Porn Filters Shunned By Most Brits

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Are the Brits a nation of porn lovers? Communication regulator points to poor takeup of smut filters

British Internet users seem to like their online smut, at least according to the communications regulator Ofcom, that is.

It found that the overwhelming majority of Brits do not take advantage of ISP filters designed to prevent access to online pornography and other adult content.

Ooh Matron

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) reached an agreement with the Government to offer parental controls to customers in order prevent children from accessing inappropriate online content.

pornCertain ISPs, such as Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin enable ‘family-friendly network-level filtering service’ by default, meaning that customers have to opt out if they want to view online smut.
Many ISPs opted not to implement the filters.

According to Ofcom’s fourth report into the takeup of the network filters, it seems that Sky customers (30 to 40 percent) are the goodie two shoes, as their customers are the most likely to implement the filters. BT customers (only 6 percent) on the other hand are the less likely to continue using the filter.

The report also found that 97 percent of those using the filters said they were useful.
Parents are also increasingly aware of the ISP content filters, with 57 percent saying they are aware of the filters. And it seems that parents are also trusting of their children’s online surfing habits, with 78 percent saying they trusted their children to use the internet safely.

But there is little disguising the fact that many are simply not using the filters at all. Half of parents said they prefer to talk to their children, four in ten said they trusted their children to act in a responsible way online, and two in ten said their children were always supervised whilst online.

Government Campaign

The Government has been a big driver in the fight against online porn being accessible to the underage. In July, the Government’s efforts to tackle online pornography changed yet again with the confirmation it would introduce age verification mechanisms to halt kids from accessing pornographic websites.

The Government warned at the time that it is prepared to legislate if the industry fails to self regulate. But many experts point out the government is powerless to act here, as most major porn websites are typically overseas-based. Pornhub for example is based in Canada.

The Government had initially planned to block access to online pornography by default after Prime Minister David Cameron announced back in July 2013 that ISPs needed to introduce an opt-in system for customers wishing to see explicit content.

That proposal sparked criticism from libertarians about the issue of internet censorship, and the Government later tweaked the rules to the adult content filter system as it unintentionally blocked educational resources such as sexual health websites.

The Government’s default porn block was also likely to face a European challenge. Therefore following the Conservative election victory in May, it pledged instead to institute a more “effective” online age control mechanism to keep children from viewing pornography.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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