back to article Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids, thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block

Access to sex education websites can be switched off by UK parents who don't want their children to seek advice about their sexuality online, BT has admitted to The Register. Its network-level filter, introduced last week, can limit home internet users' access to material the Coalition government would rather you not see, such …


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  1. Circadian


    If the children are so young that the parents do not want them to have access to sex-education sites, then why are they being allowed onto the internet unsupervised?

    I don't know what to say. And before long, I may not be allowed to say what I want.

    1. jaduncan

      Re: Speechless

      Blocking gay and lesbian material but not heterosexual sites is also arguably a breach of the Equalities Act.

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Speechless

        This is an appallingly bad move on BT's part. Most of the LGBT folks I know first learned about their sexuality and gender identity through online methods, especially forums. A lot of them *cannot* talk to their parents about this stuff through reasons of religion and now, thanks to filters like these, they may not have anywhere else to turn to for impartial advice.

        1. d4rkside

          Re: Speechless

          It almost feels like this is the point. If you cannot learn about your sexuality you are force fed the "norm" despite whats right for the child.

      2. JohnG

        Re: Speechless

        "Blocking gay and lesbian material but not heterosexual sites is also arguably a breach of the Equalities Act."

        That may be true but that is not what is happening - their filter blocks anything related to sex education, including sexual orientation. BT's statement from the article: "One of our optional filters does just that. It does not discriminate between heterosexual and LGBT content."

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Speechless

      >If the children are so young that the parents do not want them to have access to sex-education sites, then why are they being allowed onto the internet unsupervised?

      It depends what you call unsupervised. Parents have blocked access, much like putting up a stair-gate and then not bothering to keep an eye on the child all the time. Now you can let them playing that game on the ipad without worrying too much about accidental internet access. Of course it isn't perfect, it's about risk not perfection. The kids are in the garden, they might eat dirt and get sick, but I still put limits up to prevent them from wondering down to the park whenever they feel like it.

      As far as the LGBT lifestyle thing goes, BT says they don't discriminate between that and hetro. If you define your lifestyle in terms of sex, you have to expect to fall foul of those who don't want to know about your sex life. If I put up a blog about "hetrosexual lifestyle" I'd expect to be filtered too.

      There also appears to be a lot of hormone-driven adolescents out in the forums today. Here's a hint: it isn't always about you. When my kids are 6 years old, they don't need to know about STI's and how to use a condom. Yes, I could use squid to block redtube and they probably wouldn't stumble onto it anyway, but if I'm happy to live with the restrictions or don't fancy running a server 24x7, why are *you* expressing so much righteous indignation?

      I am going to teach them how to deal with such things, but not yet. They aren't hormone driven and children learn a lot through imitation. I see plenty of children imitating adult sexual behaviour (inappropriate dress, inappropriate dancing) and its disturbing to see sexual behaviour in a child. Obviously it isn't hormone-driven, its pure learnt behaviour through observation probably from the media. I wish the schools had libraries instead of pushing kids onto the internet but I can't control that either. So maybe a filter is one useful tool.

      Some parents limit the time on the internet to what is reasonable for homework and rely on a filter during that time. Others have the time to watch everything. People are different.

      Lots of people here appear to be concerned about the content of the filters. I don't understand that. It comes across as ethical imperialism - you will listen to and watch and believe what we want you to. Maybe I don't want to see girls shaking their breasts at me while I look for a torrent on TPB. That isn't your call. Maybe my kids are wondering around and may ask in public why daddy had pictures of "mummy" without her top on, on the computer. Not even an up to date episode of Grey's Anatomy is worth that.

      Get off your high-horses. This isn't an ethical move by anyone (as if a BT or the government has ethics!), its the government trialling control of the internet at a national level. Its a way of them showing that they are "doing something" while they achieve nothing of importance.

      It's creepy, invasive, but that's the whole "internet filter" thing. The content of the filters is irrelevant.

      Oi BT! I don't mind you offering filtering to those who want it, but *OFF* by default please. On by default makes you look even more like a corrupt government pawn.

      For those of you who are adults and pay for your own internet connection and don't want the filter. Turn it off, complain to your MP and move ISP. If you aren't all those things, sorry, it isn't your choice to make.

    3. John Bailey

      Re: Speechless

      "If the children are so young that the parents do not want them to have access to sex-education sites, then why are they being allowed onto the internet unsupervised?"

      Because they are not really "that young". But the god squad no doubt got this little modifier dropped in.

      And yes.. WE BLOODY TOLD YOU SO..

      Little kids do not go searching for sex information. Doesn't happen. And have you ever in your entire on-line life accidentally come across a sex eduction site?

      By the time they hit puberty, when they DO go looking for information, they need to know it. And withholding this information is wrong.

      Problem is.. the "must preserve their innocence" mob, get a bit carried away some times, and refuse to accept their little darlings are getting ready to rut. So knowing that taking a bath straight after is not actually a means of contraception, is a good thing. And yes.. One can get pregnant if one does it standing up.

      Little kids however, DO go in search of sexual abuse information. Because when you don't know what is normal, how do you know daddy having a special cuddle, or the way Uncle Dave touches you is ok or not?

      This is a bad thing. And it needs to be fought. The police will not put you on a perv list. So skip the paranoia. Say no to all filtering, if you have kids or not.

      Otherwise, welcome to the white-list internet. Because function has already crept.. And will continue.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Speechless

      I'm more curious who is going to accept the liability when kids get into trouble because they don't have access to the sort of information they need. To me, when a kid starts searching, it's probably time for the kid to know and they don't always come to you with questions, however open you think you are with your children.

      What I also want to know is who exactly is going to do the classification, and who will be responsible for MISqualification because it is oh-so-tempting to "accidentally" tag the competition and any other setup you don't agree with. Are sites informed of their classification? And if not, why not? Who handles the censorship supervision, and (in some cases) the unreasonable restriction of trade (especially if they get it wrong)?

      Not impressed.

    5. GoingGoingGone

      Re: Speechless

      I would upvote, but the 69 thumbs up at the moment look like just the right number for the topic. Go on kids!

  2. FartingHippo

    I'm amazed this has gone wrong so quickly

    Only kidding.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm amazed this has gone wrong so quickly

      Yeah. Government-organised IT project gone wrong. Tsk. Amazing.

  3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Looking at

    the screen grab....

    How long until compulsion sets in with the filters set so that your internet is delivered with all blocks active and you can only unblock sites manually.

    Then you have to give a reason

    Then the government adds in the list of non-approved sites for which you'll have to be approved to visit such sites.

    And explain why you wish to see

    And then we'll be in North Korea praising the dear leader every day on pain of 5 years "re-education"

    1. Only me!

      Re: Looking at

      Think you mean "de-education"!

      1. Allan George Dyer
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Looking at

        'Think you mean "de-education"!'

        That is exactly the kind of ungood-think these rules are being implemented to prevent. Please relax, your offspring will shortly be be volunteering you for some double-plus good re-education. We anticipate your shouts of joy as our friendly re-education staff whisk you away in comfortable, specially-designed clothing.

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Looking at

          My name's Roger, I'm turning my parents in immediately - apparently they've been having sex ... I was horrified to find out that Father has not been telling me the truth.

 - I wonder if this clip will be banned now?

  4. Only me!

    And so the control begins

    Well good to see we still have our as long as the parents ban the kids from using a library to read books then everything will be OK.

    Good job the gov are closing those down too.

    Time to move on and find something else to ban.......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And so the control begins

      I personally think we should ban libraries.

      After all, libraries contain books, and books give you knowledge, and knowledge is power, and power corrupts... and corruption is a crime!


      1. Not That Andrew

        Re: And so the control begins

        Haven't you been paying attention? They've been systematically dismantling the public library systems for the last 10 years.

  5. Mr Fuzzy

    Well. The whole sorry affair seems rather more socially corrosive than a spot of smut.

  6. Spasticus

    Looking for therapy

    Is this site blocked? it doesn't show up right -

    1. Haku

      Re: Looking for therapy

      I wanted to buy some writing instruments from here:

      Apparently they specialize in wood...

      1. Ghenghis McCann

        Re: Looking for therapy

        'Your pen is

        Our business!'

        There, but for one space...

  7. Salts

    Who would have thought it.

    Dave :- We need default on filters

    ISP's :- We don't

    Dave :- We do the Daily Mail says so

    ISP's :- They don't know what they are talking about.

    Dave :- Yes they do, my advisors say they do.

    ISP's :- Really not a good idea, we know

    Dave :- TalkTalk have done it

    ISP's :- Yep you know what they say any unique selling point in a storm

    Dave :- Just do it or I will regulate

    ISP's :- OK Boys lets show him just how bad this can be.

    No, you just can't script this stuff

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Who would have thought it.

      Hello, my names Dave and I'm a blockaholic

      Welcome Dave, would you like to tell the group how it all started

      It started with easy stuff, blocking porn, that made sense, gotta to think of the children

      Then once you've had that first hit, well you just have to come back for more.

      Next there were self abuse sites

      Then terrorists, everyone said that was good idea

      After that, well extremists, we needed to block them didn't we.

      I couldn't help myself when it came to sex education, I mean, the daily mail has stories about teachers and school children

      Then there were the gay and lesbian sites, they tell me its natural, so they don't need sites telling people how to do it.

      I mean what's an extremist anyway

      So I blocked the commies

      I didn't realise the opposition were allowed their own website, I mean, they disagree with me

      Once you've had that first hit you can't stop, you need your fix, you look for more and more stuff you can block...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    make public its list of sites it blocks

    there's an app for that! ;)

    after all, it should be too hard to make a little app downloading (periodically, this week, from: "we are good boys" site) a list of filth sites (including political dissent, etc. ;), and then testing whether they're live on good old BT. And then.. whoaa, software development possibilities ahoy! Scamming, trojans, google advertising (all absolutely legit for BT :)

    There's money to be made from them firewalls, I tell ya, just click HERE!

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

      Doesn't test the sites no-one would think to test. A better idea is a browser plugin volunteers could run that reports all blocks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

        Yep, didn't the first australian firewall block a dentist?

        Here, I've set the home drive-by protection up with a pr0n block free of charge via OpenDNS, which does a reasonable job. (OpenDNS porn filter does by default allow my kids to view/create/contribute/be-inspired by tumblr - which when I do my occasional random browsing history check does have 5% of dubious content!)

        Do we block a site for having 95% OK material or is this the implementation of Frattini's idea floated at a previous EU summit of only allowing EU citizens access to a cuddly subset of the internet, away from the serious & harmful radical & informative & occasionally true bits? The way these things are done is to have 'un-coordinated' 'independent' 'voluntary' arrangements by many of the EU 28, installing the same thing, to protect the children, at more or less the same time, remarkable co-incidence. (usually) except in Germany.


        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: make public its list of sites it blocks

          "Yep, didn't the first australian firewall block a dentist?"

          Clearly they were worried the law wouldn't have any teeth.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hardly surprising when you consider this was forced through by a group identified as having all had unprotected sex.

    1. JustWondering

      ... or the product thereof.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well yes, that's what happens if you have unsafe sex.

        Can we just start calling Mumsnet the Unsafe Sex Lobby and have done with it?

  10. Anthony Hulse


    I would have thought the blanket exclusion of LGBT sites would immediately fall foul of the Provision of Services parts of the Equalities Act 2010 and therefore leave BT, TalkTalk et. al open to prosecution. Any lawyers want to help us out here?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Legality

      For a fee!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Legality

      I don't think so. It's not a blanket ban, it's a filter that parents can choose to turn on. The category doesn't look to be blocked by default.

    3. grammaphobe

      Re: Legality

      I will help bring back section 28. This is a good thing this filter!

  11. Charles Manning


    At least they didn't block the site explaining how the stork brings babies.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: Whew!

      I've used butter but margarine is not a good lubricant.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What happened to Amanda Platell of the Daily Mail being investigated for her child porn "research", (she was the one that really got Cameron on his crusade).

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Is that so? In that case she may not be the only one.

      Fucking psycho-hypocrites.

    2. mmiied

      she was so incompetent she could not found it. she found some "schoolgirl" porn where the actress was clearly 18 (records on file notice and all that) and even the char she was playing was over 18 (self identified as such)

  13. Paw Bokenfohr


    Just what this country needs; an explosion of teenage pregnancy, teenage STI spreading, and more gay teens killing themselves for lack of any positive information from sex-negative parents.

    Because of course you know that any parent who chooses to block this category of sites isn't exactly the sort which will be having non-judgemental sex conversations with their kids.


  14. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    The coaltion demands that...

    Clearly not the "Coalition of the Willing", then?

    Clearly we need less buttered corn on the cob for more flexibility. Err... yes ...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "tasteless" jokes

    Anything government related?

    1. JustWondering

      Re: "tasteless" jokes

      Government related tasteless joke? Over here in the colonies, the mayor of our largest city is Rob Ford. You may have heard of him.

      1. Mad Chaz

        Re: "tasteless" jokes

        Come on, Rob Ford as jokes with taste. From the looks of him, probably very expensive taste too.

        But I guess it's all just a puff of smoke ...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Guido Fawkes is reporting that someone has ALREADY written a Chrome extension to get around the Great Firewall.

    I'm not advocating use of it, no sirree. It would be WRONG to circumvent any restriction which is both impractial and legally dubious. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    I provide this information merely for its news value.

    1. cracked

      (I'm not getting at you, Mr flatpack)

      Does this work, then?

      (that's what it is)

      there's a helpful description ... It's enables a smart proxy server (basically the extension simply appears to automate something you could do yourself in chrome settings?) run by the extension creator (it appears)

      I thought - I'm unable to test - that changing proxies did not bypass the filter?

      (Nice to know the lad/lass isn't keeping logs though ... eh?)

      Just sayin' ...

  17. Graham Marsden

    And no doubt...

    Sites like this one which give excellent advice to parents on how to teach children about the importance of consent and respect for others will also be blocked:

    Bravo, Dave, sites that don't teach girls how not to be raped, but aim to teach boys *not* to rape will no doubt be censored by the Great Firewall of Britain because we're "thinking of the chidren"...!

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: And no doubt...

      Indeed, its laughable, rather than think of the children, he has introduced measures which literally means nobody thinks of the children.

  18. bigtimehustler

    It's about time the government just stepped out of things that do not involve running the country. We don't need to be told what to see, especially when its 'extremely recommended' to be left on as ISP's are saying. The good thing about the internet is it allows those being repressed wrongly, either by their parents or by the state to get access to information otherwise not allowed. We shouldn't take that away from people. especially when this has never been voted on in parliament. The government should stop threatening to legislate to get their own way, either legislate or don't.

  19. bigtimehustler

    I think it's time to release a website and associated software in the UK, cross platform, that makes it easy to connect to a VPN and/or a proxy server, a one click and done job. Just to make sure this is completely pointless and doesnt have the negative effects it otherwise will.

  20. Adam Foxton

    Surely this is endangering children?

    Having them not know what to do- and what the dangers are of what they're doing- is like never letting them near a road, meaning they have no knowledge of how to react to them. Kids die every day on our roads so we teach them- Stop, Look, Listen.

    Banning the access of inquisitive minds from otherwise freely-available life-saving information is child endangerment. Kids DIE because they don't know that there are bad men out there. People DIE because they contract STIs. Lives are ruined by avoidable, unwanted teenage pregnancies- and potential lives are lost because the mother's don't know how to best ensure their baby is born alive, healthy and without deformities.

    The only 'upside' to this is that some parents don't have to explain a process which they themselves have performed. AND THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES FOR THIS APPREHENSION.

    Creepy Uncle Ernie rejoice; the kids don't know what you're doing to them. Also, FUCK MUMSNET AND FUCK THE DAILY MAIL.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surely this is endangering children?

      Nothing new there, this kind of thing has been endangering children for years.

    2. VinceH

      Re: Surely this is endangering children?


      I think someone already did.

      (Well, not the same someone for all of them, obviously.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fucking Mumsnet

        Can we just start referring to them as the unsafe sex lobby and have done with it?

      2. Mike Flex

        Re: Surely this is endangering children?

        ""FUCK MUMSNET"

        I think someone already did."

        I trust they had their penis beaker for afterwards.

        (What do you mean you haven't heard of it. It's an IT site, use Google.)

      3. Ghenghis McCann

        Re: Surely this is endangering children?

        Ever heard the phrase 'Father of the Nation'?

    3. Personhoody

      . . . "Without deformities"

      Well done, finally some sensible parental controls.

      Allow parents to keep damaging pro-abortion (pro killing deformed kids) messages from their kids. More lives with potential are being lost because our society tells kids that abortion is a good and right choice to make. How is information on abortion 'life saving'?

      Your views are incoherent.

      "Dangers of what they are doing" . . . My kids aren't doing that, mainly because it is illegal.

      Let parents raise their own.

      1. buyone

        Re: . . . "Without deformities"

        there speaks the Catholic Gillet woman, sorry for the spelling, whose daughter produced a child against Mummies teaching. I am glad my mother was against sexual ignorance, but then she had a brain and used it to think for herself.

        What is the difference between Herr Hitler's creed and this censorship?

    4. Ghenghis McCann

      Re: Surely this is endangering children?

      No, the Daily Fail is much more useful cut up into small squares to replace Andrex in these straightened times.

    5. grammaphobe
      Thumb Down

      Re: Surely this is endangering children?

      You lefty twit.

  21. NomNomNom

    It's all very easy to oppose internet filters if you are living as a bachelor or have an alternative lifestyle. I don't blame you for having an opinion, but I would ask you please give some honest consideration to those of us with young children.

    Take for example my young son Tristram. He turns 11 in February and already excels with technology. His tutors all remark how advanced he is on a computer, admittedly this is my doing as being in IT I made sure to shepherd him towards technology at a young age. Still the side effect of this is that every term he comes back home with some new demand - the latest iPhone or a new iPad! Inevitably he gets his own way - if you had children you'd understand.

    My daughter Lavinia is only 4 and so not so much of a concern at this stage. She has no reason to be accessing the internet for a few more years yet, and I don't see technology being a particularly big part of her life anyway.

    Me and the wife closely monitor our son's internet access, but he's growing to the age where he doesn't want us sitting behind him whenever he does homework online (and frankly I tire of having to sit there for hours while he researches such topics as "the geography of peru"!)

    As much as the Internet is a fine thing, we all surely recognize it has it's downside and so requires a certain degree of regulation. We hear all the stories about trolls, internet bullying and predators online. I don't for a second believe it's as bad as the papers claim, but I think we need to do *something*. The last thing I want to happen is I get home to find my son has become a gambler or has been accessing gay websites.

    I know the internet filter might not work, but we should at least give it a go and see where we go from there. They have a filter over in China and you don't hear many complaints about that. I know China isn't a particularly politically correct country currently, but we sure as hell buy a lot of goods from them so what are we hypocrites?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ NomNomNom

      Good Troll, you got 3 people to bite already.

    2. HippyFreetard

      In a few short years they will be 18 and have access to everything.

      Trouble is, the internet bullying and access to porn doesn't stop when they turn 18 and move out. It gets worse.

      If you hold their hand every time they cross the road, they will get run over the first time you don't.

      There are predators In Real Life too. In schools, in libraries, in churches, and within the family. Do they know this? Do they know the signs? The internet should be a simple extension of that.

      If your son was curious about his sexuality, would he know the difference between "LGBT teens forum", and "live gay teens"?

      1. BeerTokens

        'If you hold their hand every time they cross the road, they will get run over the first time you don't.'

        Completely agree! My son is three and we live near a very busy road, through constant 'parenting' from before he was one. Only ever crossing the road how I would expect him to cross, not just glancing over my shoulder and wandering across the road EVERY TIME we cross. He will now walk upto the kerb side (a foot back) and wait for me, telling me when it is safe to cross. He is not ready to do this on his own but he may by the time he is five. This then will so engrained that he will not break the rules even when he is 12 and all his mates are dashing across the road.

        Each part of the world that he gets introduced to needs a different approach for instance he is allowed to run amock around our lounge, where nothing is baby proofed, he gets one warning 'if you continue doing that you will hurt yourself' then when he falls over he will learn not to run so fast, that falling over hurts, and hopefully that daddy doesn’t just say these thing for the fun of it. It is not an instant lesson but one learnt over time.

        Each one of these things I do, I do because his life and well being is ultimately my (and my wifes) responsibility. This will extend to the internet once he has tired of the cbeebies web site. I do not need nor want the gov. to intervene. If we had followed their advice on baby proofing the room, he would not know that it hurts when you fall, and those corners are kinda ouchie. This was evident at a birthday party, a year ago, where he fell down three steps, whilst falling he put out he hands to break his fall. Other parents at the party could not believe that he had done that as their children had not shown this skill (for want of a better word).

        I want my son's to grow up a little bit street wise, so when they do venture out into the big wide world they are as prepared for it as possible, if this means introducing them to the dangers they face in a controlled way, then that is what will happen and is my prerogative.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You chose to have children. Nobody forced you into it. Why weren't you planning on how to handle their access to the internet?

      All my colleagues with small children have detailed plans. Why should one irresponsible adult force the responsible population to change to suit them?

    4. JustWondering

      If you are going to give in to all of your children's demands, I can see why you want the government involved.

    5. bigtimehustler

      Oh God, people like you shouldn't be allowed to have children, you clearly can't be trusted to bring them up in the world as you are admitting you can not cope openly on the internet.

    6. cracked

      Just one tiny slip, nom

      Me and the wife ... ?

      Nah ... not with a Lavinia and a Tristram

      Would be The Wife and I ...

      (caught a few, though, as notauser notes)


      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        " (caught a few, though, as notauser notes)"

        I thought that those taken in would have at least realised when he mentioned the Chinese firewall!

        1. Not That Andrew

          I was suspicious at Tristram, but Lavinina confirmed my suspicions. Great troll

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One upvote for your ninja trolling skills

      Sweet, please carry on

    8. teebie

      I think the parody needed to be a bit more obvious here.

  22. LaeMing

    All part of the big plan to keep population growth up.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: All part of the big plan to keep population growth up.

      No joke. That's why all successful religions are opposed to sex-ed.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Wondered how Call-me-Daves little plan would work?

    Me either.

    Told you that list they want to use on the British public was long.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How is this not censorship?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So...

      It's a parent controlled filter. Only the adults in the house can turn it on - it's off by default. It's only censorship if choosing not to go in the library is censorship.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So...

        "It's a parent controlled filter. Only the adults in the house can turn it on - it's off by default. It's only censorship if choosing not to go in the library is censorship."

        You have a point, but the fact that the filters are broad classes and AFAIK there's no list of what each category covers means that someone somewhere is deciding what gets filtered and how to justify that filtering and they're doing it in secret.

      2. bigtimehustler

        Re: So...

        Errrr, what? It is actually on by default, that is the problem!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So...

          "Errrr, what? It is actually on by default, that is the problem!"

          No. The porn filter is on by default, this is part of a set of extra controls for parents. The article states it.

      3. Daniel Johnson

        Re: So...

        Surely it gives the parent with a lack of IT skills a false sense of security?

        Kids can simply install a browser extension, gaining full acess to blocked websites, surf in a private session, and uninstall the browser extension when they're finished. No trace of what they've been up to on the local PC.

      4. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: So...

        " it's off by default."

        No, it's ON by default on new accounts.

        Then it'll become on by default on existing accounts

        Then they'll just start toggling it back on periodically (I'm already seeing this on TT and Tmobile filters)

        There's already a section of the same filtering engine which is set to "Can't be disabled" and Big Media were quick to take advantage of it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    TIL that BT are homophobic.

    Glad they'll never be getting my business.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know about pre-history - obviously - but the recorded history of the Human Race is a painfully slow denouncing of dreadful intolerance, bigotry, murderous violence and hypocrisy to name but some. Each generation sees some progress as various examples of our reprehensible behaviour are outlawed and by-and-large people eventually adapt and accept that former behaviour was wrong and that in that sense at least the world has become a better place.Unfortunately a great many people seem to think the work is done, all of our intolerance and hypocrisy is a thing of the past; in a sense this is in itself bigoted because they're blaming previous generations while attempting to present themselves as squeaky clean. They're incautious despite so much wrong having been so deeply woven in society until so very recently. They don't seriously consider - if they consider it at all - that there is still some way to go and like every one of those ancestors who committed heinous offences while loudly proclaiming moral superiority they are still driven not by reason, but by emotion in the service of their own perceived short-term interest. They still have a hypocritical agenda; they still look all around for scapegoats; they will still support State policies that destroy innocent lives, if it means they don't have to change, or to think instead of taking the shortest route to dissipating emotional tension (the root of conformity?).

    Well, they can't help themselves - poor dears! They know not what they do.

    But the fucking politicians...?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pity the poor politicians


      Given everything our politicos have directly or indirectly screwed up over the past decades: i.e., nuking the economy, starting useless wars, deceiving and spying on the public on a massive scale, coupled with multiple failed attempts to muzzle free speech and the internet (a constant source of freely available information about their many shortcomings), you can't blame them for wanting to make some friends and be popular again.

      The poor dears just want to be loved, even if that means kowtowing to the lowest common denominator. Working towards the greatest good for the greatest number would be better, but that is really, really hard particularly if you weren't forced to study ethics in school. Likewise if the people who put you in power can't even spell the word, much less practice it.

      And give poor Dave a break, for goodness sake. He is having SO many problems integrating with the rest of the kids.

  27. SVV

    Wonder if this filter has the Scunthorpe Problem?

    Should probably be good for a jolly Reg article if it does.

    Unsurprising how the list has grown in scope so quickly (like they said it wouldn't), soon we'll only be able to access the Daily Mail at this rate.

    And the scope widening to pander to homophobic prejudice is utterly disgraceful from both BT and the telecoms regulators who have let this happen, feels like a step back to the bad old days and I feel sorry for the kids who may be affected adversely as a result.

    Also not happy as someone living in shared rented accomodation that my landlord may now have the right to censor my internet (well, try to anyway). Finally, is there a legal responsibility on the telcos to ensure that no unwanted content can make it through their filter? No, thought not, funny isnt it?

  28. Anon5000


    All we need is for younger gay and transgender individuals to come along and say the blocks are against their human rights as it stops them identifying and communicating with like minded individuals if they are not the internet account holder.

  29. JustWondering

    Keep them dumb

    I guess the concern is that if kids have access to accurate information, they will find out sooner that what their parent have been telling them is at variance with reality.

  30. nuked


    My position is quite against the flow on this, which surprises me because I am firmly against most attempts to control my access to information, or decision making.

    Anyone who caught a glimpse of Joseph From Essex on ITV's recent jungle programme will probably share my amazement that this fully grown man did not know how to tell the time. He explained that he'd had an iPhone since about 7 and, well, "it's on the front". Each generations capability with the internet greatly surpasses the previous. It is clear to all, I hope, that it is nearly impossible to avoid pornography online, and it would be irresponsible to not try and protect the development of younger children.

    We can't choose our parents, and whilst most would install their own filters when introducing technology to their kids, there are those who just couldn't give a toss. Or more likely, they're still trying to figure out where to put the installation CD.

    I do not see the problem with an ISP having a default filter, with quite a broad scope, on the strict conditions that (a) the fact my search is filtered is very clear; and (b) I am able to easily switch it off.

    1. bigtimehustler

      Re: Disagree

      So tell me, what about the parents who want to control the views of their child in a negative narrow minded way? It works both ways you know.

      1. nuked

        Re: Disagree

        Then they shall do just that regardless.

    2. Old Handle

      Re: Disagree

      I disagree with your disagreement. About pretty much everything. I have no idea what telling time has to do with censorship. I do not find it difficult to avoid pornography. I'm not convinced pornography is harmful anyway. Clueless parents makes having a default on filter even worse. And finally, you seem to overlook all the households with no children (the majority), why should their internet be censored by default?

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Disagree

      If he had an iPhone since he was 7, he can't be any older than 14 now, and therefore too. young to appear on I'm a celebrity.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vote for Claire Perry MP

    Claire Perry MP's Twitter is @claire4devizes (in case you wanted to let her know how you feel about her "porn" filter).

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn those Condem slimeballs

    Its time to go all out and SURROUND PARLIAMENT with PITCHFORKS and FLAMING TORCHES demanding Herr Cameron be removed and charged with HIGH TREASON and CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So what if I get detained, Gitmo'd etc. Someone has to make a stand for the silent majority, and those who for legitimate reasons want to access such material ie teenagers who need to find out methods of contraception and/or information about STDs.

    What idiots at BT that approved this should be charged as well, otherwise we might as well give up and declare the UK to be Orwell's 1984.

    How does one petition the Queen to dissolve Parliament again?

    1. Corinne

      Re: Damn those Condem slimeballs

      Do you really, honestly think that the other lot would be any better - the bunch that was going to impose ID cards on us? Even worse control-freakery from them than the current ones.

  33. bailey86


    I sent a policy clarification request to Demon. They phoned back saying no plans currently to implement any filters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demon

      but what's the policy of the smaller ISPs - the ones that use BTW or OpenRetch services? If your ISP says "no filters" but the upstream applies them anyway, surely that is a breach of contract so you can just terminate and not pay a penny more (regardless of contract duration: they've told you it's not filtered, and yet it is, so they are the ones that breached any agreement).

      More importantly though, where is the list of banned URLs and the list of the individual companies / people who put them on the list so that they can be sued separately for every single piece of legal content that they filter "by default"?

      1. Havin_it

        Re: Demon

        I seriously doubt that would be the case: Demon's IP gateway, Demon's routing, I'd have thought.

  34. JonP

    Over excited?

    So ONE of the filter options is to block sex education. The option above it blocks search engines - no one seems especially bothered by that!

    Although I've not had to use it (yet... I'm with BT) this seems like a reasonable way of implementing the political ass-hattery thrown at them. At least it's not an all or nothing filter. It gives parents the option to filter what their children see; there are often calls for parents to take more responsibility for their children's safety on the internet, this gives them that control. Everyone else will just turn the filters off.

    OK I don't believe that this is in anyway foolproof, or that some sites won't get unintentionally blocked, maybe even intentionally blocked but given the number of people who will be watching this now and of course "Streisand" effect etc. I don't see this being much of a problem.

  35. Zmodem

    all they need to know is get a 72 hour pill and have good times for a week, and dont tap the slapper in your kru, you wont get the hunnies when you go to clubs

  36. Spanners Silver badge

    Is this all done by deliberate DNS errors?

    There are alternatives if so.

    1. Hideki

      Re: Is this all done by deliberate DNS errors?

      I believe they'll actually null route the sites at the router, although I have no evidence for that, it's just how I'd do it if I were a censorious arse.

      If they just do it on a DNS level that's laughable, heh, although perhaps they'll block connections to alternative DNS servers, probably transparently proxy them to their own.

  37. Alan Brown Silver badge


    "BT also declined to answer our question about whether it would make public its list of sites it blocks on its network when the filters are switched on. "

    Given the pervasiveness of ISP filters and the public interest, methinks this would make a good test case for the ICO.

    1. Zmodem

      Re: HMmmmm

      it blocks no sites, BT just runs a proxy, which you connection passes through, and the proxy scans all your files for keyword, and wont send you the files, and then overwrite http headers with the page is blocked redirect

      you can brute force your way passed most proxies, rewriting http headers in your own browser, t-mobiles used to have a buffer overrun, and shut down for 6 hours, so everyone could watch porn on their cell phones

  38. harmjschoonhoven

    And I want

    a filter that blocks all sites stating that pi equals 4, except

    and all sites asserting that Stalin was a bankrobber and all sites asserting that Stalin has never been a bankrobber.

  39. Clockworkseer

    Injury to Insult

    Childline is also apparently blocked. This will end... badly.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge


      The one and only thing the 'think of the children' mob did that agree with 100% gets blocked? Talk about irony

    2. Ghenghis McCann

      Re: Injury to Insult

      But surely, it's just back to Victorian values? 'Children should be seen but not heard'.

  40. Hideki

    Welcome to 1984.

    George Orwell is long dead and he was about 30 years off but here we are.

    (also, recently the conservative party engaged in the largest act of revisionism I've ever seen by removing pretty much all information from their time in opposition and calling it a site upgrade)

    Remember to get permission from the police if you wish to protest this, because that's apparently what we have to do in a supposedly free country now.

    Sweden is looking good.

  41. Ghenghis McCann

    Parenting by Remote XControl

    A few months ago, I saw an item on another website about some guy's really 'cool' idea to watch his kid while he went to catch the school bus. He had one of those multi-rotored remote controlled helicopters and had attached a video camera to it, so he could sit at his computer and watch the offspring on his way to the bus stop. No mention of what he would be able to do if; somebody tried to abduct the kid, the kid fell in front of the bus, the kid turned around and ran away from the bus stop, the kid had his lunch money stolen by a bully etc. But, what the hell, the father doesn't have to get of his big fat arse and actually walk down to the bus stop with the fruit of his loins.

    This filter is on the same level. 'I have kids but I really don't want them to disturb my lifestyle by having to interact with them. For God's sake what happened to parking them in front of the telly and letting them watch CBeebies. Why can't someone do it for me?'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Parenting by Remote XControl

      On the flip side, as a kid, having a drone escort would be badass.

      Plus, if it was a good enough drone, there's no reason that it couldn't suffer a malfunction and divebomb the bully at 30mph with all four rotors at max rpm... ;)

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mixed sites

    Its been mentioned in another post but what about mixed usage sites?

    LiveJournal has porn, lots of pretty graphic porn, but it also has a lot of non-porn sites. So does it get blocked or not?

    Tumblr has porn - though they tried to hide it now. But it also has a lot of stuff that isn't porn. Do you block it?

    Facebook has porn - and it has porn spamming. Block or not?

    What about Google ? Go to Google, Type "Gay Sex" into the search bar and then click on Images... OK they're not explicit but., and I suspect some of them are links to rags like the Daily Mail (Do their paparazi bikini shots count as porn?)

    The whole idea is barking.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: Mixed sites

      > What about Google ?

      Google is now useless for porn, it no longer return explicit results, no matter what. You need to go to Bing if you want to google for porn now.

  43. Mr Young

    Think of the children!

    I do that quite a lot actually - the cringeworthy dial would be at 11 if one of mine ends up being a politician:)

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hate to have to say this

    But I did say there is no way the filtering would stop at sites showing a bit of flesh. Of course, it is rightly up to the parents, but I'd caution that education will always be a more effective tool than lies or half truths (or in the case of censorship, an absence of truth).

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    dodgy practices ahoy!

    if you turn on parental control (and don't forget this affects the whole household) then you can access but can no longer get to,, etc - hmmmm...

    1. Zmodem

      Re: dodgy practices ahoy!

      get it disabled, there are 100s of free web filter proxies to use before your router..

      if everything else fails, you can use a virtual wifi router for your proxy

  46. Vociferous


    Frankly I'm surprised BT doesn't provide a filter to stop sites about evolution too.

    EDIT: They don't, right?

  47. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I've said it before....

    ....and I'll say it again.

    Site-level blocking? Ok, that's the BBC, Wikipedia and the NHS down the tubes.

  48. Petrea Mitchell

    That's nothing...'s a report that HMRC is blocked:

  49. jonfr

    O2 UK is blocking everything on parental settings

    It seems that O2 UK is blocking everything on the internet when "parental control" is selected. It includes my blog sites that are about nothing else then earthquakes and volcanoes, O2 UK own websites (why not) and BBC News website and more. I all I think about 99,9998% of the internet is blocked by O2 UK parental control filtering.

    This is in my view nothing else then sneaking censorship into the back door. I thankfully live in a country (Denmark) where such things are not going to happen I hope. As for UK, they are already down the path of censorship in the name of saving the children who later grow up to be fucked up adults as an result of overprotection by the society.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: O2 UK is blocking everything on parental settings

      > This is in my view nothing else then sneaking censorship into the back door.

      Nothing backdoor about it, this is explicit full frontal censorship.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One quick rewrite later...

    It would seem someone at BT had an 'oops we mucked that up' moment and the sex education section has been hastily rewritten.

    Sure, they broke the table lines at the same time , but that glaring section now screams 'Covering Ourselves' instead of listing anything specific..


  51. GoingGoingGone

    Just ban sex!

    What a clumsy attempt, just ban abortion (and likely sex soon) as the Spanish government is about to do, setting the country 30 years back overnight in the process, and voila... problem solved! No need to educate about non-existing issues.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sky fairies

    How long until one of the sky fairies have a filtering option..?

    I'm sure if the "Mumsnet Institute for Non Gays" don't want their accidents looking at gay / lesbian sites, then they certainly won't want sites that say their sky fairy isn't THE right sky fairy to be accessible...

    1. Havin_it

      Re: Sky fairies

      I thought it was the "Mumsnet Institute for No Gayness Ever" - better acronym.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sky fairies

      You know which people are even more obnoxious than religious fundamentalists? People who think the term 'Sky fairy' is clever, and who insist on using it at every opportunity, ensuring that the major experience that non-pushy believers have of nonbelievers is one of infantile, pointless mockery.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know who else liked burning books....

    Nuff said.

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