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TalkTalk Follows Sky Lead, Blocks Porn By Default

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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HomeSafe will offer protection from adult content as standard to TalkTalk customers

TalkTalk has become the latest Internet provider to announce it will block all adult content by default on its network.

TalkTalk, which has four million subscribers across the UK, says that users will now need to opt in to being able to view adult content, which is being restricted by the company’s HomeSafe filtering system.

Originally launched in 2011, HomeSafe has been gradually rolled out to all TalkTalk customers over the last few months, directing users to their account settings where they have to make a choice on the filter – with the “on” option pre-checked.

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“Filters will only ever be applied if the customer has consented and they’re able to change their mind or edit their level of protection at any point,” Alex Birtles, TalkTalk’s head of external communications, wrote in a blog post.

“In fact, we actively encourage customers to amend their settings, because what level of protection a family needs will change over time as children mature or move away.”

TalkTalk says that the vast majority of its user base has completed the process, but the small number which hasn’t will now be presented with a pop-up box the next time they visit a site which would be blocked by the filter.

The site will effectively be blocked, and the customer will then have to make an unavoidable choice as to whether to switch HomeSafe on or off.

“Our HomeSafe technology is free for all our customers and lets them filter out categories of inappropriate content such as pornography, violence and gambling,” said TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding.

The news follows an announcement last week from Sky that it will be introducing network-level content filtering software that blocks pornography by default.

The porn filters will be implemented on all Sky broadband accounts unless users specifically opt out.

All four of the UK’s biggest Internet providers now offer some form of filtering software, although take-up has been rather low. An Ofcom study last July found that just four percent of Virgin Media customers, five percent of BT and eight percent of Sky customers have opted in.

TalkTalk users were the standout group, with 36 percent agreeing to the filters.

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