BT turns on porn filter

New customers will be asked if they want to turn it off; existing customers will be asked in 2014

BT has announced that it has started rolling out its new internet filter designed to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content.

The filter, which has been dubbed the porn filter by those opposed to the move, will automatically be switched to on. Those wishing to access adult content will need to actively choose to turn it off.

The move follows government requests for internet service providers like BT to do more to protect children from content like pornography and gambling sites.

At the crux of its request was to automatically filter all content unless the customer specifically requested for the filter to be turned off.

The BT Parental Controls filter will affect any internet-enabled device connected to its service. It will be automatically set to its highest level for all new customers.

There are three levels within the filter – strict, moderate and light. Alternatively, customers can choose to turn off the filter altogether.

Existing BT customers will be contacted throughout next year and asked to choose the level at which the filter is set.

In addition, users can personalise the filters. They can choose to block access to certain types of websites, including sex-education sites, as well as search engines.

Privacy and internet-rights campaigners have lashed out at the move, calling it the first step towards censorship.

Sky and Talk-Talk have already launched their versions of the privacy filter. Virgin is expected to launch their own filter in the new year.