The vast majority of UK internet users have opted out of the government-backed “porn filter”, which arbitrarily censors the open internet.

The industry watchdog Ofcom found that overall less than 15% of households installed the internet filters offered by BT, Sky, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media.

In July 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK’s major internet service providers (ISPs) had agreed to implement opt-out internet filters, which the Daily Mail described as a “victory”.

The filters, dubbed the Great Firewall of Britain, were not only designed to block adult content, but also material related to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and opinions deemed “politically extremist”.

A number of publications, including this one, commented that not only was an opt-out internet filter a slippery slope towards censorship, but also that internet filters simply do not work. If someone is intent of getting around the filters, they can through VPNs, proxies, and other tools.

Filters also regularly wrongly classify websites, which would leave sex education websites blocked as pornography, and mental health websites blocked for discussing suicide.

It appears these warnings were heeded by the British public who have overwhelmingly decided against installing the filters when offered a choice, with only TalkTalk managing an uptake rate of over eight percent.

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