Our probes tried to visit your site via each mobile and home-broadband network we monitor, but instead of returning the page as normal, some or all of the ISPs sent a page telling us their filters have blocked the site.
Each test line is configured with its default level of filtering. The results you're seeing are what the Government would like each ISP to nudge their customers into using.
If you're seeing a lot of timeouts it could be that the site you're testing uses TLS with Perfect Forward Secrecy. This increases the length of time between requesting the site and its content being returned. We're looking into tweaking our probes to detect this and allow a little longer for the test.
BT's blocking is a bit of a blunt instrument - if you try to connect to a site that is blocked using HTTPS, you'll get a timeout. The proxy server that their DNS hijacking directs your request to doesn't respond on port 443.
Unfortunately, no. At the moment, we've chosen the “default” choice for filters on ISP networks. Some ISPs allow account-holders to filter much, much more. Hopefully we will be able to test for stricter filters in the future. We also can’t test all filters everywhere, as many people are on private networks. We hope to get more information about filters in schools, workplaces, libraries and on public wifi networks in the future.
As of October 2016, we are having problems with our Three probe. Three only provide filtering on their mobile network, while our probes work best using data SIMs. We hope to resolve this as soon as possible.
You will see results from EE where these had been created before we took our EE probe offline.
The filtering settings on your network might be different to those we've configured on our test lines. Here are some other possible explanations :
If we're monitoring that network then our probe might be offline or under heavy load. Please try again later.
You can subscribe to updates about a website when making a check via the form, but we only make intermittent checks. We can make much more regular checks, but this would likely to raise our costs. Contact us if this would be useful to you.
We are always very willing to bulk test data. We can take submissions through our API or via CSV files. Everything we test usually becomes available under our published data. Get in touch with us.
If you have access to a filtering system you want tested, contact us so we can arrange to run a probe to run tests.
Yes, you can download the full dataset from our licence page.
Yes. The government estate (schools and hospitals, for instance) blocks what they believe to be "extremist material." UK courts have ordered blocks on some websites that enable copyright infringement. A handful of URLs are blocked by members of the Internet Watch Foundation for containing child abuse material.
EE, O2, TalkTalk and Vodafone all came with their default "adult content" filters enabled by default. The following ISPs provided no filtering by default: 3, Andrews & Arnold, BT Broadband, Plusnet, Sky Broadband and Virgin Media.
Before we launched the site we tested the top 100,000 sites (as ranked by Alexa at the time) on each of the networks we monitor. We found that just under 19% of these were blocked on at least one network.
We have test lines from 3, Andrews & Arnold, BT Broadband, Everything Everywhere, O2, Plusnet, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone.
Andrews & Arnold sponsor this project. They also offer only unfiltered connections so they are a yardstick against which to compare other providers.
We chose BT Broadband, Plusnet, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media because these are the ISPs the Government has pressured into agreeing to install “active choice” adult-content filters for new and existing customers. Together they provide over 90% of UK home broadband connections (according to the thinkbroadband UK Broadband Factsheet, Q1 2014, P3).
We chose 3, EE, O2 and Vodafone because these are the only licensed Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the UK. All have default-on filters. Other companies such as GiffGaff, Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOs. The MVNOs all use the infrastructure of one of the four MNOs to provide their service. As part of this, we believe they also inherit the parent service's filtering infrastructure, though they can choose whether to make this available to their customers. So MVNOs either have no filtering or the same filtering as one of the MNOs. That means we can cover the entire UK mobile market by monitoring just the four MNOs. Wikipedia has a list of UK MVNOs and the MNO that provides service to each.
Andrews & Arnold do not offer filtering so we couldn't enable any.
BT Broadband filtering is set to "light", which they say blocks the following categories:
PlusNet do not offer network-level filtering so we couldn't enable any. We have enabled "Safe Surf" and "Broadband Firewall" though.
Sky Broadband filtering is set to "13" which they say is "suitable for teenagers and above". They say this blocks the following categories:
TalkTalk KidSafe is enabled. We have also enabled "Virus Alerts". The categories they say KidSafe blocks are:
Virgin Media's parental controls are set to "on".
We asked 3 to enable adult-content filtering. They said they'd try but it might not work. 3 switched off default filtering for contract data-SIMs in March 2011.
Everything Everywhere's Content Lock product is enabled.
O2 block "18+ rated websites" by default. This is enabled.
Vodafone Content Control is enabled.
The probes look for the messages that ISPs return instead of the page you asked for when they've blocked a site. If a probe doesn't see a "page blocked" message, and there was no error, then it assumes what was returned is the normal version of the site and reports "OK". This might mean we're missing some forms of censorship, or might start to do so if an ISP changes its "blocked page" message. If you think that's happening please contact us and let us know.
User submitted sites are checked straight away and the results are normally available within a few seconds.
We send user-submitted URLs, and the Alexa 100k top-ranked sites, to a re-check queue at a rate of 4800 per day (in last-checked order). User-submitted URLs must be more than seven days old to be requeued. With the current database contents, this means we re-check the entire list every 20 days. Re-check URLs go to a different queue from real-time user submissions so they don't get in the way of your results being returned.
Please see the credits page.
See the get involved page for practical ways you can help, such as analysis, coding, campaigning and joining ORG.
We have plans to allow this in future. Right now we're developing a few different probes, including an Android app, a GNU/Linux command-liine probe and integration with ooniprobe. We'd also like to build a browser extension. If you want to help with any of these projects please take a look at our get involved page.
Yes. our code is Free software and we would be very willing to help you set up your own version, or collaborate on a central repository. Ooni from Tor is also Free software and we are working on integrating it with our system. Please contact us if you want to explore further.