Skip to main content

Sky porn block mishap rectified as news service is blocked

Sky's filters, which the company uses to restrict access to adult entertainment websites, have been updated after it blocked a news site. The problem was down to news service Torrentfreak being listed as a "file-sharing site" although it doesn't offer torrents at all, only news about the entertainment industry and its battles with so-called piracy. These porn blocks are being adopted by all the UK's major ISPs as the government starts its crackdown on adult material. 

In a statement to the BBC, Sky said that it would always look into claims of incorrect blocking via the Sky Broadband Shield service. The ISP first switched its blocking software on in November last year and, like all similar services, it's had its fair share of false positives. 

The UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been pushing for the removal of porn for some time. His plans are aimed at keeping children from accidentally discovering hardcore porn online. Critics are quick to point out that these restrictions harm not only legitimate services, including rape crisis centres, but also require users to admit they love a bit of internet grot - something that's alarming from a privacy perspective. 

Cameron is also keen to clean-up public Wi-Fi hotspots, demanding that porn be inaccessible on networks where children could access adult material, or perverts could look at porn in public. 

The obvious problem with all these blocks is that they are simple to circumvent using a VPN or the TOR browser, which routes traffic via computers often in a different country to where the user is based. TOR is a free service which is simple to use and install and offers a simpler way to get around ISP level blocks. It also grants access to the "dark web" where people can trade illegal items with less chance of being caught by law enforcement.