Innovation reduces compliance – the emergence of network level parental controls in India.

One of the reasons New Zeland telco’s have one of the lowest levels of government intervention for compliance is the telco market is innovative, competitive and advanced. We’re predicting (based on reliable knowledge as a market leader in VAS) that 85% of end users will have access to telco provided network integrated parental controls by mid-2016.

NZ isn’t the first country in the world to have this adoption, UK has 100% uptake. The difference is in NZ the compliance is market lead, not government regulated. Telco’s get ahead of the game by looking at the trends in society and working proactively to show the government they can make the web a better place for citizens and market regulation isn’t necessary.

Bypass has trials underway for to launch Parental Controls into India, a market that has in this past year has had major debates about end user rights surrounding Net Neutrality and inappropriate content online, as the supreme court overturned the MoT banning of 857 pornographic websites. The banning of 857 porn sites was a reaction by the government. Now whether you agree or disagree with the approach, the intervention by a government only occurs if the government feels this is necessary for social good. So let’s try to understand why?

India has the second largest number of internet users in the world, this year overtaking the US. According to a recent survey, India places fifth in terms of the most number of daily visitors to the major pornography website Pornhub. Pubhub released their internal user demographic data in conjunction with Quartz India on their website.

network level parental controls india time spent looking at porn

This data was gathered between Sept. 2013 to Sept. 2014 from—the world’s 72nd most visited website according to Alexa.

Indians are among the most prolific consumers of internet pornography in the world, and increasing numbers of men—and women—are streaming it on their mobile phones.

About half of Pornhub’s users from India access the website from their smartphones. Pornhub’s Android traffic from India is the third highest after the US and the UK. This trend for mobile is backed up by the global research from Covenant Eyes whose analysis of more than one million hits to Google’s mobile search sites reveals that more than 1 in 5 searches is for pornography is occurring on a mobile device.

mobile provider network level solution parental controls

Meanwhile, for those fixed line telco’s according to the website data 47.5% of India’s users log-on to the site from desktops. So who is watching? According to the data, 25% of Pornhub viewers in India are female, which is a significant 2% higher than the worldwide average of 23%.

According to a survey by Covenant Eyes in 2017 a quarter of a billion people will access mobile adult content from their phones or tablets, an increase of more than 30% from 2013. Mobile adult video chat alone will have a compound annual growth rate of 25%.

Visits to the adult website tends to dip during holidays in India. The biggest decrease occurs on the Festival of Lights, Diwali/Deepavali. Interestingly, a significant 20% dip also occurs on Christmas day despite less than 5% of the Indian population practicing Christianity.

So with evidence of this growing consumption of adult content online the challenge the government faces is it cannot ignore the research that reveals many systemic effects of Internet pornography that are undermining an already vulnerable culture of marriage and family.

For many, these issues threaten India’s democracy and tradition of cultural pluralism. However when coupled with a fear that space for criticism and outspoken views are slowly being constricted – where is the middle ground?

You can’t ignore the global stats!
9 out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.
15% of boys and 9% of girls have seen child pornography.
71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online.
28% of 16-17-year-olds have been unintentionally exposed to pornography online.
39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen sexual bondage online.
83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online.

In India, the creation an ombudsman to monitor inappropriate content will leave bans to a concerned authority’s discretion, outside of the control of the end user or the telco. Just how the concerned ombudsman decide constitutes ‘extreme pornography’ and will there will be accepted norms in place on how to decide what to ban? Authoritative oversight could lead to “know it when I see it” type prosecutions — the kind that saw the Section 66A of the Information Technology Act being misconstrued by politicians

No only is this unlikely to provide a solution to the real issue at hand. But the cost of compliance for the telco is huge, with millions of investment required risking profitability and brand value from the backlash.

The debate is occurring over what some see as a growing culture of intolerance promoted by a series of actions by the government. But unless telco’s take action, simply based on the level of adult content being viewed online in India it’s reasonable to expect telcos will see more regulation forced upon them if no action is taken.

The rapid changes in the digital technologies used in schools and Indian communities, and the growth of the mobile internet has meant the concept of online safety has fundamentally changed.

Young people need to build skills and knowledge young to effectively manage challenges in cyberspace themselves. Parents need to increase their capability to guide young people in building their cyber safety skills.

Children are going online at an earlier age than ever before with limited practical cyber safety skills. By the time they graduate school, we need them to be ready to participate fully in a digital society.

Telcos have an opportunity to play a role in the intervening years as families will learn online safety skills with the assistance of the telco brand, against a backdrop of reducing levels of protectionism through market-lead innovation.

About Bypass

Bypass’s Buddy Guard uses a revolutionary new proprietary approach developed in-house to reduce the network footprint using a transparent filtering approach. This light deployment model which speeds up the roll-out to telecom circles and reduces the capital cost by 90% giving your telco a competitive edge to be first to market.

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