Department of Dirty porn filter
A new Open Rights Group campaign highlights the shortcomings of web filters introduced by the UK government.ORG

A new campaign has been launched that ridicules the UK government's efforts to introduce "child-friendly" web filters through internet service providers (ISPs).

The Department of Dirty, whose remit is to "clean up online filth", was unveiled by the Open Rights Group after legitimate websites were revealed to have been caught up in filters put in place by BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.

"Companies and charities moan that they get blocked by filters but frankly it's just the price we have to pay for a safe and clean internet," the satirical site explains.

"These so-called websites must be too small and frankly unimportant, or maybe they should move from Essex, Sussex and Scunthorpe?"

A tool created by the Open Rights Group to check whether websites are blocked by filters currently lists over 26,000 popular websites affected by the filters. These include the drug-education site Talk to Frank, poverty charity South London Refugee Association and Girl Guides Essex.

"We hope that the Department of Dirty will raise awareness not only of how filters overblock content but also the ridiculous notion that we can solve social problems by banning the internet," Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group, told IBTimes UK.

"We think it would be better if the government focused on educating children about safe internet use rather than in promoting filters take up."

A recent Ofcom report found the vast majority of UK web users were opting out of the web filters when instructed to choose by their ISPs.

Despite Prime Minister David Cameron's claim that they are vital to protect "our children and their innocence", fewer than one in seven households have installed the feature.

In a section labelled 'Kids Safety', the Department of Dirty states: "Kids always do what their parents tell them. They would never try to get around a filter, or share things on USB sticks.

"So if we switch on filters, we won't have to talk to our kids about all those tricky subjects. What a lifesaver!"