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UK ISP Adult Filters Go Live And Are Censoring Legitimate Sites

     
7:03 pm on Jan 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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As i've said previously, these catch-all filters are impacting sites the scheme wasn't intended to hit.


The filters are intended to allow parents to ensure children cannot view adult content.

But the automatic blocking of all file-sharing sites meant that news site TorrentFreak and other legitimate sites were also blocked.UK ISP Adult Filters Go Live And Are Censoring Legitimate Sites [bbc.co.uk]

"If at any time a website owner believes they have been unfairly filtered or miscategorised by Sky Broadband Shield, they can contact Sky and we will look into it as soon as we can," it added.

Previous discussions

UK ISPs To Offer Optional Blocking For Adult Content [webmasterworld.com]

UK: Google Against Plans For ISPs To Filter Adult Content [webmasterworld.com]
7:41 pm on Jan 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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They are also blocking sex education sites, sites that help victims of rape and domestic abuse, and a lot more.

Also note the mission creep. It was originally supposed to block #*$!, it is now also SUPPOSED to block file sharing sites, extremist (in whose opinion?) sites etc.

One the the government will probably just decide to block everything except big media sites and large e-commerce sites.

Also notice it requires website owners to contact every UK ISP that blocks then for review. It is going to mean a lot of foreign websites will simply not bother.
10:08 pm on Jan 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I won't bother either. I have a shopping directory with a category for "sex" shops. If it gets blocked big time I'll just dump it.

I've been considering that anyway, after google scared off potential submissions and caused a sheaf of link remnoval emails for all categories with their stupid anti-links program.

Meantime, there is no difficulty, for an average 10-year-old, in bypassing censorship apps; and facebook and twitter are, presumably, not included in the block.
10:15 pm on Jan 7, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If visitors can't get to your site to report the problem who will tell you that there is a problem?
9:51 am on Jan 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Given how the govt goes about consultation, they probably only asked large British sites, who would notice if traffic dropped from a major ISP.

The problem is greatest lies with information sites, especially non-profit and foreign ones, who may not notice that a single British ISP has blocked their site.

Of course this is an important category for many visitors, but I suspect the government does not regard them as important.

How is the blocking done? DNS? IP? Transparent proxy? A combination?
5:16 pm on Jan 8, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't know how the blocking is done. However it is done, it'll be different for each ISP, which makes it even more unwieldy, imho.
10:28 am on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I run adult sites and TBH I've not seen any drop in traffic since this filter was put in place
 

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