From today, Sky, one of the UK’s largest ISPs, will switch on a porn filter by default, meaning that should you want to access ‘adult’ material, you’ll need to call up and ask them to disable the feature.

It’s not being enacted retrospectively, meaning that existing customers who don’t already have the service switched on won’t suddenly find access restricted one day. You will, however, be contacted to see if you want them switched on.

New customers joining the company will be automatically enrolled in the Broadband Shield program and will have to request to have it switched off.

It’s not just porn either – any adult topic (online games, social networks and other age-restricted services) will be blocked by default before 9pm. The default setting is for content rated 13, but there are also PG and 18 options too.

After 9pm, the same as the television ‘watershed’ in the UK, adult content will be allowed even if the filter is switched on.

It’s a move that’s likely to anger some vocal customers, but Sky’s customer base has millions of families, many of whom will be grateful for the ‘set it and forget it’ nature of the filter.

Still, changing the setting of an existing customer to limit access if they fail to respond when asked if they want it on does sound a bit much.

A shift in legislation

The Investigatory Powers Bill passed into Parliament for its second reading this week; its next worrying step towards ushering in a raft of concerning measures.

Part of the proposal requires ISPs to hold onto records for every customer detailing exactly which sites were visited, and at what times, among other as yet undecided data.

This, of course, has met with complaints from privacy advocates, who say that the ability to identify every aspect of a person’s life isn’t really akin to it being “the modern equivalent of an itemised phone bill” – an earlier claim made when debating it in the House of Lords.

> Via Pocket-Lint