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Are EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP blocking porn?

After the Prime Minister’s announcement that some ISPs will block access to pornography by default by 2014, we’ve taken a look at some of the UK ISPs which currently aren’t restricting access. 

Pending the Online Safety Bill becoming law, some of these ISPs probably never will. 

Are EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP blocking porn?
Locked Out: While not every ISP will provide a default pornography filter, the effectiveness of such software is disputed and could encourage complacency

Recombu Digital takes the issue of online safety very seriously. We’ve compiled these guides for families with Windows and Mac desktops and laptops and we’re keeping tabs on what all of the UK’s main ISPs offer in terms of help for parents. 

So while BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk either have or will be enabling whole-home network-level solutions in the future, here’s what EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP offer right now. 

Are EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP blocking porn?

EE Broadband – McAfee AntiVirus Plus Parental Controls

EE Broadband is the UK’s fifth largest ISP. Customers can make use of McAfee AntiVirus Plus which comes included and is free for a year. Once this is up you can pick up another licence for £44.99, or you can make use of another security suite if you wish. 

McAfee AntiVirus Plus comes with a full suite of parental controls which let you monitor your children’s web use to keep track of what sites they’re visiting and set time limits, if you want to restrict homework time to set hours of the evening. 

A downside of this offer is that McAfee AntiVirus Plus is not Mac-compatible. Households with Apple machines should read our guide on making use of the security features that come built in to Macs, iPhones and iPads. 

Are EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP blocking porn?

Plusnet – Plusnet Protect

Plusnet Protect is a built-in security suite that’s powered by McAfee software and is available either for £2/month with Plusnet’s Essentials package (with the first three months available free of charge) or bundled as a free feature of Plusnet Unlimited broadband. 

As well as protecting you against viruses with McAfee Site Advisor, parents can set boundaries and remotely monitor what their children are doing. 

When asked about the Prime Minister’s plans, a Plusnet spokesperson confirmed to Recombu Digital that it has plans to launch a whole-home network-level solution similar to the software that BT and the rest are offering. The Plusnet spokesperson said: 

“We take the matters raised by the Prime Minister very seriously.  We already subscribe to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list and will continue to actively use it to prevent the access to illegal child abuse images. 

“Plusnet does appreciate that a network level solution will make it easier for parents to administer and we are aiming to have a solution in place in 2014 which will provide our customers with the flexibility and control they need.” 

Are EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP blocking porn?

Direct Save Telecom

Direct Save Telecom is the UK’s leading provider of value broadband, offering basic broadband at some seriously competitive rates. As Direct Save Telecom is a straightforwards ISP that just sells broadband internet access and phone services with no bells and whistles, it doesn’t currently bundle any parental controls or security software with it’s packages. 

Direct Save Telecom is however looking into offering parental internet controls with its broadband in the future and welcomes the Prime Minister’s words on protecting children.  

Chris Charles general manager for Direct Save Telecom told us: 
 
“We see the new regulations being brought in protecting children from illicit material on the internet as a good thing, as first and foremost it is vital that we safeguard childhood. Children need to be protected as you only get one go at it, so the more that is done to ensure this happens the better.
 
“We believe more has to be done across the board, as it is not just the ISP’s responsibility to monitor what we can and cannot view on the internet. Everyone involved has to take more responsibility. Parents have to be more vigilant, and in particular the search engines, web hosters and companies responsible for registering domain names need to do more. These companies have tremendous power and are simply not doing enough.
 
“So not only are these new regulations a good thing, but more has to be done in the future to ensure children are allowed to be children. We believe a further review is needed forcing all parties involved to take more responsibility, as this is a problem which is simply not going to go away because there is an opt-in opt-out option.”

Are EE, Plusnet, Direct Save Telecoms and AAISP blocking porn?

AAISP

AAISP is a niche broadband provider aimed at technical and prosumer customers. The company prides itself on offering honest, up front and no nonsense tech support. Boss Adrian Kennard isn’t impressed with the government’s filtering proposals. 

Arguing that the root causes of online abuse go further than what blocking access to certain sites can provide, Kennard posted the following image to his personal blog detailing what happens when a customer signs up for broadband with AAISP.

Customers who pick the option to have their internet access filtered are advised to look elsewhere:   

“Sorry, for a censored internet you will have to pick a different ISP. All our services are unfiltered.”

While this bullish message might not be the answer some customers are looking for, you can’t fault Kennard’s up front approach.

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