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  • luiesenandersen

    Website blocking measures lead to inadvertent censorship

    SOURCE:
    openrightsgroup.org/blog/2013/sky-torren..

    A technical decision made by Sky in implementing website blocking has lead to the blocking of news site TorrentFreak

    TorrentFreak reports today that Sky is currently blocking access to their site. Not as a deliberate act of censorship, but as an entirely predictable by-product of its system for complying with court-ordered website blocks.

    When the owner of EZTV (a site ordered blocked on the 25th of July) automatically pointed UK visitors to torrentfreak.com, Sky's blocking system (which from court documents we believe to be codenamed "Hawkeye") apparently automatically added TorrentFreak's IP address to its blacklist.

    Inadvertent denial-of-service by pointing DNS records at innocent third-parties is an entirely predictable possibility for anyone attempting to implement blocking systems. If this explanation for blocking proves to be the case, we'd be extremely surprised if the possibility had not occurred to the engineers responsible.

    Open Rights Group continues our call for more transparency in the ways these blocks are performed, including access to the orders that would presumably limit the legal scope of blocking. If merely blocking the handful of sites that have received blocking orders in the past 12 months results in collateral damage (such as the blocking of promobay.org) we hold little confidence in the ISPs being able to implement David Cameron's default network filtering plans without causing significant disruption.
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