Dear BT

Dear BT,

As you may know, I’m kind of against internet filtering anyway. Like many others, I share concerns about blocking important resources about sexuality and sex, and think it’s vital that children are able to access information about what options are available to them, and what is and isn’t OK. It’s vital that this information is available.

We’ve all heard horror stories about sex education sites being inadvertently blocked as porn, due to false positives on filtering. This is, of course, terrible. What’s worse, though, is that you’ve actively set up Sex Education as a category in your parental controls. That’s pretty iffy in and of itself, and gets much grosser when we look at exactly what you’ve explicitly decided to give parents the option to block:

Sex Education will block sites where the main purpose is to provide information on subjects such as respect for a partner, abortion, gay and lesbian lifestyle, contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

I’ve got some news for you, BT. This is really, really important information that young people need to access. This is information that keeps them safe from abuse–information about what is and isn’t OK. Respect for a partner is something vital that young people need to know about.

About the only way what you’re doing is OK is if you’re using your filters as a red flag list for spotting potentially abusive families. Are you trying to find out what sort of parent would block their children from knowing about respect, so you can help get their kids out of that situation?


I thought not.

Basically, BT, I didn’t think much of you to begin with, and I certainly don’t think much of you now. Your priorities in what information you want to help block are really, really fucking skewed.

No love,


P.S. Terms like “gay and lesbian lifestyle” are homophobic dogwhistles, you pile of skidmarked Y-fronts.

Edit 22/12/13: I note you’ve now reworded, BT. But are you still blocking all of this vital information? If so, all of this still stands.

9 thoughts on “Dear BT”

  1. Both the education system and the internet seem to have very skewed priorities, the consequences of which could be nothing short of detrimental.

    Clearly for young people, if they are to properly exist as adults in the real world, they need to have the necessary information about how the world works. That way they can make rational, independent decisions on what they need to do. This means having access to information about sex and sexuality, drugs, legal rights and responsibilities, etc.

    But the schooling system and internet seem desperate to prevent young people from accessing that information. They’d rather give them open access to content that is not directly useful to the real world. Or, worse, information that is harmful to them, such as corporate consumer propaganda.

    It’s certainly not just sexuality that gets effected by this. Just think about legal studies. Clearly, if a young person gets arrested by the police, they need to what their rights and responsibilities are, so as to avoid unpleasant situations. It’s a must that they have access to information that is directly relevant to their lives. And yet, in high school, the information students are provided has nothing to do with real world events, but instead involves abstract, legal questions and parliamentary procedures.

    Clearly, no matter who you are or what you choose to do with your life, having the information to understand how STIs, abortion and homosexuality operate and exists is mandatory. These are real things that take place in the real world, and any serious adult needs to know about them in order to function properly in society. This has nothing to do with what ideas you have in your head or what decision you make, but just as a sheer minimum to get a sense of what the world is about.

      1. And O2 calling your blog a “hate site” is defamatory. Contact them noting this.

        (I have gotten blogs unblocked from filters by noting that the labeling in question is prima facie defamation in the UK.)

  2. Shitty though this is, they are at least being explicit rather than pretending only to block porn, and calling blocked non-porn sex-related sites “false positives”. Not saying it’s good, but it’s much easier to call them out on it when they’re not hiding it.

    They’re either stupid or shameless. I suspect both.

  3. They seem to have a lot of difficulty distinguishing between ‘promotion’ and discussion, etc. Even if there’s a lot of debate to be had about what sort of lifestyle (if any) parents should promote for their children, it’s pretty much impossible to practically do so without even mentioning the alternatives, e.g. you’re not going to dissuade them from smoking by pretending that the practice doesn’t exist.

  4. BT need to realise that the kids know way more about getting around automated ‘parental blocks’ than their parents or BT. What’s needed is parental supervision/guidance.

  5. What exactly is a gay and lesbian lifestyle ? Is it any different to a straight lifestyle and in what way ? The term lifestyle implies choice. Does that pertain to just the lifestyle itself or being gay and / or lesbian too ? Is it implying that one chooses to be gay and / or lesbian ? What ridiculous nonsense. No one chooses their sexual orientation no more than they do their eye colour. It is a phrase used by homophobes that is for sure. No such thing. The only thing all gays and / or lesbians have in common is that they are gay and / or lesbian. Nothing else. No more no less. End of

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