Page last updated at 23:11 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 00:11 UK

Film classification takes to the web

Reporter Zoe Kleinman talks to Working Lunch's Declan Curry about internet filters.

An internet service provider offering web filtering that uses the same classification certificates as the UK film industry has launched.

It is the first time that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has teamed up with an ISP.

Parents select the filter level they require - U, PG, 12, 15 or 18 - on behalf of their children.

The ISP, Tibboh, uses internet filter technology such as Netsweeper to classify websites.

It is currently only available as a 3G mobile internet service. Users need a dongle to access Tibboh, and they can register various profiles for different family members.

However each user must be connected via the dongle in order to access their profile, and it will not over-ride existing wireless or cable broadband connections.

There is a monthly charge of £19.99 for the service, which has a 15 gigabyte data limit.

YouTube has been deemed suitable for children over the age of 12.


According to Tibboh's ratings social networks Facebook and Twitter and search engines Google and Bing are given a "12" rating.

"Search engines are great but at the "U" and "PG" level we found so many results and sponsored links that were inappropriate," said Tibboh MD Phil Dawson.

Facebook and Twitter's own guidelines state that they are not suitable for under 12s, he added.

News websites including the BBC, the Telegraph and the Guardian along with computer giants Apple and Microsoft have a "U" certificate, meaning they are suitable for all.

Sky and Virginmedia however are rated PG, along with web browser Mozilla.

Blogging hosts Blogger and Wordpress are given a "15" rating.

Tibboh claims that the filtering technology it uses has already classified about three billion websites.

Those on the most restrictive filters (PG and below) will be unable to access sites that have not been classified, while those on the "18" level may find that access is banned after a particular site has been screened.

Tibboh believes that its staggered classification system offers a more personalised internet experience than conventional net filters, many of which are available for free.

"What's suitable for a 17 year old is not suitable for an 8 year old," commented chief executive Martin Large.

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