Providers say they will only be offering people the choice of activating parental controls and if they do, it is up to the customer to decide what online content to block
Internet service providers (ISPs) are furious over reports that they will be forcing people to opt in if they want to visit adult sites.
They have all told Computeractive that nothing is further from the truth.
"A new customer will NOT be asked if they want adult content or not. They will be told about and asked to choose whether they want parental controls. If they want this they can then, in the privacy of their own home, decide whether to block pornography or gambling or whatever," Virgin reiterated to us.
The reports began following the news that the four major ISPs, Virgin Media, Sky, BT and Talktalk had agreed to a voluntary Code of Practice to give more information about parental control software to subscribers. This news was then reported by many sources as the first step towards introducing web censorship and that people would be forced to opt in if they wanted to visit adult sites.
However the ISPs said that this is rubbish. All they will be offering is the chance to activate parental control software, but only if the person wants this service. If the subscriber does then they will need to customise it to block the web content they don't want their children to see.
They said that the reports were extremely misleading and furthermore, could be dangerous as this may give people a false sense of security thinking certain sites were automatically blocked.
Because these ISPs have offered parental control software as part of security bundles for some time, we asked one exasperated ISP how this misunderstanding could have arisen.
"Lobby briefing by Number 10 to political journalists - so people who don't know what they're talking about, telling technical things to others who don't know what they're talking about...." we were told.
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