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Sky launches its Sky Shield parental control system
Thursday 14 November 2013 14:04:34 by Andrew Ferguson

Sky has now launched its parental controls system, Sky Shield. The new family friendly filters are free to all Sky Broadband customers and as they are network based work for all devices using the homes broadband connection.

Example of what Sky Shield parental controls look like
Click for larger image

There is a fourth option available to Sky Broadband customers via their account portal, and this is the ability to customize the filters, allowing you to control which of the ten categories of content to filter out. An additional level of filtering is possible, as there is a white-list and black-list, so that you can make exceptions to the fairly broad rule set that any network based level of filtering will use. Confirmation of changes to the filter system are emailed to the registered email address linked to the Sky account.

While the filtering can be totally turned off, Sky recommend leaving it switched on as at its basic setting it will help to filter out malware and other malicious websites. We would urge continued caution over things like phishing, as criminals rapidly adapt and change tactics no filtering can ever block every attempt to grab your details.

"Protecting customers from inappropriate content in the digital world is something Sky has always taken extremely seriously. Sky has already played a leading role in protecting Sky homes from inappropriate content, as we know that’s what our customers expect of Sky.

Now we’re going one step further by offering our customers great new technology which means they can feel confident that all their devices in the home are protected. Sky Broadband Shield is a brilliantly simple tool that allows customers to easily choose how much of the internet to let into their homes.

At the same time, it helps protect all our customers against the threat of phishing sites and other malicious websites that may contain viruses."

Lyssa McGowan, Director of Sky Broadband

For web based content that is blocked the Sky Shield does serve a page telling you the site was blocked, but for app based access like twitter you are generally left with the spinning wheel until the request for data times out.


Posted by doowles over 3 years ago
Fantastic news, I've always been against censorship but this is optional and a real help to parents all over the country. Well done Sky, took you long enough!
Posted by jroadley over 3 years ago
Opt in - that's all we wanted.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
Thing is though this is an extra fiter, sky filter all traffic with no opt in or out, and they aren't only filtering links/sites that are said to contain child porn, they also are blocking lots of legit web sites,on the say so of big corporations under copyright laws, even though those sites are not hosting any infringing content that is censorship
Posted by zyborg47 over 3 years ago
Um, opt in or opt out? I would not be surprised if people to use their sky broadband and find these filters in place.

The other thing is do sky do the filtering or do it go to a third party like the way Talk Talk sends theirs to a Chinese company? More and more I find I made the right choice going with the ISp i have gone with,
Posted by MysticEddy over 3 years ago
@zyborg It's opt in. Not turned on in My Sky settings. Just needs to raise awareness for parents etc to activate if necessary. As for the Huawei filtering, I doubt Sky have gone with them. Maybe contact them to find out?
Posted by mitchja over 3 years ago
LOL Much of Sky's, BT and many other providers backhaul all use Huawei equipment. Most of the UK 4G mobile network infrastructure also uses Huawei equipment as well.

You better live in a cave in you want to avoid using Huawei equipment!!!
Posted by killsta over 3 years ago
@ tommy45. They're not filtering traffic "on the say so of large corporations". They're doing it on the say so of the UK courts, hence they have no choice.
Posted by Michael_Chare over 3 years ago
How do they identify cyber bulling?
Posted by jroadley over 3 years ago
Could be wrong, but changing the DNS servers on my mac seems to bypass this - or am I wrong?
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
@killsta: But who is going to the courts in the first place private corporations that's who, and the government here are elsewhere seem to be in their pockets
Posted by killsta over 3 years ago
You are correct, but this is nothing to do with Sky and other ISPs who legally have to follow court orders. The courts and the government being at the mercy of large copyright holders is indeed an entirely different issue.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 3 years ago
For avoidance of doubt - this filtering system is about stopping children accessing inappropriate content for their age.
Posted by _Resonance_ over 3 years ago
According to this the filters will be on by default from 2014
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
@andrew: yes the so called camerloon porn filter, Which is no more than an attemptfor them to gain more control over the net, and therefore uneeded censorship
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
It has nothing to do with protecting anyone
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
Surely the Government has promoted the tickbox mentality for decades. The Civil Service invented it, didn't they?
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
Blocking = Blocking parts of education you can't be bothered to give your child.
Posted by PhilCoates over 3 years ago
Blocking parts of education you can't be bothered to give your child.....

What like 3 guys screwing a woman? Wasn't part of the education I gave to my children.

Am I failed parent?
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
@jroadley - yes, setting DNS servers manually on clients bypasses the DNS-based filter. This can be prevented by setting a firewall block rule on the router for outgoing DNS traffic, so DNS traffic can only be routed via the router.
Posted by Mitchy_mitch over 3 years ago
As a non sky customer. If I use their DNS servers will this service partially work for me. As a parent of 3 young kids I would like to use this service.
Posted by mervl over 3 years ago
I have no problem with using filters on children's access to the internet. I do have a problem with parents who can't be bothered, or who need the Government to do it for them. If someone can't make the effort then I'd worry about the rest of the parenting too.
Posted by forsaken over 3 years ago
@Mitchy_mitch I doubt simply putting in their DNS will work as you have to log into their portal so it must be linked to their authentication details. Plus they need to know how to differentiate the varying levels of protection.
Posted by malvachat over 3 years ago
"Protecting customers from inappropriate content in the digital world is something Sky has always taken extremely seriously"
Oh really????
I know opting in or out is an option,but for how long?
I'm well able to decide for myself what is appropriate for me.
I'm glad I'm the age I am. Because I can see that goverments are in the furture going to decide what we can and can't view.
Bit by bit,little by little.
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
Making it easier for parents to block the ability to prevent their 12 year old from seeing a woman getting bonked by three men does not turn the UK into North Korea.

There's never been any suggestion that legal content will be permanently blocked to adults, but I suppose people do like to scaremonger.
Posted by otester over 3 years ago

Pretty sure once they know what sex is they can deduce the rest.
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