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BT testing HomeSafe-style active choice online safety filters

BT is trialling active choice network-level online safety filters like TalkTalk’s HomeSafe ahead of a launch in 2013 – including BT WiFi hotspots.

New BT Broadband customers are being introduced to the online safety system when they connect the new Home Hub 4 router for the first time.

Under ‘Active Choice’, customers are asked if they want to turn on the system, which blocks websites blacklisted for pornographic or dangerous content, and malware.

BT testing HomeSafe-style active choice online safety filters
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Read Recombu Digital’s guide to UK Parental Internet ControlsGodfrey Nunes, general manager of strategy and portfolio for BT Group, told Recombu Digital that customers’ devices can be set up so they are also recognised at BT’s WiFi hotspots.

“We think it’s very important that it is active choice,” said Nunes at Intellect’s Consumer Electronics Conference today. 

“At the moment the only thing that we block is the Internet Watch Foundation’s list of illegal sites, but apart from that our view is that it will be the responsibility of the adult who is in charge of the connection.

“Technology is moving so fast that parents tell us they cannot keep up, but they want a system that is effective and simple to control.”

The service will be rolled out across all of BT’s broadband customers by the end of 2013 ‘at the latest’.

The trial is experimenting with ways to make it easier for parents to operate, such as a simple choice of light, moderate or high blocking.

It will take over from BT’s current safety option, which offers a free download of McAfee internet security for PCs, but doesn’t support Macs, smartphones or tablets.

“The best method is to move the filtering into the network, because you can have a more powerful solution with one master repository of sites and filters,” Nunes added.

“All the devices in the home get all the same criteria applied, and we will have a lot more flexibility, so the parent could over-ride it for their own purposes, or have timing windows so filters drop out after 10pm.

“All of our customers can roam the BT Wifi hotspots network as well, and that filtering profile will apply when you are using your devices in a BT hotspot.

“TalkTalk has done a lot of good work in this area, but we have a very large working system with more than six million users and five million WiFi access points, compared to about three million home users for TalkTalk.”

BT is the third major ISP to launch network-level content filters, following TalkTalk in 2011 and Sky in February this year.

MPs are currently debating proposals to make network-level filters mandatory for all internet connections, although ISPs fear this will make customers complacent about taking responsibility for themselves and their families.

Image: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr