“Having public Wi-Fi filters is just as important in protecting young people as restrictions such as modesty covers on adult magazines,” says Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT, Plymouth Business School.
“But these results show that filtering solutions are not all equally effective.
Hotspots in public spaces again filtered the most - blocking 60% of sites.
The research also found that it was much more common for locations to ask for personal details before allowing access to hidden word sites.
Filters need to protect users from inappropriate content without restricting them from accessing harmless content that they have every right to view.” The investigation also uncovered the ‘hidden word problem’ where web addresses were blocked by filters because the text contains a sequence of letters shared with an obscene word.
34% of sites including an inappropriate hidden word, such as the site, were prohibited.
“We should apply the same rules to online as we do in real life.With filters becoming increasingly sophisticated and flexible this is now possible.“While it’s encouraging that businesses have filters in place to protect users from inappropriate content, these results show a heavy-handed approach to filtering,” says Graeme Coffey, Vice President Product Strategy and Business Development at Adaptive Mobile.“Businesses offering free Wi-Fi are providing a service and if it’s ineffective it could damage their reputation and make customers go elsewhere.” Mystery shoppers in London, Manchester and Birmingham attempted to access a range of websites in hotspots in public spaces, cafes, restaurants, retail sites and hotels.London, 12 December 2013 – An investigation led by mobile security leader Adaptive Mobile has found that users trying to access harmless websites through free Wi-Fi hotspots, including sex education and religious sites, found the content blocked.
Adaptive Mobile examined Wi-Fi filtering measures across the UK and found that 34% of hotspots blocked sex education websites, such as .