Verizon quietly retires content filters

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) quietly shut down its content filters this week, killing a free service that enabled its wireless customers to control the kinds of content that could be accessed by users on their service accounts.

The nation's largest carrier closed the offering Monday, saying user have plenty of alternative ways to manage content on their devices, although many come with a price tag. Verizon pointed specifically to third-party parental control apps to allow parents to set restrictions and controls on downloads, apps or other content.

Like other carriers, Verizon offers a variety of apps and services in a range of prices for parents. Users can block calls and messages from up to five different phone numbers free, for instance, while "FamilyBase" enables parents to monitor and control how their children are using devices on the account.

"The growing popularity of apps and decline in web browser usage has created a need for new and different tools and protections," a spokesman told FierceWireless via email. "There are numerous alternatives for security, protection and filtering services in the marketplace to help manage content through the device operating system, through applications downloaded to the device and through Web browsers.

"Verizon will no longer provide a Web content filtering service starting June 27, but Parental Controls are available to help parents monitor and restrict activity on devices; plus virus protection and the ability to block unwanted calls, texts and spam," the spokesman said.

Verizon declined to say how many customers were using the content filters when they were shut down.

Users whose devices had been blocked from certain kinds of content due to the filters can now access material that was previously restricted, Verizon said, although the carrier recommended that they reboot their devices. Customers with business accounts can call their customer service representatives for help.

For more:
- see this Verizon web page

Related articles:
Verizon's FamilyBase lets parents control their child's wireless usage
Verizon patents mobile surveillance system that could track children, elderly
The Cloud becomes first UK public WiFi provider to filter out adult content by default

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