UK ISP Sky to make smut an opt-in service from 2016

Family filters will be on for all new broadband subscribers

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UK internet service provider (ISP) Sky Broadband will turn on family filters by default for all new subscribers as of 2016.

Sky's “Broadband Shield”is currently an opt-in affairs and offers three levels of content filtering – PG, 13 and 18. The first two settings filter out material related to suicide, drug use, file-sharing, “dating” and pornography. The PG rating also blocks online games and social networks. It's also possible to name, and block, specific sites, or to pick and choose among the categories of content Sky blocks to create custom filters.

Sky's walked a little way down this road before, as earlier this year it turned on the “Shield” for those customers who did not ask for it to remain disengaged.

The company says 62 per cent of customers who had the “Shield” switched on have since retained some form of parental control, and that this level of engagement has been higher than that reported at other UK ISPs.

The move means Sky is adopting a 2013 thought bubble uttered by UK prime minister David Cameron, who at the time called for content filtering to be an “unavoidable decision” for internet subscribers.

Sky is, of course, a part of the News Limited empire overseen by Rupert Murdoch. News' various outlets supported Cameron's re-election, and the PM and the media mogul are reported to have recently enjoyed Christmas drinks together. Join the dots, dear readers … ®

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