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U.S. wireless carriers take aim at adult content

Tuesday, November 8, 2005; 7:10 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With Internet and video more readily available on wireless phones, the major U.S. carriers on Tuesday unveiled guidelines aimed at limiting children's access to adult content and services.

Those under the age of 18 would need parental or a guardian's permission to receive content that carriers offer that may be sexually explicit, excessively violent, or involve gambling, according to voluntary guidelines issued by the wireless industry's biggest trade group, CTIA.

Carriers also plan to make filters and other tools available to restrict Internet access on wireless devices.

"Parents must ultimately decide what materials are most suitable for their children, and wireless carriers participating in this important measure are committed to providing parents with the necessary tools to do so," said Steve Largent, CTIA president and chief executive officer.

The top three wireless carriers are among the participants: Cingular Wireless, a joint venture of BellSouth Corp. <BLS.N> and SBC Communications Inc. <SBC.N>, Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications <VZ.N> and Vodafone Group Plc<VOD.L>, and Sprint Nextel Corp. <S.N>.

About 21 million 5- to 19-year-olds had wireless phones by the end of 2004, according to the technology research firm IDC. The Federal Communications Commission in February urged the industry to act on the issue of adult content.

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