Conor O’Gorman, policy development manager for BASC, explained that while it was possible for the mobile user to change their settings and remove the default under-18 age filter in a matter of hours, this was only treating the symptoms and not the cause: “The solution is to modify the settings on the network filters so that the websites of BASC, Shooting Times and many others are automatically white-listed by mobile networks for under- 18s to visit.”
“The more examples of incorrectly categorised websites that Virgin Mobile receives from website owners the more likely it will be that Virgin Mobile’s network partner EE can ensure that these and other similar sites won’t be incorrectly blocked in the future.”
A spokesman for Virgin Media told Shooting Times: “In line with the agreed industry approach, we restrict mobile access to content suitable for over-18s only. As soon as the British Association for Shooting and Conservation got in touch, we looked into the matter and are working with our network partner to ensure the BASC website is removed from our content filter.”
Owners of affected shooting websites should contact BASC and request the removal of under-18 restrictions from the website.
BASC will then pass on the request to Virgin Mobile and the block should normally be removed in a few weeks.
Shooters can help by informing the owners of the website that there is a problem. Website owners may not realise that potential visitors and customers are unable to visit their website and that Internet searches via mobile phone might not even be giving results for their website.
BASC is willing to find similar solutions with other mobile phone companies and their networks if problems are reported to the organisation by shooters.
BASC has set up an online briefing with a list of the shooting websites that the organisation has asked Virgin Mobile to unblock and a list of other mobile phone companies that it has received blocking reports on.
The Shooting Times website will be unblocked in the next few weeks. To report any new problems, contact BASC by visiting bit.ly/132li1N
Virgin unblocks access to shooting websites on mobile phones