PinkNews Exclusive
Hours after leading internet provider TalkTalk apologised for blocking an LGBT charity’s website, it has emerged that the company’s porn filter is also blocking the Liberal Democrat’s official LGBT+ group’s website.

The website is hosted on a subdomain of the Liberal Democrat’s website at http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk. YouTube user John Fraser has posted a video showing the website being blocked while connected to his TalkTalk broadband.

Among the content blocked is a feature about Nick Clegg’s most recent article for PinkNews.

Adrian Trett, Chair LGBT+ Lib Dems, told PinkNews.co.uk: “That the blocking of our own website shows that The “Great Firewall of Britain” is turning out to be the disaster many of us warned it would be. Reports are rife that these filters don’t block lots of porn, but do block legitimate support and health sites. As it turns out, it is also blocking our own political website, which has absolutely no content of this nature and therefore as feared. LGBT resources are targeted disproportionately, then ISPs are probably exposing themselves to legal challenge under the Equality Act too as well as possible criminal liability for blocking a political web site during an election period.”

He added: “It is completely unacceptable and it is why at Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow, LGBT+ along with other interested parties referenced back any motion with regards filters because we knew the LGBT+ community would be disproportionately affected by these actions.”

Conservative Vice Chairman Michael Fabricant joked to PinkNews.co.uk “I can think of many reasons why I would like to block the Liberal Democrats, but I never guessed that hosting porn on their website might be one of them!”

A TalkTalk spokesperson has confirmed that the internet provider is looking into why the Liberal Democrat website has been blocked. The Labour LGBT and LGBTory websites are not affected by the block.

On Thursday, London Friend Chief Executive Monty Moncrieff told PinkNews.co.uk: “London Friend was informed today that access to our website has been blocked by the internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk when using their safe-search filters.

“For some reason it seems we’ve been classed as pornography! This was a concern we know many LGBT organisations had when the filter system was announced.”

In response, a TalkTalk spokesperson said to PinkNews.co.uk: “Over 400,000 families have already activated our HomeSafe parental controls and they tell us they value having a free tool that helps them stay safer online.

“We are pleased other providers are now introducing similar systems. Sadly there is no silver bullet when it comes to internet safety and we have always been clear that no solution can ever be 100 per cent. It requires all of us to play our part.

“We continue to develop HomeSafe and welcome feedback to help us continually improve the service. We apologise for these instances of incorrect categorisation.

“This is why we have established really clear reporting mechanisms so that this can be addressed. We are working with our filtering partner to ensure we learn from these cases and continue to develop the service to reduce the risk of this happening.”

In August, several LGBT charities called on the government to reconsider supporting mandatory default web blocking for ISPs as it could restrict legitimate access to non-pornographic LGBT websites – such as London Friend.

Several ISPs, including TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin, introduced web filters this year ahead of David Cameron’s endorsement of the proposal.

But according to a BBC Newsnight investigation, as well as blocking access to several non-pornographic websites, on multiple occasions the filters have allowed access to pornographic websites – thus failing in their primary aim.

Here is a video of the Liberal Democrats website being blocked by TalkTalk:-