Majority favour internet filters

February 21, 2013, 4:17 PM GMT+0

A majority of Britons favour opt-in internet filters but if they were brought in, almost half of men would choose to opt-out.

Over half (54%) of the public think they should be allowed to choose whether or not to opt into an internet filtering service, a YouGov survey commissioned by the Sun shows. The survey follows news that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in some countries may be forced to offer filtering services that automatically block pornographic sites from people’s home web browsers. The poll finds 38% of Britons believe all online services should be filtered and customers should proactively opt-out.

Gender differences

The poll reveals significant gender differences, with women being almost twice as likely to opt into an internet filtering service than men. Nearly half (47%) of British men would opt out of services that blocked pornographic content.

  • Almost three-quarters (74%) of women in Britain would choose to have a filtering service that would block pornographic material from their browser, compared to 38% of men who say the same
  • A plurality (47%) of men say they would opt out of any filtering service that prevented access to pornographic content, while only 15% of women would do the same

Civil liberties

Public opinion is closely divided over whether a government decision to introduce opt-out filters on the internet would infringe on people’s civil liberties. While 46% think filters would infringe on civil liberties, 45% believe they wouldn’t.

Parental responsibilities

Meanwhile, three quarters (74%) believe it’s up to parents to ensure children are not exposed to unsuitable content. One in six (16%) think responsibility lies with ISPs, 4% believe the issue rests with website owners and 3% think the government is accountable.

See the full survey details and results