Sky Broadband To Start Blocking Porn Early Next Year

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If you use Sky broadband and fancy watching porn you may be faced with a pretty embarrassing conversation in 2016.

That’s because the broadband giant is set to bring in new porn filters.

Starting in early 2016, all new Sky Broadband customers will have porn, and other adult content, automatically blocked by default.

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Currently the company’s Broadband Shield filtering system for adult content is optional for customers. However, from 2016 it will come as standard on all new connections and will automatically block content unsuitable for under 18’s until 9pm.

Thankfully you can opt out of the filters.

All existing customers will also be emailed by the broadcast giant, asking them if they would like the filter to be switched on.

If the email is ignored, Sky will turn on the filter automatically, as it did following a similar email sent in January, when all customers who joined prior to November 2013 were contacted.

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This is all designed to create an ‘unavoidable decision’, where those who don’t want a filter must actively choose to say so, something suggested by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013.

Sky’s brand director for communications products, Lyssa McGowan, said:

We believe that this ‘default on’ approach will mean much greater use of home filters and ensure a safer internet experience for millions of homes.

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It came about as we looked for the best way to meet the Prime Minister’s objective of providing more protection for children when they use the internet.

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The Government has approved of the plans and Baroness Shields, the Minister for Internet Safety and Security, said:

Family filters have proven to be an extremely helpful tool for parents to safeguard children from age-inappropriate content.

Sky’s ‘default on’ approach is a great example of how industry is exploring different technologies to help keep children safe online.

Sky claim that 62 per cent of the customers it sent the ‘unavoidable decision’ email to keep some form of parental control turned on.  However the BBC reported that most users did not respond to the email.

The Open Rights Group, who campaign for freedom online, have criticised the move. Their Communications Director, Pam Cowburn, has warned that the blockers aren’t always as they appear.

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In an interview with The Daily Dot she said:

Customers should be made aware of the problems with filters so that they can make an informed choice about whether or not they want them – before they are switched on.

She also claimed that the filters censor a number of harmless sites including blogs, shopping, education and charity sites.

Alarmingly, some of the sites blocked are specifically designed to give advice to young people and site owners are often unaware that they’re blocked.

The group added that parents should not be lulled into a ‘false sense of security’ by filters, and need to talk to their children about internet safety.


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