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Sky Broadband to begin blocking internet porn by default

Michelle O'Toole December 22, 2015

One of Britain’s biggest internet service providers will begin blocking ‘adult content’ by default next year.

Sky’s ‘Broadband shield’ has been available since 2013 and has previously operated under an opt-in system. But only 3% of customers chose to turn on the filter according to the BBC.

Yesterday Sky announced that they would begin automatically activating the filter for all new customers and revealed that earlier this year they emailed current customers prompting them to choose if they wanted to activate the filter.

If the user did not reply, the filter was turned on automatically and now 62% of customers have some form of filtering according to Sky.

However, customers will have the option to adjust the filter by logging into their account on Sky’s website and either opting out or adjusting settings based on Sky’s age ratings which classify websites as PG, 13 or 18.

The default settings for new customers will be set to only allowing websites rated as 13 and under until 9pm, when websites rated 18 will be unfiltered.

But Sky has not announced when the filters will be activated by default, only saying that it will be at an unspecified date in 2016.

The move towards internet service providers filtering adult content began in 2013 after prime minister David Cameron announced that he had reached an agreement with all of the major providers to install blocks on adult content in an attempt to ‘protect children’ from harmful content.

However since Mr Cameron announced the plans there has been several cases where LGBT related content was included in many internet service providers block lists.

In December 2013 BT provided an option to block “gay and lesbian lifestyle” and sex education websites.

Also Talk-Talk blocked an LGBT charity after mistakenly classifying it as pornography, and also blocked the Liberal Democrats LGBT website.

Pam Cowburn, communications director for digital rights campaigners the Open Rights Group criticised the move. Speaking to the BBC she said “Switching filters on by default, even if there are no children in a household, is not giving customers an informed choice about filters,

“Parents should not be lulled into a false sense of security by thinking that switching on filters will automatically keep their children from seeing unsuitable content.

“Parents need to talk to children about their internet use and help to ensure that they have the skills they need to navigate the web safely.”

More: David Cameron, gay porn, porn, porn block, porn filter, rupert murdoch, Sky

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