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Britain's online porn filters and their unintended consequences

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Britain's online porn filters and their unintended consequences

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New filters intended to stop children viewing online pornography are blocking access to sex education websites, it has emerged.

UK internet firms BT, Talk Talk and Sky have already launched filters, Virgin will fully introduce theirs in 2014.

But an investigation by BBC’s Newsnight programme has revealed the filters are having unintended consequences.

It found TalkTalk blocked BishUK.com, an award-winning sex education site, and lists Edinburgh’s Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre as “pornographic”, while BT’s blocked several sites including Sexual Health Scotland.

Justin Hancock, the author of BishUK, told the BBC: “It’s really frustrating because I’m trying to provide a sex education site for young people and it’s hard enough directing young people to good quality information on the internet.

“They might fix my site in the short-term but what about all the other sites that are out there for young people, not just sex education sites… who are TalkTalk to say what is allowed and isn’t?”

On the subject of online child safety, Talk Talk says: “Whilst there is no silver bullet when it comes to internet safety, we do believe that HomeSafe is a simple and effective way to empower parents to better protect their children online, allowing them to quickly and easily take great control of how the internet is used in their homes.”