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UK 'Porn' Filter Will Also Block Violence, Alcohol, Terrorism, Smoking And 'Esoteric Material'

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The United Kingdom's new internet filters promise to block much more than just pornography, according to a report by the digital advocacy organization Open Rights Group.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron announced online porn would soon become automatically blocked in order to "protect children and their innocence." The filters will be implemented by the UK's major internet service providers, which encompass 95% of British web users.

Based on conversations with several ISPs, Open Rights Group says the new "parental controls" will reach far beyond pornography. By default, the controls will block access to "violent material," "extremist and terrorist related content," "anorexia and eating disorder websites," and "suicide related websites."

In addition, the new settings will censor websites that mention alcohol or smoking. The filter will even block "web forums" and "esoteric material," though Open Rights Group does not specify what these categories would include.

The Independent notes the filters implemented by the four main private internet providers will be "default-on," meaning users must explicitly choose to turn them off. Users can decide to keep certain filters while turning others off.

Making the filters default means most people will keep them, according to Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock. "We know that people stick with defaults: this is part of the idea behind 'nudge theory' and 'choice architecture' that is popular with Cameron."

According to Cameron, the new parental control settings will be turned on for all new broadband subscribers "by the end of the year."

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