Do you find you can’t access certain streaming sites?
Are you not getting any links in your Kodi Add-ons?
Are you not able to access certain repositories?
The main cause for this is your ISP blocking you.
What is ISP Blocking?
For several years now many of the UK’s broadband service providers (ISPs) have been filtering and blocking web sites, limiting access to content that’s deemed sexually explicit, violent or dangerous.
This filtering stems from the government’s 2010 manifesto, in which it stated an intention to protect children from harmful web sites.
Since 2013 all new customers to the four biggest ISPs – along with many of the smaller providers – were automatically opted in to web filtering. In 2014 this was extended to all existing subscribers too. If you haven’t previously chosen to opt out of the filtering, it’s likely your connection will be affected.
Controlling the filters for BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media broadband
Each ISP has its own name for the filter, and the choice of settings varies too. Below is a brief guide to the web filters for some of the most popular ISPs; if yours is not listed check the online help pages or contact support for more information.
At this time not all ISPs offer filtering. While the government put pressure on providers to implement this system, it is not a legal requirement and many smaller companies have yet to comply.
- To access BT Parental Controls you will need your BT ID and password. Login in to My BT and navigate to the Parental Controls panel.You can choose from pre-set filter levels of Light, Moderate and Strict, or customise the blocked categories. BT Parental Controls also offer a timer, homework settings and black/whitelisting.When faced with a blocked site the BT Parental Controls give anyone with access to the BT account the option of overriding the filter for one hour, or permanently whitelisting the site.
- To configure Sky Broadband Shield visit https://broadbandshield.sky.co.uk and login with your Sky ID account.Sky uses age ratings to control the filter level. You can choose from PG, 13 and 18 filter levels, however unlike others there is no custom filter settings. 18 is recommended for adults as it permits all content except for phishing and malware pages which pose a security threat.Sky also offers a watershed option which automatically switches to the 18 filter at set times, and you can manually block or allow specific sites.
- TalkTalk’s HomeSafe filter is accessed via your TalkTalk account page.TalkTalk’s “Kid Safe” filter does not use pre-set groups like Sky or BT, instead you’re given the option to select from nine specific categories to block. It has a “homework time” option too, which blocks gaming and social media during the chosen time period.You can also blacklist and whitelist particular web sites if they are not covered by the filter or you wish for them to be excluded from blocking.
- Login to your My Virgin Media account and click My Apps then Web Safe.Virgin offers two different types of filter: Virus Safe and Child Safe. The Child Safe filter offers the ability to block groups of sites by category, configure blocking for specific web sites and has a timer to disable and enable the filter automatically.Virus Safe is designed to protect against malicious sites. This can provide a useful extra layer of security, but it is still important to have anti-virus software.
Web filtering on mobile broadband and mobile phones
It’s not just fixed line home broadband that uses web site filtering, mobile networks also censor content online. In fact mobile networks were way ahead of the game and began web blocking in 2004, following Ofcom’s publication of the UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles.
The mobile networks do not utilise the same blocks as home providers. Mobile operators use guidelines developed by the BBFC which classifies sites on a similar basis to an 18-rated film – filtering out sexually explicit, gory, violent, and drug related content.
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