Code Vigorous

Dustin J. Mitchell

Mobile data while travelling in Great Britain

12 Jun 2012

Three wireless was recommended for my trip here, but they were out of SIMs (which seems a common malady), so I dropped by the T-Mobile store. They set me up with a £5 SIM with unlimited data for 30 days, which seemed great. But read on.

As I walked out the door of the shop, I went to look up bars in Edinburgh, and was presented with a “prove you’re 18 with a credit card” form, courtesy T-Mobile. Of course, I don’t have a UK credit card, so I turned around and walked back into the shop. They fixed this up without any additional trouble – but there would have been more trouble had I not immediately looked for something not “child-safe” (Which brings up the recurring question: what on earth have legislators been smoking to think that children should not be able to visit breweries’ and bars’ websites? Do they think that the “series of tubes” can, in the hands of n’er-do-wells, carry grain alcohol straight to the mouths of babes?).

I subsequently noticed that they block IRC - not such a big deal, since they do not block SSH, which is how I usually use IRC.

And now that I’m on my laptop and not my mobile, I notice that they are also injecting their JavaScript into every (non-SSL) page I visit, helpfully shrinking images and adding keyboard shortcuts to un-shrink them. And probably capturing passwords, too. Lovely. I’m sure they’re doing so to “protect” me.

For the moment, I’m really only using the data to figure out where to go next, and what to drink when I get there, and only for a few days. Even so, this intrusion into my privacy galls me.

Steer clear of T-Mobile, if you value your online life.