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Porn filters on UK's mobile phones cause censorship, report says

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A masked hacker, part of the Anonymous group, hacks the French presidential Elysee Palace website on Jan. 20, 2012 near the eastern city of Lyon. Anonymous briefly knocked the FBI and Justice Department websites offline in retaliation for the US shutdown of Megaupload.

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Porn filters on mobile phones are censoring political websites, according to a report by Open Rights Group. The report found that 60 websites with no sexual content were blocked by porn filters. The blocked websites include Biased-BBC, a website challenging the impartiality of BBC News, and La Quadrature du Net, a digital rights group. 

In 2004, the UK's Mobile Broadband Group automatically put child filters on many phones, BBC News reported. To remove the filters, phone users need to call customer service. In some cases, they also need to go to a mobile phone store to provide proof-of-age. 

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The news comes as conservative politicians in the UK are proposing stricter bans on internet pornography. They want to force broadband service providers to block all pornographic content in order to protect children, the Daily Telegraph reported, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to consult with the protesters on the issue.

But Open Rights Group says that all child filters, both the current ones on the mobile phones and the proposed filters on all broadband service providers, could have dangerous, unintended consequences. 

"Child protection filters can actually affect many more users than intended and block many more sites than they should. These blunt blocks effectively add up to a system of censorship across UK networks," Peter Bradwell of the Open Rights Group told the BBC