TalkTalk Customers Want Smut-Cutting Porn Filter

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One third of new TalkTalk customers opt for censorship, 80 percent approve of the offer

One in three new TalkTalk customers have opted to use HomeSafe – the ISP’s network level family filter that blocks “adult content”.

In March, TalkTalk became the first and only British ISP to offer its customers a compulsory upfront choice in whether they want to enable the filter to protect children online.

The Internet is not for porn

The idea to offer an “opt-out” family filter, first suggested by the government in 2010, has resurfaced after a cross-party Parliamentary inquiry examined the state of online child protection in April. The filter would provide a “clean internet feed” as standard, and anyone with an interest in porn would have to change their settings.

However, ISPs and privacy groups have hit out at MPs’ calls to filter out some content on the Internet by default. The plans have been labelled as “censorship”. Meanwhile, several analysts have noted that it would be easy to get around the filter if it is implemented.

TalkTalk speculates that the number of customers that have opted to use its filter is roughly equivalent to the percentage of families with children.

Currently, the customers are asked to make a choice whether to use the filter when they activate their broadband. The filter blocks all adult material, such as porn, and content related to violence, gambling and drugs. TalkTalk claims that the process is simple and takes just five clicks.

HomeSafe is a free service, and it works on a network level. This means it will filter content across any number of Internet-enabled devices such as PCs, smartphones, games consoles and e-readers.

“80 percent of new TalkTalk customers we recently spoke to said that they thought being offered the choice of using filters upfront was a good thing and over 60 percent said that they wouldn’t have turned on parental controls had they not been asked to make a choice,” said a statement by the company.

TalkTalk now intends to ask all of its existing 4.2 million customers to make a choice on the filter, and will begin trials later in the year. “I believe that Internet safety is the road safety of our children’s generation,” said Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk Group.

The company wants to reach one million HomeSafe customers by the end of March 2013.

TalkTalk regularly tops the list of complaints against ISPs, published by Ofcom. In April, the company has begun rolling out 80Mbps superfast broadband. Current subscribers are able to take advantage of the new speeds by paying an extra £15 a month, something the ISP says represents “unbeatable value”.

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