updated 12:30 pm EST, Tue January 18, 2011
Apple, Softbank not meeting local standards
The Japanese government is moving forward on an anticipated demand for iPhone censorship software, says the Wall Street Journal. On Monday, a panel announced that the government is asking both Apple Japan and the country's exclusive iPhone carrier, Softbank, to install filtering controls to block less than "wholesome" websites for people under 18. Included in this category are social networking sites which lack their own internal monitoring systems.
A law mandating filters on phones has been in place since April 2009. The iPhone is in fact the only smartphone in Japan without filtering pre-installed, according to Tomohiro Nakamura, the deputy director of Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Softbank has attempted to get around regulations by directing people to download special software, but the panel suggested that the process is complicated and ultimately ineffective.
A Softbank executive on the panel proposed the idea of simplifying filter installation. Nakamura mentions that Softbank was originally told about the demand for filtering in December, and that it has been working with Apple Japan to come up with a solution.
Regardless of the outcome, the Japanese government is toothless in enforcing the law in question. Even though a summer deadline has been set, there are no penalties for non-compliance with the regulation.