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BT will BLOCK YOUR BROWSER if you don't tell it whether you like watching porn or not

James Temperton
8 Jul 2014
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Failure to opt in or out of adult content filters will see BT customers unable "to continue using their browser", the company has said

BT has said that it will stop people from using their web browsers if they don't choose to opt in or out of controversial new internet filters. The internet provider told us that all its existing customers would be given an "unavoidable decision" about activating adult content blocks and that those who refused to take action "won't be able to continue using their browser".

A BT spokesperson told Expert Reviews that people would "eventually have to make a decision", but was unable to provide further details when asked to clarify how the company would force people to decide whether they wanted filters or not. The spokesperson also refused to further elaborate on how the company intended to stop customers from "using their browser".

BT, along with Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, will contact all its broadband customers before the end of the year and ask them to choose if they want internet filters turned on or off. The filters have been championed by David Cameron who has demanded that the UK's major ISPs take action to protect children from pornography and other adult material online.

In July last year the prime minister announced an agreement with BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin that would make adult content filters available in 90 per cent of UK homes. At the time it was claimed that the filters would be "automatically selected", meaning that if a customer clicked 'Next' during the installation process without taking any further action then the filters would be turned on. But, BT has said that its adult content blocks will not be on by default, contradicting the agreement announced by the prime minister.

"BT Parental Controls are not default on," a spokesperson said.

When asked why its policy was at odds with what the Government had announced a BT spokesperson declined to comment. Internet filtering in the UK has proven hugely controversial, with some comparing it to mass censorship. Critics have argued that the filters risk blocking legitimate websites and could prevent people from accessing important information about sexual health, domestic violence and eating disorders.

BT, Sky and TalkTalk started asking all new customers if they wanted adult websites blocked or not as part of the account registration process in 2013, with Virgin Media doing so from February 2014. All existing broadband customers will soon be required to opt in or out with the aim of nearly all internet-connected households in the UK making the choice by the end of 2014. But it isn't yet clear how ISPs will force people to choose to activate the filters or not. Virgin Media said customers would be "prompted on numerous occasions" about whether they wanted adult content blocks or not.

"They will be taken to a page that requires the account holder to use their account details to log in, so there will be an option for other people using the broadband connection to indicate that they are not the account holder and therefore not make a choice about parental controls," a spokesperson for the company explained.

Virgin added that it would monitor the process and review its approach accordingly. Sky said it was "still considering options" for any customers who do not make a decision to turn filters on or off, while TalkTalk and Plusnet were unable to provide details of their plans before publication.

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