Elements of the mainstream press are reporting that a British ISP has ‘broken ranks’ with rivals to offer an opt-in porn filter.
The Sunday Times, the Sun, the Mirror and even commuter rag the Metro have all described TalkTalk’s HomeSafe parental control filter as a new offering – responding to ‘pressure’, presumably from the tabloid press themselves.
In fact, as PC Pro notes, HomeSafe is over a year old. The company kicked out a blog post earlier in the month celebrating a year of the service, highlighting the current government focus on ‘protecting children online’.
If there’s something that’s new, TalkTalk in March began asking customers up front if they wanted the filter to be on or off. One-in-three, they said, opted to enable the service which TalkTalk reckon is "roughly equivalent to the number of households with children."
The government, and the shrill voices of the tabloid press, are pressing for an opt-in (to porn) for British ISPs, with the default position being to block filth at the upstream ISP level.
TalkTalk is proposing no such action, but rather asks new customers as part of the sign up service and is planning a trial of asking existing customers to opt-out (of porn).
For many years other ISPs such as BT have preferred to offer concerned families software based solutions. Largely because it offers much more comprehensive parental controls, not only blocking ‘inappropriate’ web sites but also setting time limits, controlling social networks, filtering YouTube videos and setting up custom alerts and online usage reports.
All of which is mighty useful for the family, and of course not limited to any single ISP. It does not, however, leave the tabloids room to claim that they’ve pressured ISPs into saving the children.
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