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TalkTalk plan to introduce rating system for broadband
Tuesday 29 September 2009 12:15:44 by John Hunt

Broadband connections with a cinema style rating could be coming to a computer near you following an announcement by TalkTalk that they were looking to implement parental controls within their network. The system would allow households to decide what rating to apply to their home with options of U, 14, 18 or unclassified.

Selecting a rating such as U or 14 would block access to websites such as pornography and gambling, similar to many corporate environments which block access to these for employees. Crucially, these ratings could also block access to file sharing websites such as the Pirate Bay to help stop illegal file sharing.

The system proposed would have two main benefits. Firstly, it being based in the network means it's easy for customers to use as they do not need to install software on computers or worry about keeping it updated. Secondly, it will help block file sharing where parents don't know that their children are doing it. This has benefits to TalkTalk as well as it will reduce the amount of file sharing on their network, which may improve performance for other broadband activities like streaming video.

"This is something that we are going to do anyway, as a service to our customers, but through doing it we can also help the content industry by blacklisting sites that have BitTorrent [a file-sharing technology] files on them."

Charles Dunstone, (CEO) Carphone Warehouse

The move should help to appease the content industry who Dunstone has suggested are ill-founded in their plans to have government impose law to disconnect users who illegally share files.

Last week the Featured Artists Coalition (which includes big names such as Annie Lennox, George Michael and Radiohead) voted to support a three-strikes sanction that would see to restrict the speed of an infringer's connection to make file-sharing impractical. Such measures will be unpopular with consumers but if ISPs can curtail file-sharing by content filtering such as this, it may well reduce the number of penalties that are given out to users.


Posted by JeremyBoden over 7 years ago
I don't mind censorship if it protects us from the likes of TalkTalk and the Featured Artists Coalition (which includes big names such as Annie Lennox, George Michael and Radiohead).

Weird isn't it?
Since when has "we will spy on your connection" been a selling point?
Posted by gbswales over 7 years ago
To be fair to talk talk (OMG I cant believe I am saying that) their proposal is less like spying that what the government and FAC are looking for -it is about imposing restrictions on certain activity and websites ie preventing users from doing things in the first place. My concern is that it may give parents a false sense of security rather than actually looking at what their kids do!
Posted by JeremyBoden over 7 years ago
Posted by Aqualung over 7 years ago
And just who is going to be the arbiter of what is acceptable.Talk Talk have always been for net neutrality as far as i know but this moves firmly away from that principle...
I cant see this improving Talk Talk's image.
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
Well it appears to be optional, you would assume that choosing a rating of 18 would allow unfettered access to all.

It might be of use to some parents of younger children. For teens I would imagine that the info to bypass such restrictions would spread like wildfire. As is the case with current school networks.

I also think they should be very careful in stressing to parents that this is not a substitute for supervision of parental intervention. I fear too many people will expect it to just work as is and abdicate all responsibility to the ISP.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
No, I wouldn't assume that at all, mishminx. One court order, once the capacity to block is in place, and bittorrent is blocked.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
I think its cunning, and practical - just need to find some sucker to say that site can be blocked legitmately. Back to the music company to get a court order some place!
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
dawn_falcon except they dont use the courts. They think they above normal legal procedure and just send notice direct to the isp.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
chrysalis - That's a different line of attack. They're allways trying on multiple fronts...
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
Regarding TalkTalk, weren't they looking at Phorm not too long ago?

And parents should not censor the net, my family got its first PC in 1998 (I was 8) and I got Unreal two years later, from day one I had uncensored internet.

I wouldn't call myself completely normal but I have a clean record and attend uni if that counts for anything :)


The NWO will be completed unless there is an uprising.

We are on the defensive on all fronts.
Posted by Rroff over 7 years ago
Censorhip is a bad thing... well meaning but rarely has a happy ending... if you really care about your kids take the time to educate, guide and encourage them... otherwise leave em well alone.
Posted by Rroff over 7 years ago
As someone with a large extended family, with 3/4 of my cousins (almost 40) younger than myself I've observed many of them growing up and those who've had more freedom in their lives have for the most part become well adjusted people. Those cousins where the parents have been over protective, monitoring or subjugative even with the best of intentions have typically grown up mal-adjusted and first time they get a chance of freedom gone off the rails to one degree or another often into drink, drug or other problems.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 7 years ago
Rroff - Yea, and that's a known and well studied issue. But some parents won't listen...
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
Somewhat overly paranoid, which is a problem with single issue reactionaries. ISP parental controls are by no means a new and unique concept. Unfortunately neither is the hypocrisy that comes with them. Though in this case people seem less concerned with parental controls and more concerned with the 'not me too', inconvenience factor. Which of course is astoundingly ignorant and a wholly separate issue.

In addition I am not aware of any studies that support the adultisation of children to the detriment of parental responsibility.
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