Sky (aka BSkyB aka British Sky Broadcasting) is a pay-TV operator in the UK. It operates the ISP Sky Broadband.

  • Purchased Easynet in 2005 (sold in 2010)
  • Transfer of subscribers of Be Broadband and O2 Broadband from Telefonica UK in 2013.[1]
  • A Sky mobile phone network to be operated by Telefonica UK from 2016.

It has been owned by US telecommunications company Comcast since October 2018.

Network filtering

Parental controls

Sky unveiled a DNS-based parental control system "Sky Broadband Shield" in November 2013, which by default blocks access to sites deemed unsuitable for children under 18.

Court-ordered blocking

According to court documents ordering a block of The Pirate Bay, Sky Broadband's active network filtering system known as Mohawk was inherited from Easynet in 2006 [2], and is presumably similar to BT's Cleanfeed deployment for IWF blocks. Its implementation of the Pirate Bay block seems to be to open a connection to a server but to not return any data or an explanatory error page.

A second system, Hawkeye, was deployed in 2011 for implementing Section 97A blocks. A "six figure sum" was spent on its development.

Both Mohawk and Hawkeye are separate from the Broadband Shield parental blocking system.

Its implementation has been found to be prone to over blocking beyond the presumed terms of the court orders, resulting in news site TorrentFreak being blocked in August 2013[3] and file-hosting site Imgur being blocked in December 2013[4].

In April 2015 it was reported[5] that Sky's implementation of the blocking orders was also inadvertently blocking sites that share IP addresses with restricted sites, such as those hosted by Cloudflare.

Network monitoring

In July 2018, Sky revealed that it proactively looks for pirate sites by continuously uploading users NetFlow traffic information to Google Cloud and using BigQuery to identify suspect sites.[6]

In 2021, it was reported[7] that Sky uses a system, codenamed RedBeard, to compile a list of IP addresses that customers are receiving the most traffic from (currently during sporting events), and providing it to anti-piracy companies.

Data Protection

External Links