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ISPs switching to 'opt in' system for pornography

If you want to view adult content online, you'll have to opt in, according to a deal agreed today by the four biggest ISPs.

If you want to view adult content online, you'll have to alert your ISP, under a new deal to be announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, the Guardian reports. But it's not as simple as that: the 'opt-in' deal only applies to new subscribers, so if you already have your broadband package sorted, and you're quite happy with it, it's business as usual.

The biggest four ISPs -- BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media -- have agreed to the deal. BT says it will remind its existing subscribers of the parental controls it already offers.

Exactly how it'll work -- what form the opt-in will take, who decides what qualifies as 'adult content', or how it'll avoid sites that merely mention sex, such as sexual health charities -- is yet to be announced, but it follows David Cameron's meeting with Mothers' Union, a Christian charity.

The group's chief executive, Reg Bailey, led a review with the Department of Education into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children. Known as the Bailey Report, it suggested a host of proposals to protect children from sexualised imagery.

A website called ParentPort has also been set up as a one-stop shop for parents to voice their concerns about TV shows, adverts, websites, or any product or service. So, just about anything then.

The four ISPs released a statement saying they "have worked closely with government and a range of stakeholders to swiftly introduce measures addressing recommendations set out in the Bailey Report."

TalkTalk already offers a HomeSafe service, protecting all devices used on the internet connection including home computers, laptops, smart phones and tablets. Parents can choose from blocking suicide and self-harm sites, violence and weapons, dating, gambling and file-sharing sites.

David Cameron said in a letter to Reg Bailey in June: "As you say, we should not try and wrap children up in cotton wool or simply throw our hands up and accept the world as it is. Instead, we should look to put 'the brakes on an unthinking drift towards ever greater commercialisation and sexualisation'."

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