Sky announces automatic online porn block

Thu, 22 Jan 2015

Sky broadband is to automatically block online pornography, the company has announced.

In a blog post, brand director Lyssa McGowan said they are ensuring the default position of Sky’s Broadband Shield is the “safest one for all – that’s ‘on’”.

All customers will have the choice to opt out of the system, which is designed to block content deemed unsuitable for children under the age of 13.

Online safety

McGowan said, “when it comes to online safety for all, we take our responsibility very seriously”.

She explained that Sky, one of the UK’s largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be emailing customers, giving them the opportunity to opt in or out.

They can “activate Sky Broadband Shield, adjust or decline it at any time. Or they can simply wait for us to turn it on”, she said.

Unsuitable material

In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron urged ISPs to adopt automatic filters in order to protect children.

Most of the UK’s ISPs now offer systems to block unsuitable material, but they are not switched on by default.

Andrew Ferguson, of broadband news site ThinkBroadband, warned that parents should not depend only on filters to protect their children online.

Reject

“As ever the filters don’t block all unsavoury material so are not a replacement for parenting”, he commented.

Last year, the industry watchdog Ofcom found that new broadband customers in the UK were overwhelmingly rejecting porn filters when prompted to install them by internet service providers.

Ofcom found that fewer than one in seven households use the filters, which are offered automatically to new subscribers at the point of registration.