independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Canterbury Cathedral blocks porn on wifi network

Canterbury Cathedral. Thinkstock Images
Canterbury Cathedral. Thinkstock Images

Canterbury Cathedral has a newly opened café, and with it a brand new wifi network. But where there is public wifi, there are fears people might use it to access 'unholy' content.

Speaking to The Independent, the cathedral's press officer, Christopher Robinson explained that with the opening of the café, the cathedral had wanted to offer wifi as part of the service to their customers. "We installed the blocks in order to make sure no access to pornography or 'anti-Christian' activity could take place on the network.

"This is a place of worship, and so we expect people to act accordingly," he went on to add. The measures were taken preventively, rather than as a direct response to any particular accident.

"We are happy to offer wifi as part of our service to customers, but we want to make sure this can be done in a family-friendly environment."

As part of its lease agreements, the cathedral stipulates the grounds should not be used for anything "anti-Christian", although Christopher Robinson was quick to reassure they have not had any issues in the past.

In November last year, Chester Cathedral took down their public network after a local news story by Chester Chronicle found pornographic content could be accessed through the cathedral's wifi. The network soon returned, with added blocks and filters to stop explicit content from being accessed in the future.

"We had not had any incidents before that news story, but following its publication we added filters and blocks to the network to restrict access to pornography and gambling websites.

"Of course, people could still access pornography through 3G on their phones or tablets. We cannot stop them from doing that. But this is a place of worship and we expect people to behave accordingly," a press officer to The Independent.

Research conducted by Adaptive Mobile, a mobile security company, and published in September 2013 found that over half of free wifi hotspots in the country did not have blocks in place, allowing users to access adult content. It also found 30 per cent of UK cafés and restaurants had no filtering in place to prevent children accessing pornography.

Canterbury Cathedral's café opened on 18 February and is situated near Christ Church Gate, a historic entrance into the cathedral. This is the first year-round café the cathedral has ever had. The aptly named Cathedral Café is run by the cathedral, and profits it makes will go toward the maintenance of the building.

On the cathedral's website, the café's manager, Olei Leclerq, is quoted as saying: "Canterbury Cathedral has a tradition of visitor welcome that reaches back to the days of medieval pilgrimage and we look forward to extending this hospitality to our new customers."

 

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