Sky Broadband Shield

Sky Broadband Shield is the DNS-based adult content filter available on Sky Broadband from November 2013. It uses site classification supplied by Symantec[1] using Xerocole technology[2].

A July 2014 report[3] by Ofcom put the take-up when offered to new customers at 8%.

Default on

Previously new accounts were asked to enable filters durning setup, from July 2016 all new accounts will have the filter applied automatically and will have the opportunity to switch it off the first time they access a filtered site.[4]

From some point in 2015 existing customers (that have not explicitly requested to have it disabled) would have be asked to make a choice about filtering if they attempted to access a page unsuitable for under-13s[5] and then at some point in 2016 any accounts that have not made this choice will have filters automatically applied.

Overblocking

Sky previously provided a link for reporting incorrect categorisation from the blocked page, but this required a sky.com login to complete. Sky's head of policy, Adam Kinsley, said ISPs would eventually make it easier for site owners to report accidental blocks.[6]

Sky now advertises[7] a contact email address crsupport@bskyb.com for reporting categorisation issues.

Notable overblocking

  • 2014-01-26 - code.jquery.com was categorised as "Phishing/Malware" inadvertently breaking many thousands of websites that are dependent on access to this domain to load the jQuery code.[8]

Filtering categories

Blocking categories for Sky Broadband Shield
Category PG 13 18
Online Gaming X
Social Networking X
Cyber Bullying X X
Pornography and Adult X X
Suicide and Self Harm X X
Weapons, Violence, Gore and Hate X X
Anonymizers, Filesharing and Hacking X X
Drugs and Criminal Skills X X
Dating X X
Phishing, Malware and Spyware X X X

Source Sky Broadband Shield explained

Links

References

  1. Sky's reply to ORG on default internet filters, ORG, 2013-11-15. "To ensure that only relevant websites are within these defined categories, we have worked with the technology firm Symantec."
  2. Internet Service Providers: Network level filtering measures, Ofcom, 2014-07-22 - page 4
  3. Ofcom Report on Internet safety measures - Internet Service Providers: Network level filtering measures
  4. Sky Broadband Shield has moved to "default on", Sky 2016-07-06
  5. Sky Broadband Shield – rolling out to all our customers, Sky, 2015-01-20
  6. Perry: ISP filter overblocking reports are "fanciful", PC Pro, 2014-01-29
  7. Contact us - Report miscategorised website
  8. Sky parental controls break jquery website, thinkbroadband, 2014-01-26