Web blocking in the United Kingdom
The precise number of websites blocked in the United Kingdom is unknown. Blocking techniques vary from one Internet Service Provider (ISP) to another with some sites or specific URLs blocked by some ISPs and not others. Websites and services are blocked using a combination of data feeds from private content-control technology companies, government agencies, NGOs, court orders in conjunction with the service administrators who may or may not have the power to unblock, additionally block, appeal or recategorise blocked content.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Active programmes
- 2.1 Copyright
- 2.2 ISP Default network blocking
- 2.3 Mobile Internet blocking
- 2.4 Internet Watch Foundation
- 2.5 Public Wi-Fi
- 2.6 Libraries and educational institutions
- 3 Planned programmes
- 4 Proposed programmes
- 5 Technologies
- 6 Responses
- 7 Circumvention
- 8 See also
- 9 References
There are a number of different web blocking programmes in the UK. The high profile default ISP filters and IWF filters have been referred to as a "pornwall", "porn filter", "Hadrian's Firewall", "Great Firewall of Britain" and the "Great Firewall of Cameron". However the programmes are usually referred to interchangeable or individually rather than collectively.
|Child porn and obscene content blocking||Child Pornography & Criminally obscene adult content||Internet Watch Foundation||ISP implementation of child abuse image content list||98.6% as of 2009|
|Copyright infringement site blocking||Copyright infringing sites subject to court orders||Rights holder organisations court orders||ISP implementation of secret court orders||97.2% as of 2014 of consumer connections|
|Default ISP Filters||Varied, see ISP Default network blocking category comparison||Broadband ISPs with varied technology partners||ISP Content-control software
|93% of new consumer connections since January 2014
Unknown percent of active connections
|Mobile Internet Filtering||Varied, see Mobile Internet Blocking||Mobile network operator with varied technology partners within the British Board of Film Classification framework||ISP Content-control software||100% of new contracts since 2004
Unknown percent of active connections
|Wifi Hotspot Filtering||Varied, see Public Wi-Fi||Arqiva, BT, Sky, Nomad Digital, Virgin, O2||ISP Content-control software||90% of public Wi-Fi as of 2013|
|Private Hotspot Providers||49% of wifi hotspots as of 2013|
|Library and educational filtering||Varied including Payday loans, see Libraries and educational institutions||Local government||Content-control software||Majority of Schools
|Corporate Filtering||Often social media, may extend to wider content||Company IT Department||Content-control software often with SSL Deep packet inspection||Unknown|
|Technical threat blocking||Malware, Phishing, Spyware etc.||ISPs with technology partners||Blacklisting||Optional, usage unknown|
|Extremist material blocking||Extremism and Terrorism||Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit
||URL Blocking List||Currently Public Estate Blocking Only|
|Government White List||Websites incorrectly filtered||UK Council for Child Internet Safety||TBA||Not in effect|
|Social Media and Communications blocking||Social Media, BlackBerry Messenger||-||Unknown||Proposed for emergencies|
|Network-capable device level mandated filtering||Pornography||-||Device manufacturers||Proposed|
The technical measures used to block sites include DNS hijacking, DNS blocking, IP address blocking, and Deep packet inspection, making consistent verification problematic. One known method is ISP scraping DNS of domains subject to blocking orders to produce a list of IPs to block.
It is an established procedure in the UK for rights-holders to use 'Section 97' court orders to require ISPs to block copyright-infringing sites. For instance, court orders obtained by the BPI in October 2013 resulted in the blocking of 21 file-sharing sites including FilesTube and Torrentz. There is a private agreement in principle between leading ISPs and rights holders, made with encouragement from government, to quickly restrict access to websites when presented with court orders. The court orders are not made public and "overblocking" is sometimes reported, such as the accidental blocking of the Radio Times, Crystal Palace F.C., Taylor Swift and over 100 others websites in August 2013.
The practice originated as a result of a court order applied against an incidence of copyright infringement was that taken out by the Motion Picture Association in December 2010 at the request of Hollywood studios. The Association applied for an injunction to block access to NewzBin2, a site which provided a search service for UseNet content, indexing downloads of copyrighted content including movies and other pirated material. The application was lodged against BT, the largest Internet service provider in the United Kingdom with around six million customers. It required BT to use Cleanfeed to block its customers' access to the site. In July 2011 the High Court of Justice granted the injunction and in October 2011 BT was ordered to block access to the website within fourteen days, the first ruling of its kind under UK copyright law. The precedent set was described by the Open Rights Group as "dangerous". BT did not appeal against the ruling and put the required block in place on 2 November 2011. Subsequent attempts to access the site from a BT IP address were met with the message "Error - site blocked". Newzbin released client software to circumvent the BT blocking, using encryption and the Tor network. Newzbin claimed that over 90% of its active UK users had downloaded its workaround software making the BT block ineffective. However, further court orders resulted in Sky blocking access to Newzbin in December 2011 and Virgin Media blocking access to the site in August 2012. On 28 November 2012 Newzbin announced the closure of its indexing service.
Meanwhile in May 2012 the High Court ordered the blocking of The Pirate Bay by UK ISPs to prevent further copyright infringing movie and music downloads from the website. The blocks were said to be quickly bypassed and a spokesman for The Pirate Party said public interest in the service following the ban had boosted traffic to the party's website. In December 2012, the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) threatened legal action against The Pirate Party after the party refused demands sent at the end of November to remove their proxy to The Pirate Bay.
In September 2013 an Ofcom survey revealed that 2% of Internet users are responsible for 74% of all copyright-infringing downloads in the UK, and that 29% of all downloads are of content which violates copyright.
In October 2014 the first blocking order against trademark infringing consumer goods was passed against the major UK ISPs by Richemont, Cartier International and Montblanc to block several domains.
ISP Default network blocking
Since the end of 2013, new Internet customers in the UK have had their Internet access filtered at the ISP level so that selected web sites are blocked by default. An ongoing program is being introduced to extend default blocking of prohibited content by ISPs to existing users. A voluntary code of practice agreed by all four major ISPs means that customers have to 'opt out' of the ISP filtering to gain access to the blocked content. However users cannot usually opt-out of the monitoring and re-routing of the traffic through likely exploitable equipment due to the complex nature of the active monitoring systems. The range of content blocked by ISPs can be increased over time.
The idea for default filtering originated in manifesto commitments by the 2010 coalition government partners concerning "the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood". This was followed by a review (the Bailey Review) and a consultation by UKCCIS. By 2013 there had already been considerable adoption of in-home filtering, with 43% of homes with children aged 5–15 having filters installed on their family computer. Nevertheless, Prime Minister David Cameron made it clear in July 2013 that his aim was to ensure that by the end of 2013 all ISPs would have a filtering system in place. As a result all four major ISPs (TalkTalk, Sky and BT) began applying default filtering to new customers in 2013 with Virgin doing so in February 2014. Default filtering of existing customers will be implemented by all four major ISPs during 2014 with the aim of ensuring that the system applies to 95% of all households by the end of the year.
TalkTalk already had content-control software available to comply with government requirements. Their HomeSafe internet filtering system was introduced in May 2011 as an opt-in product and was used for default filtering of new customers from March 2012. HomeSafe was praised by Cameron and is controlled and operated by the Chinese company Huawei. Other ISPs had to commission new filtering systems to fulfil Government demands. Some smaller ISPs expressed their reluctance to take part in filtering, citing concerns over costs and civil liberties but the government stated: "We expect the smaller ISPs to follow the lead being set by the larger providers". Cameron said ISPs should choose their own preferred technical solution, but would be monitored to ensure filtering was done correctly.
In July 2014 Ofcom released their report into the filter implementations and effectiveness across the fixed line ISPs. At that point take-up figures were low for BT (5%), Sky (8%) and Virgin (4%) but higher for TalkTalk (36%).
Although these arrangements are voluntary, legislation to enforce them has not been ruled out. In fact, Cameron announced such legislation in July 2013. However, default filtering was rejected at the September 2013 conference of the Liberal Democrats (the Coalition Government's minor partner) making Government legislation unlikely before the next UK general election in 2015. A private members bill requiring ISPs, mobile phone operators and equipment manufacturers to filter adult content was introduced into the House of Lords in May 2012 by Baroness Howe of Idlicote. The Online Safety Bill has been criticised for its potential to block any service that appears to provide adult material unless it is on an Ofcom-approved list. Although the bill is unlikely to succeed due to a lack of Government support, its measures may appear in a future Government Communications Bill. The opposition Labour Party has stated that, if elected in 2015, it will legislate to introduce mandatory filters based on BBFC ratings if it believes that voluntary filtering by ISPs has failed.
The Washington Post described the UK's ISP filtering systems as creating "some of the strictest curbs on pornography in the Western world". There is no public scrutiny of the filtering lists. This creates the potential for them to be expanded to stifle dissent for political ends, as has happened in some other countries. Cameron has insisted that Internet users will have the option to turn the filters off, but no legislation exists to ensure that option will remain available.
After filtering was introduced at the end of 2013 there was widescale criticism of inadvertent 'overblocking'. Legitimate sites are regularly blocked by the filters of some UK ISPs and mobile operators. Furthermore, the identification of overblocked sites is made more difficult by the fact that ISPs do not provide checking tools to allow website owners to determine whether their site is being blocked. When the Open Rights Group launched their independent checking tool in July 2014 it was discovered that 19% of 100,000 popularly-visited websites were being blocked (with significant variation between ISPs) although the percentage of sites hosting legal pornographic material is thought to be around 4%.
Examples of overblocked categories reported include:
- sex education and advice on sexual health
- help with sex and pornography addiction
- support services for rape and domestic abuse
- child protection services
- suicide prevention
- parliament, government and politicians
- drug advice
New Statesman magazine observed that such overblocking means “the most vulnerable people in society are the most likely to be cut off from the help they need”. In December 2013 the UK Council for Child Internet Safety met with ISPs, charities, representatives from government, the BBFC and mobile phone operators to seek ways to reduce the blocking of educational advice for young people. In January 2014 UKCCIS began constructing a whitelist of the charity-run educational sites for children that had been overblocked. The intention is to provide the list to ISPs to allow unblocking.
Significant underblocking has also been discovered, with ISPs failing to block up to 7% of adult sites tested. A study commissioned by the European Commission's Safer Internet Programme which tested parental control tools showed that underblocking for adult content ranged from 5-35%.
Proponents of internet filtering are in favor of it primarily to combat the early sexualisation of children. The government believes that "broadband providers should consider automatically blocking sex sites, with individuals being required to opt in to receive them, rather than opt out and use the available computer parental controls." In 2010 communications minister Ed Vaizey was quoted as saying, "This is a very serious matter. I think it is very important that it's the ISPs that come up with solutions to protect children."
In March 2014, president Diane Duke of the United States based Free Speech Coalition argued against the censorship rules at a London conference sponsored by Virgin Media. The discussion was titled "Switched on Families: Does the Online World Make Good Things Happen?". The panel included government representatives such as Member of Parliament Claire Perry, members of the press, and supporters of an open Internet such representatives from the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, the Family Online Safety Institute, and Big Brother Watch. A report on the meeting was printed in The Guardian on Wednesday, March 5. Duke was quoted as saying, "The filters Prime Minister Cameron supports block sexual health sites, they block domestic violence sites, they block gay and lesbian sites, they block information about eating disorders and a lot of information to which it's crucial young people have access. Rather than protect children from things like bullying and online predators, these filters leave children in the dark."
In July 2013 an Open Rights Group consultation indicated that a number of content categories would be blocked. However of these, no indication of blocking of either 'anorexia and eating disorder websites' or 'esoteric material' has been detected.
|Category||TalkTalk Homesafe||BT Family Protection||Sky Broadband Shield||Virgin Media Web Safe|
|Dating||(Default) Dating||(Light) Dating||(13) Dating||Possibly not due to dating.virginmedia.com|
|Drugs||(Default) Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco||(Light) Drugs||(13) Drugs and Criminal Skills||Drugs|
|Alcohol and Tobacco||(Default) Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco||(Light) Alcohol & Tobacco|
|File sharing||File Sharing Sites||(Strict) File Sharing||(13) Anonymizers, Filesharing and Hacking|
|Gambling||(Default) Gambling||(Moderate) Gambling||Not blocked due to Sky Betting and Gaming division||Probably not blocked due to Virgin Gaming division|
|(PG) Online Gaming|
|Pornography||(Default) Pornography||(Light) Pornography||(13) Pornography and Adult||Pornography|
|Social networking and Web forums||Social Networking
|(Moderate) Social Networking
|(PG) Social Networking||Not blocked|
|Suicide and Self-harm||(Default) Suicide and Self Harm||(Light) Hate and Self-harm||(13) Suicide and Self Harm||Self-harm and Suicide|
|Weapons and violence||(Default) Weapons and Violence||(Moderate) Weapons and Violence||(13) Weapons, Violence, Gore and Hate||Violence|
|Obscenity||(Light) Obscene and Tasteless|
|Criminal Skills||(Light) Obscene and Tasteless||(13) Drugs and Criminal Skills||Crime|
|Hate||(Light) Hate and Self-harm||(13) Weapons, Violence, Gore and Hate||Hate|
|Media Streaming||(Strict) Media Streaming|
|Fashion and Beauty||(Strict) Fashion and Beauty|
|Gore||(Light) Obscene and Tasteless||(13) Weapons, Violence, Gore and Hate|
|Cyberbullying||Not blocked||No||(13) Cyber Bullying|
|Hacking||(Light) Obscene and Tasteless||(13) Anonymizers, Filesharing and Hacking||Hacking|
|School Cheating Sites||(Custom) Homework Time|
Gay and Lesbian Lifestyle
|(Custom) Sex Education|
|Search Engines||(Custom) Search Engines and Portals|
|(Optional) Phishing, Malware and Spyware||Virus Alerts||(18) Phishing, Malware and Spyware|
|Web-blocking circumvention tools||When any filtering enabled||(13) Anonymizers, Filesharing and Hacking|
Mobile Internet blocking
UK mobile phone operators began filtering Internet content in 2004 when Ofcom published a "UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles". This provided a means of classifying mobile Internet content to enable consistency in filtering. All major UK operators now voluntarily filter content by default. Nevertheless, in October 2014 it was reported that Ministers were drafting legislation to compel mobile operators to block access to adult sites unless users prove they are aged 18 or over.
When users try to access blocked content they are redirected to a warning page. This tells them that they are not able to access an 'over 18 status' Internet site and a filtering mechanism has restricted their access. Categories that are listed as blocked include: adult / sexually explicit, chat, criminal skills, drugs, alcohol and tobacco, gambling, hacking, hate, personal and dating, violence, and weapons. Users who are adults may have the block lifted on request.
Guidelines published by the Independent Mobile Classification Body were used by mobile operators to classify sites until the British Board of Film Classification took over responsibility in 2013. Classification determines whether content is suitable for customers under 18 years old. The default assumption is that a user is under 18.
The following content types must be blocked from under 18's:
- Suicide, Self-harm, Pro-Anorexia and eating disorders
- Discriminatory language
- Encouragement of Drug Use
- Repeated / aggressive use of 'cunt'
- Pornography Restrictions
- Violence and Gore restrictions
Significant overblocking of Internet sites by mobile operators is reported, including the blocking of political satire, feminism and gay content. Research by the Open Rights Group highlighted the widespread nature of unjustified site blocking. In 2011 the group set up Blocked.org.uk, a website allowing the reporting of sites and services that are 'blocked' on their mobile network. The website received hundreds of reports of the blocking of sites covering blogs, business, internet privacy and internet forums across multiple networks. The Open Rights Group also demonstrated that correcting the erroneous blocking of innocent sites can be difficult. No UK mobile operator provides an on-line tool for identifying blocked websites. The O2 Website status checker was available until the end of 2013 but was suspended in December after it had been widely used to determine the extent of overblocking by O2. Not only were civil liberties and computing sites being blocked, but also Childline, the NSPCC, the Police. An additional opt-in whitelist service aimed at users under 12 years is provided by O2. The service only allows access to websites on a list of categories deemed suitable for that age group.
Internet Watch Foundation
Between 2004 and 2006, BT Group introduced its Cleanfeed content blocking system technology to implement 'section 97A' orders. BT spokesman Jon Carter described Cleanfeed's function as "to block access to illegal Web sites that are listed by the Internet Watch Foundation", and described it as essentially a server hosting a filter that checked requested URLs for Web sites on the IWF list, and returning an error message of "Web site not found" for positive matches. Cleanfeed is a silent content filtering system, which means that Internet users cannot ascertain whether they are being regulated by Cleanfeed, experiencing connection failures, or if the page really does not exist. The proportion of Internet Service Providers using Cleanfeed by the beginning of 2006 was 80% and this rose to 95% by the middle of 2008. In February 2009, the Government said that it was looking at ways to cover the final 5%.
According to a small-sample survey conducted in 2008 by Nikolaos Koumartzis, an MA researcher at London College of Communication, the vast majority of UK based Internet users (90.21%) were unaware of the existence of Cleanfeed software. Moreover, nearly two thirds of the participants did not trust British Telecommunications or the IWF to be responsible for a silent censorship system in the UK. A majority would prefer to see a message stating that a given site was blocked and to have access to a form for unblocking a given site.
Cleanfeed originally targeted only alleged child sexual abuse content identified by the Internet Watch Foundation. However, no safeguards exist to stop the secret list of blocked sites being extended to include sites unrelated to child pornography. This had led to criticism of Cleanfeed's lack of transparency which gives it considerable potential for broad censorship. Further, Cleanfeed has been used to block access to copyright-infringing websites after a court order in 2011 required BT to block access to NewzBin2. This has led some to describe Cleanfeed as the most perfectly invisible censorship mechanism ever invented and to liken its powers of censorship to those employed currently by China. There are risks that increasing Internet regulation will lead the Internet to be even more restricted in the future.
On 5 December 2008 the IWF system blacklisted a Wikipedia article on the Scorpions album Virgin Killer. A statement by the organisation's spokesman alleged that the album cover, displayed in the article, contained "a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18". Users of major ISPs, including Virgin Media, Be/O2/Telefónica, EasyNet/UK Online, Demon and Opal, were unable to access the content, despite the album cover being available unfiltered on other major sites including Amazon.co.uk, and available for sale in the UK. The system also started proxying users, who accessed any Wikipedia article, via a minimal number of servers, which resulted in site administrators having to block them from editing Wikipedia or creating accounts. On 9 December, the IWF removed the article from its blacklist, stating: "IWF's overriding objective is to minimise the availability of indecent images of children on the Internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect."
The vast majority of the Internet access provided by Wi-Fi systems in public places in the UK is filtered with many sites being blocked. The filtering is done voluntarily by the six largest providers of public Wi-Fi: Arqiva, BT, Sky, Nomad Digital, Virgin and O2, who together are responsible for 90% public Wi-Fi. The filtering was introduced as a result of an agreement put in place in November 2013 between the Government and the Wi-Fi providers. Pressure from the Government and the UK Council for Child Internet Safety had already led Virgin and O2 to install filtering on the Wi-Fi systems on the London Underground and McDonald's restaurants, but half of all public Wi-Fi networks remained unfiltered in September 2013.
"Overblocking" is a problem reported with public Wi-Fi filters. Research in September 2013 indicated that poorly-programmed filters blocked sites when a prohibited tag appeared coincidentally within an unrelated word. Religious sites were blocked by nearly half of public Wi-Fi filters and sex education sites were blocked by one third. In November 2013, there were complaints about the blocking of Gay websites that were not related to sex or nudity on the public Wi-Fi provided by train operating companies. The filtering was done by third party organisations and these were criticised for being both unidentified and unaccountable. Such blocking may breach the Equality Act 2010. The government arranged for the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to investigate whether filters were blocking advice to young people in areas such as sex education.
Libraries and educational institutions
Many libraries in the UK such as the British Library and local authority public libraries apply filters to Internet access. Some public libraries block Payday loan websites and Lambeth Council has called for other public Wi-fi providers to block these sites too.
The majority of schools and colleges use filters to block access to sites which contain adult material, gambling and sites which contain malware. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are often filtered by schools. Some universities also block access to sites containing a variety of material. Many students often use proxy servers to bypass this. Schools often censor pupils' Internet access in order to offer some protection against various perceived threats such as cyber-bullying and the perceived risk of grooming by paedophiles; as well as to maintain pupil attention during IT lessons. Examples of overblocking exist in the school context. For instance, in February 2014 the website of the Yes Scotland pro-independence campaign was blocked in a Glasgow school while the rival Better Together pro-union website was not blocked.
The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, which was set up in 2010 by the Association of Chief Police Officers and run by the Metropolitan Police Service, issues removal requests for Internet content hosted in the UK that in their opinion incites or glorifies terrorist acts under Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2006.
The December 2013 report of the Prime Minister's Extremism task force proposed that where such material is hosted overseas, ISPs should block the websites. This approach has been criticised for being extra-parliamentary and extrajudicial and for being a proactive process where authorities actively seek out material to ban. Additionally, concerns have been expressed by ISPs and freedom of speech advocates that these measures could lead to the censorship of content that is “extremist” but not illegal. Indeed, the United Kingdom security minister James Brokenshire said in March 2014 that the government should also deal with material "that may not be illegal but certainly is unsavoury and may not be the sort of material that people would want to see or receive".
The CTIRU's provides its block list of sites and content provided to the public estate institutions. David Cameron has ordered this list be extended to UK ISPs through a body similar to the Internet Watch Foundation
Device level mandated blocking
In September 2014 as a proposed addition to UK legislation against revenge porn, Geraint Davies MP proposed mandating devices that can access the Internet be filtered by default at the threat of fining non-compliant manufacturers.
whereby if mobile phones, computers and other devices that have access to the internet are not sold in a default position without that access—that is, if the user has to switch it on or contact the supplier—we could fine the manufacturers
Social media and communications
On 11 August 2011, following the widespread riots in England, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that Theresa May, the Home secretary, would meet with executives of the Web companies Facebook and Twitter, as well as Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, to discuss possible measures to prevent troublemakers from using social media and other digital communications tools. During a special debate on the riots, Mr. Cameron told Parliament:
Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality”.
Critics say that the British government is considering policies similar to those it has criticized in totalitarian and one-party states. And in the immediate aftermath of the riots, Iran, often criticized by the West for restricting the Internet and curbing free speech, offered to "send a human rights delegation to Britain to study human rights violations in the country".
On 25 August 2011 British officials and representatives of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry met privately to discuss voluntary ways to limit or restrict the use of social media to combat crime and periods of civil unrest. The government is seeking ways to crack down on networks being used for criminal behavior, but is not seeking any additional powers and has no intention of restricting Internet services. It was not clear what new measures, if any, would be taken as a result of the meeting.
A service provider will integrate some or all its feeds into a single filtering device or stack, sometimes in conjunction with an upstream provider performing additional filtering. The following content-control technologies have been confirmed to be used to implement all types of web blocking (includes virtual operators):
|BT||Broadband and Infinity||Cleanfeed||Nominum|
|BT Wifi Protect||Symantec Rulespace|
|BSkyB||The Cloud Public Wifi||Sonicwall|
|Sky Broadband||Mohawk||Sky Shield
Symantec Rulespace via Xerocole
( Formally Arbor)
|Hutchison 3G||3 Mobile|
|Nomad Digital||Public transport Wifi|
|TalkTalk Group||TalkTalk Broadband||Detica||Huawei||Service Inspection Gateway (SIG)|
|Telefónica UK||O2 Broadband and Mobile||Symantec Rulespace||StreamShield by Detica|
|Virgin Media||Virgin Media Broadband||Web Blocker 2||Web Safe
|Web Blocker 2|
|Virgin Media and EE||London Underground Wifi||Nominum|
|Vodafone Mobile||Vodafone Mobile||Symantec Rulespace|
By feed type
|Corporate filtering (most possible)||SSL enabled deep packet inspection with URI blocking
IP address blocking
|Child abuse image content list
Extremist material blocking (proposed)
Default ISP filters (BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk)
Mobile Internet filtering
Wifi hotspot filtering
Library and educational filtering
|Deep packet inspection with URI Blocking
IP address blocking
|Technical threat blocking||Database built via deep packet inspection
IP address blocking
|Copyright infringement site blocking||IP address blocking
|Default ISP filters (Sky)||DNS hijacking|
Internet service providers
The Internet Service Provider Andrews and Arnold does not censor any of its Internet connection all its broadband packages guarantee a 12 month notice should it start to censor any of its traffic.
Open Rights Group
The Open Rights Group has been highly critical of the blocking programmes, especially mobile blocking and ISP default blocking. In July 2014 they launched blocked.org.uk, a revamp of their mobile blocking site to report details of blocking on different fixed line ISPs.
Child abuse image content list
Due to the proxy server implementation of the IWF's child abuse image content list (formally Cleanfeed) system, websites that filter users by IP address, such as wikis and file lockers, will be significantly broken, even if only a tiny proportion of its content is flagged.
In response to the increasing number of file sharing related blocks, a number of proxy aggregator sites, e.g. torrentproxies.com, have become popular. In addition to the following, proxy sites designed to circumvent blocks have been secretly blocked by ISPs, driving users to proxy comparison sites. The Pirate Bay created a version of Tor branded as the PirateBrowser specifically to encourage anonymity and circumvention of these blocks. On August 5th 2014, City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit arrested a 20 year old man in Nottingham on suspicion of operating a proxy server that allowed internet users to bypass blocks on many popular sites. 
ISP default network blocking
- Child abuse image content list - System formally known as Cleanfeed
- Content-control software
- Internet censorship
- Internet censorship in the United Kingdom
- List of content-control software
- Websites blocked in the United Kingdom
- Ward, Mark. "UK government tackles wrongly-blocked websites". BBC. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Curtis, Sophie. "'Go Away Cameron' browser extension bypasses UK porn filters". Telegraph. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Grossman, Wendy. "Hadrian's Firewall: UK's New Internet Filter or Censor?". Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- Nock, Ian D. "Great Firewall of Britain". Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- Gibbs, Sam (13 July 2013). "The Great Firewall of Cameron Won't Just Block Porn". Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- McIntyre, TJ. "Child Abuse images and Cleanfeeds: Assessing Internet Blocking Systems". Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet: 5. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- Killock, Jim. "ORG asks court for web blocking documents". Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- "Thinkbroadband broadband-factsheet-q1-2014.pdf".
- "What mobile internet filtering tells us about porn blocks", Open rights Group, 31 May 2013.
- "£25m campaign to protect child safety on the internet". ITV News. 16 Nov 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Porn, knives and drugs websites accessible on most public Wi-Fi". The Guardian. 25 September 2013.
- "TalkTalk HomeSafe". TalkTalk. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- Fiveash, Kelly (29 November 2013). "UK.gov's web filtering mission creep: Now it plans to block 'extremist' websites". The Register.
- "Ministers will order ISPs to block terrorist and extremist websites", Juliette Garside, The Guardian, 27 November 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Jowitt, Tom. "UK Government Prepares To Block Extremist Websites". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Dunn, John E. "UK Government tries whitelisting system to stop ISP 'pornwall' false positives". Techworld. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "More Laws Proposed To Enforce Censorship – Now At A Device Level". https://survivetheclaireperryinter.net/. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
- IWF: Incitement to racial hatred removed from IWF’s remit, 11 April 2011
- Andy (14 December 2013). "How YIFY-Torrents is Battling the Internet Censors". Torrentfreak. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "451 unavailable - Site blocked for legal reasons", Open Rights Group. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- "Open Rights Group revives 'unavailable for legal reasons' HTTP error code plan", Simon Sharwood, The Register, 16 August 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2013.
- RevK. "Section 97A orders". Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "ORG asks court for web blocking documents". Open Rights Group. 19 July 2013.
- Liat Clark (29 October 2013). "Pirate cull: UK court orders ISPs to block 21 file-sharing sites". Wired.co.uk (Condé Nast UK). Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Andrew Orlowski (22 September 2011). "Brit ISPs shift toward rapid pirate website blocking". The Register.
- Mark Jackson (15 August 2013). "Open Rights Group UK Pushes for ISP Website Blocking Orders to be Public". ISP Review. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Mark Jackson (15 August 2013). "Sky and Other UK ISPs Finally Fix Crystal Palace FC and RadioTimes Block". ISP Review. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- "Rights-holders taking down legitimate sites in piracy crackdown". PC PRO. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Film-makers seek injunction to block pirate site". BBC News. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
- Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios Productions LLLP, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Disney Enterprises, Inc., Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. v British Telecommunications PLC  EWHC 1981 (Ch) (28–29 June 2011 with further written submissions: 15, 19 July 2011), High Court (England and Wales)
- "BBC News - BT ordered to block links to Newzbin 2 website". BBC. 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "UK ISP BT Given 14 Days To Block Newzbin2". TorrentFreak. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- Sweney, Mark (26 October 2011). "BT ordered to block Newzbin2 filesharing site within 14 days". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- "Search Clinic – Court orders BT to censor Newzbin website". Searchclinic.org. 2011-08-02. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
- "Error - site blocked", Screenshot of error message from browser, i.imgur.com. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- "Newzbin client aims to circumvent BT blocking". ZD Net. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
- "Newzbin claims BT block 'not working'". BBC News. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- Nicole Kobie (16 Dec 2011). "Sky blocks Newzbin over copyright claim". PC Pro. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Mark Jackson (14 August 2012). "UK ISP Virgin Media Finally Blocks the Newzbin Internet Piracy Website". ISP Review. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- "Pirate Bay must be blocked, High Court tells ISPs", Matt Warman, The Telegraph, 30 April 2012
- "The Pirate Bay cut off from millions of Virgin Media customers", Christopher Williams, The Telegraph, 3 May 2012
- "The Pirate Bay 'breaches' BT's ban of the filesharing site", BBC News, 22 June 2012
- Lee, Dave (10 December 2012). "Pirate Party threatened with legal action over Pirate Bay proxy". BBC News. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
The UK's music industry body is set to take the Pirate Party UK to court in a dispute over offering access to banned site The Pirate Bay.
- Lee, Dave (29 November 2012). "Music industry group BPI demands pirate proxy closure". BBC News. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
The UK's music industry body is demanding that a service offering a workaround to access banned site The Pirate Bay is shut down by its owner.
- "Small proportion of web users responsible for majority of illegal downloads". IT PRO. 12 September 2013.
- Little, Trevor. "Landmark judgment handed down in dispute between Richemont and ISPs". Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "Parents asked if adult websites should be blocked". Department for Education and Home Office Press release. 28 June 2012.
- "Internet porn block 'not possible' say ISPs", BBC News, 20 December 2010. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
- Nick Farrell (17 Dec 2013). "Cameron started his purge on the net today". Tech Eye. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "The Coalition: our programme for government". p. 20. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
- "Letting Children Be Children: report of an independent review of the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood". Government Publications. 6 June 2011.
- "Child internet safety: Parental internet controls consultation". Department for Education. 28 February 2013.
- Griffiths, Sarah (4 October 2013). "Nearly 60% of parents have no online filters in place on their family computer to protect their children". Mail Online. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- Shubber, Kadhim (16 June 2013). "ISPs to include porn filters as default in the UK by 2014". Ars Technica. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
- "BT default 'porn filter' switched on". BBCNews. 16 December 2013.
- Miranda Prynne (28 Nov 2013). "Nine out of ten homes to have porn filters within two months". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Shona Ghosh (28 Feb 2014). "Virgin rolls out network-level filter". PC Pro.
- James Chapman (16 November 2013). "Blocks on internet porn to begin in new year: 20million families will have to make a Yes or No choice on access to filth". Mail Online. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- "Child protection web filters 'kept on' under new rules". ITV News. 16 Nov 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Chinese firm Huawei controls net filter praised by PM", David Lee, BBC News, 25 July 2013.
- "Smaller ISPs refuse Cameron's calls for porn filters". PC Pro. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Government wants default blocking to hit small ISPs", Open Rights Group, 31 July 2013.
- Fiveash, Kelly (22 July 2014). "Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them". The Register. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- "Online pornography to be blocked automatically, PM announces". BBC News. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- Chapman, James (21 July 2013). "Net porn block on EVERY home: Victory for the Mail as PM pledges 'opt in' rule for all web users". Daily Mail. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- "Pornography online: Lib Dems reject 'opt in' system". BBC News. 15 September 2013.
- "Online Safety Bill [HL] 2013-14". www.parliament.uk. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Alert: Parliament Considers UK Internet Block-List". Sex & Censorship. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Strong support for Online Safety Bill but Government fails to give its support". www.care.org.uk. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Gerri Peev (10 January 2014). "Lib Dems vow to block porn filters". Mail Online. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- "Britain’s harsh crackdown on Internet porn prompts free-speech debate". Washington Post. 28 September 2013.
- Ryan W. Neal (26 November 2013). "UK Internet Censorship: David Cameron Says Government Will Block 'Extremist' Websites". International Business Times. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
- "Q&A: UK filters on legal pornography". BBC news. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Jerry Barnett (6 February 2014). "O2 and the Lack of Internet Filter Transparency". Sex & Censorship. Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- James Vincent (2 July 2014). "One in five sites blocked by the UK's over-zealous 'pornography filters'". The Independent.
- Mike Deri Smith (18 December 2013). "Porn filters block sex education websites". BBC News. Retrieved 19 December 2013.
- Nick Farrell (27 December 2013). "Cameron's internet filter a disaster". Tech Eye. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Burrell, Ian (23 December 2013). "O2 changes porn filter after charity sites blocked". The Independent.
- Martin Robbins (23 December 2013). "Cameron's internet filter goes far beyond porn - and that was always the plan". New Statesman. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- James Vincent (19 December 2013). "Abuse support and sex education sites blocked by ISP's 'porn filters'". The Independent.
- Julia Hӧrnle (27 January 2014). "Protecting children from hardcore adult content online". Oxford University Press Blog. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- Caroline Davies "Broadband firms urged to block sex websites to protect children", The Guardian, 19 December 2010
- "MP calls for pornography 'opt-in' to protect children", BBC News, 23 November 2010
- Staff. "FSC's Duke Argues Against Censorship at UK Roundtable". Adult Video News. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Moorhead, Joanna. "How do we keep our children safe online? Do family-friendly filters on computers offer one click to safety, or are more wide-ranging education programmes for children – and, perhaps more importantly, parents – needed?". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- Killock, Jim. "Sleepwalking into censorship". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- Killock, Jim. "Getting TalkTalk's filter categories right". Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "What types of websites are blocked?". Talktalk. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
- "Blocking categories on Parental Controls". Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "Sky Broadband Shield explained". Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "All about Web Safe". Virgin Media. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Sky Broadband Shield and blocking gambling sites?". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- "Child safe mode doesn’t stop regular social sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from being displayed".
- "Does Kids Safe prevent, or warn children or parents against Cyber-bullying". Retrieved 27 April 2014.
- "How can BT Parental Controls help me to keep my children safe from Cyberbullying?". Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- Fiveash, Kelly (20 December 2013). "Parents can hide abortion, contraception advice from kids thanks to BT's SEX-ED web block". The Register. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Jivanda, Tomas (20 December 2013). "BT Internet filter gives parents option to block 'gay and lesbian lifestyle' content". The Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Fiveash, Kelly (17 December 2013). "No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too". The Register. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles", Office of Communications (Ofcom). Retrieved 2 December 2013.[dead link]
- Matt Chorley (26 October 2014). "Porn websites to be forced to check users are over 18". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- Content Blocked, BT.com Support & Advice, January 2004.
- "What is classification? " Mobile Content". British Board of Film Classification Website. British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- "What is classification?" Mobile Content" Framework". Retrieved 23 December 2013.
- Willard Foxton (30 December 2013). "Smartphone operators are censoring satire, feminism and homosexuality as 'mature content'. Is that what we want?". The Telegraph.
- Ed Paton Williams (30 July 2013). "A quick guide to Cameron's default Internet filters". Open rights Group.
- "Mobile Internet censorship: what's happening and what we can do about it". Open Rights Group. 14 May 2012. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Donnelly, Caroline (14 May 2012). "Open Rights Group urges mobile censorship rethink". IT Pro. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- "O2 Website status checker". O2. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Jackson, Mark (28 May 2013). "O2 UK Accused of Political Censorship by Male Human Rights Websites". ISP Preview. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- Killock, Jim (24 December 2013). "O2 pulls blocked URL checker as wave of new customers activate their phones". Open Rights Group Blog. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Fiveash, Kelly (23 December 2013). "BT tweaks WORDING of sex-ed web block after complaints". The Register. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
- Peter N. M. Hansteen (22 December 2013). "The UK "Porn" Filter Blocks Kids' Access To Tech, Civil Liberties Websites". That Grumpy BSD Guy.
- Benjamin Cohen (23 December 2013). "O2 filter blocks children from Stonewall, BBC News, Conservative and Downing Street websites". Pink News. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- Paul Goggins (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) Commons, 13 February 2006 col. 1130 Internet (child pornography)
- "richemont Judgement". http://www.bailii.org/. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- "How net providers stop child porn", BBC News, 7 February 2006. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
- Arnfield, Robin (20 July 2004). "BT Technology Blocks Online Pornography". NewsFactor Network.
- "IWF/BT Project Cleanfeed", Internet Watch Foundation. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
- Vernon Coaker (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office) Written Answer, 16 June 2008 col. 684W Pornography: Internet
- "Online child abuse images warning". BBC News. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- Koumartzis, Nikolaos (October 2008). "BT's CleanFeed and Online Censorship in UK". Nikolaos Koumartzis. London College of Communication(University of the Arts London). Retrieved 28 January 2010.
- Professor Lilian Edwards, University of Southampton (September 2006). "From child porn to China, in one Cleanfeed". SCRIPT-ed 3 (3): 174–175. doi:10.2966/scrip.030306.174. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Bill Thompson (11 June 2004). "Doubts over web filtering plans". BBC News. Retrieved 19 May 2006.
- "The end of the internet?". BBC News. 14 September 2000. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
- "Wikipedia page censored in the UK for 'child pornography' ", The Guardian, 8 December 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Johnson, Bobbie (8 December 2008). "Wikipedia falls foul of British censors". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 5 May 2010.
- "Brit ISPs censor Wikipedia over 'child porn' album cover: Virgin Killer births mass edit ban", Cade Metz and John Ozimek, The Register, 7 December 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "UK ISPs switch on mass Wikipedia censorship", Rupert Goodwins, ZDNet UK, 7 December 2008.
- "IWF backs down on Wiki censorship". BBC News. 9 December 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
- "Nominum blocks adult content on Virgin Media's Tube Wi-Fi network". Cable.co.uk. 17 July 2012.
- "McDonald's Free WiFi". McDonald's Website.
- Sophie Curtis (12 Dec 2013). "One in three public WiFi hotspots block sex education sites". The Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- Jane Fae, Tris Reid-Smith (12 November 2013). "The secret censorship stopping you seeing gay websites". Gay Star News. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "British Library's wi-fi service blocks 'violent' Hamlet". BBC News. 13 August 2013.
- "Do we want a perfectly filtered world?", Louise Cooke, Lecturer, Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, November 2006.[dead link]
- Short, Adrian (3 April 2014). "Should public libraries block payday loan websites?". Pirate Party UK.
- Oakes, Omar (28 August 2013). "Block access to payday loans on public internet, Lambeth Council urges". Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Daniel Payne. "Categories of websites blocked by UK universities". Figshare. doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.1106875 (inactive 2014-11-09). Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- BBC - Newsbeat - Pupils 'bypassing school internet security'
- Mark Lester (23 February 2014). "Yes Scotland web site blocked by Internet filters in Scottish school". The Drum. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- "Government sets deadline for universal network-level content blocking", LINX, 29 May 2006. Retrieved 29 May 2006.
- "Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit". Open Rights Group. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit". The Association of Chief Police Officers. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
- Peter Bradwell (28 November 2013). "Government touts backroom deals to block extremist websites". Open Rights Group. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Liat Clark (15 March 2014). "UK gov wants 'unsavoury' web content censored". Wired UK.
- Garside, Juliette (27 November 2013). "Ministers will order ISPs to block terrorist and extremist websites". Guardian. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
- Wintour, Patrick (14 November 2014). "UK ISPs to introduce jihadi and terror content reporting button". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- "Cameron Exploring Crackdown on Social Media After Riots", Eric Pfanner, New York Times, 11 August 2011
- "Reaction to Cameron’s plans for social media crackdown", Marta Cooper, Free Speech Blog, Index on Censorship, 11 August 2011
- "Iran Asks to Send Human Rights Rapporteurs to Britain", Fars News Agency (FNA), 9 August 2011
- "In Britain, a Meeting on Limiting Social Media", Ravi Somaiya, New York Times, 25 August 2011
- "Government backs down on plan to shut Twitter and Facebook in crises", Josh Halliday, Guardian, 25 August 2011
- Fiveash, Kelly (17 Dec 2013). "No anon pr0n for you: BT's network-level 'smut' filters will catch proxy servers too". The Register. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "BT Wi-fi Protect". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Content Filtering FAQs". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Dunn, John. "Sky launches broadband filtering of porn, violence and hate". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "The Pirate Bay/AMF B1047-008 docs 076N". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Ghosh, Shona (7 February 2014). "Web blocking: 12 Symantec staff review 2,000 sites a day". PC Pro. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "The Pirate Bay/AMF B1047-008 docs 079N". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Porn blocking: WiFi providers sign agreement, but filter content already". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "The Pirate Bay/AMF B1047-008 docs 077N". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "The Pirate Bay/AMF B1047-008 docs 084N". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Ghosh, Shona (28 February 2014). "Virgin rolls out network-level filter". PC Pro. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "The Pirate Bay/AMF B1047-008 docs 080N". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "WiFi now live at first Tube stations". Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Williams, Christopher. "TalkTalk turns StalkStalk to build malware blocker". Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Cellan-Jones, Rory (15 July 2013). "Leaked letter shows ISPs and government at war". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
- Stone, Jon (14 May 2014). "U.K. Government Willing To Block EU Net Neutrality Deal". buzzfeed. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- Cowburn, Pam. "ORG's Blocked project finds almost 1 in 5 sites are blocked by filters". Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- " 'Site Blocking' to reduce online copyright infringement: A review of sections 17 and 18 of the Digital Economy Act", Office of Communications (Ofcom), 27 May 2010. "Circumvention of a block is technically a relatively trivial matter irrespective of which of the techniques used" (page 51). Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "How to Unblock Websites For Free and Why it Feels Good", TorrentFreak, 24 November 2013. Retrieved 25 November 2013.[third-party source needed]
- "Six UK ISP’s block a Wikipedia article locking out Wikipedia edits", Paul Nikkel, BitterWallet, 7 December 2008. "Anonymous editing from your Internet Provider is disabled, please log in." Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Internet Watch Foundation - Unintended_effects
- "Sky Broadband Starts Blocking Pirate Bay Proxies", Torrent Freak, 3 June 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "UK ISPs Secretly Start Blocking Torrent Site Proxies". Torrentfreak. June 11, 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "Blocked sites". Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "How The Pirate Bay Plans to Beat Censorship For Good". Torrentfreak. 5 January 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
|last1=in Authors list (help)
- "Piracy police arrest Nottingham man, 20". BBC. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "‘Go away Cameron!’ Browser extension bypasses UK govt’s porn filter". Russia Today. 24 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.
- Bob Johnson (19 February 2014). "'Jerky' Smartphone Browser Lets Users Bypass U.K. Porn Filters". X Biz.