In a move which perhaps puts their online content on a similar level of priority to their TV output, UK satellite broadcasters Sky have revealed their latest update to the Sky Broadband platform, one which initiates a new set of ‘parental controls’ for restricting content and websites available to younger members of a household.
The new update, called ‘Sky Shield’, enables ‘account holders’ to set limited access to content under three different ‘certificated categories’ (‘under 13′ (PG), ’13+’ (13), and ‘adults only’ (18)). A fourth option for the service allows customers to ‘customise filters’ with a individual blocks on 10 different programming categories that relate to ‘adult content’ to enable triggers based on genre or the ‘offending feature’ involved, whilst also being able to manually create exceptions for specific content within a genre.
Lyssa McGowan, Sky Broadband‘s director, summarised: “Protecting customers from inappropriate content in the digital world is something Sky has always taken extremely seriously. Sky has already played a leading role in protecting Sky homes from inappropriate content, as we know that’s what our customers expect of Sky. Now we’re going one step further by offering our customers great new technology which means they can feel confident that all their devices in the home are protected. Sky Broadband Shield is a brilliantly simple tool that allows customers to easily choose how much of the internet to let into their homes.”
Set to appear as a default switch-on in 2014, users will be required to unset the Sky Broadband Shield once it is activated if not needed or wanted, under recent guidelines offered by Prime Minister David Cameron earlier in 2013. However, it will not be removed completely with the intent of malware protection being offered at even the most basic switched-off level, but for Sky customers will this enforced update be seen as a greater invasion of their privacy, or will the guideline-following initiative help online content and its users to avoid controversy?