BT Internet filter gives parents option to block 'gay and lesbian lifestyle' content

The 'sex education' blocking category also prevents access to information on abortion, pregnancy, STIs and contraception

BT’s Internet filter provides parents with the option of blocking access to ‘gay and lesbian lifestyle’ content, as well as information on abortion, STIs and contraception.

The revelation comes as the communication giant has already come under fire this week following a BBC investigation which revealed that the default option on the firm’s new filter blocked a number of sex education and domestic violence victim support sites.

However, as well as education and helpline sites falling victim to over-blocking by the new system, BT also lists sex education as a filter category, meaning that homeowners can actively prevent a wide range of sites that could provide “vital support” to young people from being accessed.

“The Internet is a vital gateway for many young people, especially lesbian, gay and bisexual young people,” Ruth Hunt, Deputy Chief Executive of LGB rights charity Stonewall told The Independent.

“Anything that prevents them from accessing vital support poses a threat to their wellbeing. We hope organisations like BT will make every effort to ensure that everyone can access much needed information.”

In response to questioning as to why gay and lesbian lifestyle content was blocked, the company said it was in fact "an accidental mis-description of the way our parental controls operate". 

BT have now amended the description on its customer help website, replacing the reference to gay and lesbian lifestyle with the words 'sexual orientation'. The sex education blocking category remains.

"Some parents of very young children may wish to block sex education material. One of our optional filters does just that," a BT spokesperson told The Independent

"It does not discriminate between heterosexual and LGBT content. We apologise for any confusion that has been caused. We shall revise the way we describe the optional sex education filters available for parents of very young children.  The filters in question are not turned on by default, but are activated only if chosen by parents."

BT launched its new filter, designed to provide extra protection to children online earlier this week. Under the new system all new customers will be required to choose a filter level, or to opt out.

Current users will be contacted in 2014 and asked to decide whether or not they want to set up the new service.

The move follows extensive pressure from the Government on the country’s big four Internet service providers - BT, Virgin, Sky and TalkTalk - to implement a ‘default on’ filter policy.

Sky launched its parental filter last month, Virgin is currently piloting a system that will be rolled out in 2014 and TalkTalk has had a filter, lauded by David Cameron, in place since 2011.

BT’s filter has 17 blocking categories which cover topics including drugs, gambling, games, social networking, self harm and fashion.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Support and Development Engineer

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The leading provider of Employee Managem...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Designer

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Kent based design consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Gazetteer Consultant

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work for an ...

    Recruitment Genius: Regional Support Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This role's responsibility also include operat...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test