Porn filters block sex education websites: BBC report

Dec 18, 2013
Business
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Pornography filters used by major internet service providers are blocking websites offering sex education and advice on sexual health and porn addiction, the BBC has learned.

The four major internet companies have started to roll out so-called porn filters to their users.

BT launched its filter this week, Virgin has a pilot programme ahead of a full launch early in 2014, and Sky’s was turned on a month ago.

TalkTalk’s filter started in May 2011.

Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed “family-friendly” filters and said they were important to stop children “stumbling across hardcore legal pornography”.

But BBC’s Newsnight has discovered all the major ISPs that have launched full default filters are also failing to block hardcore porn-hosting sites.

All new customers will be prompted to decide whether to opt in or out, while existing customers of major ISPs will be presented with an “unavoidable choice” about whether to sign up.

BT launched a porn filter for users earlier this week

BT launched a porn filter for users earlier this week

Among the sites TalkTalk blocked as “pornographic” was BishUK.com, an award-winning British sex education site, which receives more than a million visits each year.

TalkTalk also lists Edinburgh Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre website as “pornographic.”

The company also blocked a programme ran by sex education experts, taught to 81,000 American children that has been in development for more than 20 years.

TalkTalk’s filter is endorsed by Mr. Cameron but it failed to block 7% of the 68 pornographic websites tested by Newsnight.

Sky’s filter fared much better, blocking 99% of sites, but it did block six porn-addiction sites.

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ernestgreene
ernestgreene
6 years ago

Funny thing about censorship. Much like cancer, there’s no such thing as a slight case of it and no telling where it will metastasize.

But then keeping people ignorant about sex is a shared goal of anti-porn feminists, religious fundamentalists and right-wing demagogues. To see just how well this protects the public one has only to check out the statistics on STDs and unintended pregnancies in the states that practice abstinence-only “sex education.”

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