It’s arguably the least surprising development of the year. Broadband ISP PlusNet has confirmed that it intends to follow BT’s example (parent company) and launch their own network-level Internet filter to block (censorship) adult and piracy websites, which will most likely replace its bundled McAfee security solution.
So far nearly all of the markets largest fixed line broadband ISPs, under pressure from the Government, have introduced voluntary network-level filtering (i.e. the ISP controls the blocking system on its own network) and given or will soon give their customers an “enforced” option about whether or not to keep the service enabled (i.e. the box is pre-ticked with “Yes” but you can still select “No”).
The filters are designed to block websites that feature adult or pornographic content, as well as an often absurdly wide range of more generic categories (e.g. dating, social networks, beauty products etc.). PlusNet has also suggested that the same technology might be used to “block all websites engaged in online copyright infringement where ordered by a court to do so” (so far the ISP has not done this but most expect them to follow suit).
UPDATE 23rd January 2014
A rep for PlusNet has suggested to us that they might still use a different underlying filtering tech for blocking piracy websites from the one that they’re working on for Parental Controls. But the rep also stressed that this hasn’t been decided yet.