Anger as TalkTalk porn filter blocks women’s rights website

web blocking

TalkTalk catches another innocent site in its porn filter

A women’s rights website has been blocked by TalkTalk’s HomeSafe porn filter, despite the site not hosting any adult content.

Blogger Zara Rahman on Twitter first noted that TalkTalk was blocking the website sherights, which carries stories on issues such as women’s health, politics, violence and culture.

TalkTalk’s customer care account initially suggested she adjust her security settings, which drew an angry response from Rahman and others, who pointed out the site should not be blocked at all.

TalkTalk has subsequently unblocked the site.

A spokesperson told PC Pro: "We’ve always been clear that there will be a small number of websites which are filtered in error, as unfortunately no filtering solution can ever be 100% perfect. Clearly this website should not have been classified in this way and ... we have reclassified the website and so it will no longer be filtered in error.”

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group told PC Pro: "We’re going to see many more examples of sites blocked for no good reason. TalkTalk should not be blocking feminist sites as pornography... Filters are a blunt instrument and will block the wrong sites."

Not the first time

This is not the first time TalkTalk’s filter has gone awry, recently blocked mainstream sites such as WordPress.com and image-hosting site Imgur.com.

It's also not the only ISP with a filter that overblocks. In November, a working group was set up at the request of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to deal with the issue, which had seen charities and sex education sites blocked by sensitive filters.

Default porn blocking was introduced by the four largest ISPs in the country at the end of last year, on the orders of the government.

Under the rules, users have to actively opt out of web filtering upon setup.

More recently, MPs have called for a further crackdown, demanding porn sites that do not use age verification be prosecuted under obscenity laws.

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