Free parental control software in France

By EDRi · April 12, 2006

As a result of the agreement signed between the French ISPs and the Ministry
of the Family on 16 November 2005, starting with 1 April 2006, most of the
ISPs started providing a free of charge parental control software to their

The agreement signed between ISPs and the French authorities has followed
strong protests relayed in the media, after EDRi-member IRIS unveiled in
September 2005 the intention of the government to impose by law “by default”
filtering by ISPs for the purpose of parental control. After this, the
intentions of the government have been downsized excluding ” by default”
parental control installed by the ISP. The current agreement still raises
many concerns, especially since no real information is provided on the
software and its criteria.

Starting with 1 April 2006 new subscribers will have the software included
in the connection kit with a window opening automatically on the software.
Previous complaints addressed the lack of simple access to such kind of
software as well as to their insufficient efficiency.

For the old subscribers, the ISPs will develop an information campaign
through e-mails, newsletters and on their home pages and those interested
will be able to get the software from their access provider’s site.

Several providers are already in the position to provide the software while
others are on the point of perfecting their parental control system.
Providers like AOL, already advanced in this direction, can ensure various
profiles according the child’s age, with semantic filtering, more efficient
than the URL filtering systems. Other providers like Wanadoo are clearly
asking any new subscriber, when installing the connection kit, whether the
filtering software should be installed or not.

As regards to the software it seems that many ISPs are using the one
developed (and updated with lists) by a Spanish company, Optenet.
This company has signed a contract with the French Ministry of Education
last April.

Meryem Marzouki from EDRi-member IRIS notes that “very little information is
provided to the user about who chooses the predefined white and black lists,
according to which criteria etc. Also, no information is provided on the
“plain language” analysis of websites, which are neither on white lists nor
on black lists. ”

The ISPs filter more the Internet (in French only, 4.04.2006)

Mandatory and free of charge parental control on the Internet (in French
only, 16.11.2005)

Automatic filtering of contents : the moral order toughens (in French only,