The UK government is set to announce a plan by which the UK's four major internet service providers will block consumers' access to porn in order to protect children from stumbling across sexual imagery online.

BT, Virgin Media, Sky and Talk Talk, have all agreed to offer a service whereby users can opt to have stringent parental controls in place.

Some may require customers to 'opt in' to view explicit websites, leading to a potentially awkward phone conversation for consumers when changing providers. ("Hello, BT? Please turn my porn back on.")

It's not clear who will decide which sites will be blocked nor how they will decide this.

Update: Virgin Media explains that the move is to make parental controls more explicitly available.

A spokesperson said, "Like all ISPs, Virgin Media is committed to protecting our customers and their families online and, alongside BT, Sky and TalkTalk, we have developed a code of practice to encourage an active choice about parental controls.

"When people join Virgin Media we will proactively communicate details around parental controls, enabling customers to make well-informed choices about the technical and behavioural steps they can take to protect their families online. The code of practice has been developed in consultation with parents' groups and children's charities."

Conservatism

The plans were first mooted by Ed Vaizey in December last year, and have come to fruition by way of PM David Cameron's meetings with the Mothers' Union, a Christian charity that has conducted a review into children's access to sexualised imagery for the government.

The proposals put forward by the Mothers' Union also include monitoring imagery used in advertising campaigns and a new website, ParentPort, where users can flag up programmes and adverts that they reckon are inappropriate for children.

It's not the first time in recent months that moves have been made to restrict access to content deemed inappropriate by the government and its cronies. Plans had been afoot to implement blocking websites suspected of distributing pirated films and music via ISPs, until they were branded unworkable.

Via PC Pro