Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TalkTalk Hiccup With Porn Filtering

TalkTalk - the UK ISP has recently had a problem with the adult content web filtering system it has implemented.  The guys from PC Pro cover the story admirably - "TalkTalk's porn blocker lets explicit videos through" but focus on the failure not the implications.

They've come under a bit of unfair stick for it failing (to my untrained rather wonky eye it was hacked) but at least they've not ducked out of trying to give parents options to protect their children (unlike some other ISPs we could mention).  So hats off and a big hurrah for them!

We (on the filtering and control side of the fence) often hear 'it's too hard' (no pun intended), 'we're not censors' and 'infringement of freedom of speech' noises from the big boys with the fat data pipes (again no pun intended).  What they're really saying is 'with our wafer thin margins how are we going to make an honest buck from adding yet more kit and resources - you lot (us consumers) are only interested in price and speed.'

I've got a wacky idea.  ISPs could show a bit of social responsibility and give parents (and others that want it) decent and easy to control filtered web access for their kids (not just porn, race hate and other societal unpleasantness).  It's not that hard to do (we know how) and we (the parents that do care) will pay a small premium (that we would have spent with end-point controls anyway) and the world will become a better place.  It's happening successfully elsewhere - the famously liberal Dutch have an ISP Kliksafe who have been doing it for ages.  

So, ISPs please spend a fraction of your whopping fiber roll-out budgets on making the online world a better place for kids not just delivering the porn faster and in HD.