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#General Tech

UK broadband providers forcing existing customers to sign-up for porn-filters

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Four of UK’s major broadband providers – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin – are forcing their existing customers to decide on whether or not to turn on adult content filters.

The providers have all begun offering adult content filters to their customers following pressure from the UK government into implementing the filters. The action has been taken in wake of Prime Minister David Cameron’s December deadline for putting filters in place now upon the providers.

BT has already taken the lead and has started redirecting its customers to a page asking them about the filters, with browsing only to resume once they make a choice. Meanwhile, Sky and Virgin Media have also opted for a similar process as BT, but the only difference is that they allow their customers to continue browsing without making a decision.

Although TalkTalk isn’t interrupting customers general browsing, it is forcing them to choose whether or not to activate the filters when logging on to their accounts.

The porn-filters have been heavily criticized as a form of Internet censorship for being ineffective in preventing children from accessing adult content. The filter is unable to reach its primary goal of stopping children from accessing inappropriate content as indecent pictures can still be accessed through Google images.

They’ve also been criticized for incorrectly blocking websites that do not contain indecent or graphic adult content. While TalkTalk’s filter prevented its customers from accessing an award-winning sex education site, BT also inadvertently blocked a site for domestic abuse charities.

According to Ofcom’s July report, TalkTalk was the only provider to see porn-filter uptake by customers in excess of 10 per cent.

For those who wish to avoid making a decision on adult content are left with no other option but to switch over to a smaller broadband provider, such as EE or Plusnet, as only larger ISPs are obligated to put filters in place.