U.K. Adopts Porn Opt-Out Filtering Plan

Jun 17, 2013 7:30 AM PST

LONDON — The U.K. has settled its long debated issue of how to police Internet porn adopting a new plan that will make parental filters a default setting in all homes by 2014.

Under the plan, ISPs will provide users with an “opt-out” plan according to Prime Minister David Perry’s special advisor, Member of Parliament Claire Perry.

The move puts to rest the niggling issue between the government; ISPs and people concerned with parental control and forced Internet censorship. But the resolution has not come without some controvery.

Critics in favor of an “opt-in” system are already complaining that the opt-out filter automatically turns back on at 7 a.m. — even if turned off the night before.

"[In the UK] we will have filters where if you do nothing, the parental filters will come pre-ticked," Perry said at a Westminster eForum. “We will have automatic put on, so if you turn the filter off at 9 p.m., it turns on again at 7 a.m.”

Although spearheaded by the government, because the new plan is being put into place by ISPs, it will not require new laws or legislation, calming some concern by critics that feared forced blocking of access and censorship by the government.

Some ISPs have already taken the initiative to establish parental filters.TalkTalk last year gave users a filtering choice, and according to company spokesperson Alexandra Birtles, more than a third of its customers have filtering enabled.

But conservative member Perry, who has been pushing for strict controls, said parents were "complacent" about online porn, pointing out that only four in 10 parents use some kind of Internet filtering at home.

Perry also confirmed that the government is moving ahead with plans to establish porn-free Wi-Fi networks.

Despite the new efforts, ArsTechnica.com pointed out that porn can still be accessed via mobile and peer-to-peer networks, and sites like reddit and Imgur, as well as porn created by young people themselves.

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