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Wireless Companies Pledge Content Controls

Wireless companies have agreed to adopt a form of program ratings and content control mechanisms that align with other providers of multimedia content.

The Wireless Association (CTIA) Tuesday adopted voluntary rules that will restrict access to adult content on cell phones and other wireless devices.

Citing the increased delivery of video clips of TV shows and movies, various Internet access content, ring tones and more, CTIA President/CEO Steve Largent said the nation's top wireless carriers had agreed to put their content in categories that mirror the various ratings systems for TV, movies, and games.

The guidelines, says CTIA, are "intended to ensure carrier-offered content either excludes or requires parent or guardian permission to access any material inappropriate for subscribers under 18."

The carriers--including Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and Cingular--have also pledged not to offer any of that restricted content until they "have provided controls to allow parents to restrict access," though controlling internet-accessed content is more problematic.

That will be address in phase two, which will be to enable customers to block categories of unwanted content.

In response to the FCC's indecency crackdown, the cable and broadcast industries took steps earlier in the year to ramp up consumer control of content. The broadcast nets in particular launched a campaign to standardize their ratings systems and promote their use.

In the Playboy case, the Supreme Court has said an effective blocking mechanism that empowers viewers is one way for conent distributors to lessen the regulator's power over adult programming.