TalkTalk's Internet Security Service, 'HomeSafe,' Fails

Seems like Talk Talk's vision of blocking children's access to pornography and self-harm sites has undergone a massive failure.

Talk Talk launched this "ground breaking" service, dubbed HomeSafe, amidst rising concerns of children accessing pornographic and other potentially harmful materials found on the Web.

But now it seems like the effort by the company was simply not enough to ensure safe browsing for children as there are many loopholes in HomeSafe, according to feedback of many concerned parents and experts.

HomeSafe not only fails to achieve its goals, but could also breach user privacy. HomeSafe may also deploy some technologies related to the Chinese military.

"I doubt that malware distributors will see this [HomeSafe] as much of a challenge. The system is described as 'opt in', [but] that only applies to whether or not websites you visit might be blocked," Dr. Richard Clayton, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge, stated in a blog post, the Guardian reports.

"What is not "opt in" is whether or not TalkTalk learns the details of the URLs [websites] that all their customers visit, whether they have opted in or not," he added.

In response, spokesman for TalkTalk, Malcolm Munro, stated, "As the only network-level filter in the UK, Talk Talk's HomeSafe is the most effective way of protecting children from content that parents consider harmful. HomeSafe is a very significant step in the right direction towards making the Internet safer for children, but it does not replace the need for parental supervision."

"We have not set targets for the take up of HomeSafe, but with more than 200,000 people already using the new service, we believe this is a very positive start and we recommend that more parents do use this free service to help make the web much safer for their children," he added.