Will UK porn filter block other content too?

29/07/2013

The UK Government’s controversial plans to impose an opt-out filter on internet porn could be extended to other content, according to reports.

The news has fuelled speculation that Chinese telecoms giant Huawei will oversee the UK porn filter.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that by the end of the year broadband subscribers will be required to go through a compulsory system which will decide what they can and cannot see on the Internet.

According to a report in TorrentFreak, ISPs speaking with the Open Rights Group claim that the filter will target a range of other content too.

Starting from a position of ‘porn banned’, subscribers will have to systematically unblock things they require access to.

Torrentfreak said the new filter could resemble the ‘Homesafe’ system operated by UK ISP TalkTalk, which was singled out for praise by David Cameron earlier this week.

Homesafe is a voluntary scheme which allows subscribers to select categories - including social media, gambling and pornography - that they want blocked.

See categories listed by Talk Talk below:

homesafe.jpg

The Homesafe system is supported by Chinese mobile company Huawei. In the past, Huawei has had questions raised over its links with the Chinese government.

Huawei has denied the claim, saying it doesn't "run" TalkTalk's Homesafe, but that the system is "supported by Huawei". The company has always denied claims that it has close ties to the Chinese government.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, a Huawei spokesperson said the filter was no different to others currently in use. "The technology is an industry standard URL-categorising solution which gives telecoms operators control over the service they offer to their customers," they said.

"The solution in turn gives their customers choice and control over of which categories of website can be accessed through their broadband service. The system is similar to other solutions in the market and is based on key word categorisiation; URLs are added under instruction from the customer."

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