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UK ISP Sky Broadband Launch Network Level Internet Filtering Service

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 (3:19 pm) - Score 2,661
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Sky Broadband (BSkyB) has today joined TalkTalk to become the latest of the big Internet providers to introduce their own network level filtering (censorship) service at the behest of Government demands. The new solution is a free addition and has been designed to block (censor) websites that contain “adult content“.

Existing customers who want to enable the SkyBroadband Shield service can do so via their ‘My Sky’ account page on sky.com. New customers will similarly be asked whether or not they wish to enable the solution during the order process (note: the “Yes” box is expected to come pre-ticked).

Customers will also be given a list of ten content categories (e.g. pornography, suicide and self-harm) that they can block or leave accessible. On top of that users also have the option of filtering websites by age and this will be similar to how movies are classified (i.e. ‘PG’ – under 13s, ‘13’ – 13 and over and ‘18’ – adults only). Individual websites can be added if needed.

Lyssa McGowan, Director of SkyBroadband, said:

Protecting customers from inappropriate content in the digital world is something Sky has always taken extremely seriously. Sky has already played a leading role in protecting Sky homes from inappropriate content, as we know that’s what our customers expect of Sky.

Now we’re going one step further by offering our customers great new technology which means they can feel confident that all their devices in the home are protected. Sky Broadband Shield is a brilliantly simple tool that allows customers to easily choose how much of the internet to let into their homes.

At the same time, it helps protect all our customers against the threat of phishing sites and other malicious websites that may contain viruses.”

However customers who choose to enable the service should keep in mind that Internet filtering is by no means perfect and often results in perfectly safe websites being censored due to errors or incorrect categorisation. For example, it’s well known that enabling the ‘self-harm’ filter on some providers can also block related help sites.

Similarly most children will have no trouble finding their way around such filters and thus effective parenting should never be relaxed in favour of checking a box.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. Avatar DanielM says:

    you got my tweet then 🙂 ha

    i really wasnt expecting this from Sky. i took a look at the press release. trying to make a govt-supported censorship device look good. but as we all know its anti-democratic and anti free speech.

  2. Avatar cyclope says:

    It’s just an added layer of censorship that the customer allegedly has control over,Sky are amonst one of the worst ISP’s for actively filtering content, I’m not refering to CP but all those other web sites that they are blocking that contain nothing illegal no under the pretence that it is violating copyright laws in some way, which ammounts to censorship

    They maywell not block P2P ect but if they can limit the number of customers finding links to that content(ie blocking torrent indexing sites)then that benefits them as they will save on bandwidth, This new extra filter, that alleges to prevent access to sites that have malware so protecting your pc (allegedly) from infection,lol, No doubt someone will take them at their word on that, and use it against them ,then they will include a their get out clause ect,

  3. Avatar Rich says:

    So it’s a new ‘free’ product thats optional and not being automatically added to current customers….. nothing to see here really. As long as the government doesn’t start enforcing it to be permanently on I am fine with this as its a waste of time and easily circumvented.

    Plus iirc they aren’t making the smaller suppliers do this which I think is an unfair disparity in the market. I could be wrong on that point though.

  4. Avatar boggits says:

    The governments stated position on smaller providers is “We expect that smaller providers step up to the plate and follow the lead of the large providers in protecting their customers”. The smaller providers are mostly waiting to see what happens next or taking Adrian’s approach – http://aa.net.uk/kb-broadband-realinternet.html

  5. Avatar haa says:

    Enjoy your cameron filter

  6. Avatar cyclope says:

    If the smaller ISP’s make it so every customers has to be 18 yrs or older, they could make a clause in their t&c’s that the customers agrees not to allow any person under a certain age use their internet connection, or if they do allow this it is solely the customers responsibility what sites are visited by their offspring not the ISP’s, And the smaller ISP’s already charge enough without the associated costs of some useless nanny state filtering system ,on the say so of a tool called camerloon, who is about the only man i know who hates porn

  7. Avatar cyclope says:

    Oh,this filtering will be just the start of what this tory government have got planned, of course it will start by being enabled by default then mandatory then they will abuse it, by using it to block anything they don’t think we adults should see

  8. Avatar Jonny says:

    Optional today, compulsory tomorrow, and then hard wired to the police and anti-piracy the next day.

  9. Avatar Jeff Bragsbury says:

    Sky have recenetly started to block numerous websites that allow free speech, I will be taking my custom elsewhere, it’s basically a crippled version of the internet it now provides, I only discovered some of the firewalled websites today after trying to follow links and found them dead then tested with TOR which could get me there.

    I pay to use the internet not just the websites that the establishment dictate I must only use.

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