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
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.