UK ISPs Now Filtering Websites That Simply List BitTorrent Proxy Websites, But Don't Host Any Infringing Content Whatsoever

from the is this real life? dept

It’s almost as if the UK is trying to be a shining example of the “slippery slope” we often refer to when talking about the dangers of filtering the Internet. Either that, or they’re secretly creating absurdist art. Whether it’s the government’s porn filter architect getting arrested for child porn, the UK’s filters blocking useful and entirely legal websites, or the desire to expand Internet filters to include ambiguously defined “extremist content,” the UK has finally achieved high comedy with its stumbling, bumbling foray into trying to clean up the Internet of its naughty bits.

With the country’s Pirate Bay filters going so well (as in not really well at all), the UK is engaged in a heated game of whac-a-mole to stop users from accessing the Pirate Bay specifically and BitTorrent websites in general. Despite years of effort and expenditures it remains relatively simple for most UK residents to dodge these bans, quite often by either changing simple DNS settings or by using a proxy server. The Pirate Bay has made it easier by often switching IP addresses, and when that doesn’t work, users can still access the website via dedicated proxy sites. UK ISPs were already being forced to filter these proxy sites.

Now, in an added wrinkle, UK ISPs have started filtering websites that simply list these proxy websites. That’s right, for good measure ISPs are now filtering websites that simply list other websites, but host no copyrighted material themselves whatsoever:

“Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk, piratebayproxylist.com and ukbay.org. Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit…TF spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who’s baffled by the newly implemented blockade. He moved his site to a new domain to make the site accessible again, for the time being at least.

“The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP’s to get away with,” Dan says. “UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites, that link to sites, that link to sites.. there’l be nothing left,” he adds.”

The filters include websites like piratebayproxy.co.uk, which features BitTorrent related news but also happens to list available proxies in a sidebar. What’s next? A filter on the websites that list the websites that list the websites that offer proxy access to BitTorrent websites? Maybe for good measure UK ISPs should start filtering forums where you can discuss even so much as thinking about piracy just to be safe? It makes one wonder: when does a slippery slope stop being a slippery slope — and just become an outright waterfall?

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Comments on “UK ISPs Now Filtering Websites That Simply List BitTorrent Proxy Websites, But Don't Host Any Infringing Content Whatsoever”

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37 Comments
Anonymoussays:

Re: Finally!

Nah, Google is always something special because in my opinion without Google politicans can’t find the internet everyone is talking about.

Oh and if you think Google doesn’t host stuff directly try to search Youtube for “full movie” and maybe set the filter option duration to long or do it on Google direcly and go to the videos tab.

limbodogsays:

Prediction

Within the next dozen or so years, a commission of copyright maximalists will determine what websites you may view. This will be done in relative secrecy, much like the MPAA, under the guise of “protecting our children.” Websites that do not receive a pass from this commission will be branded as unfit, and automatically filtered by Comcast, the one internet provider in the USA.

Betcha $1.

PaulTsays:

Re: GoDaddy *again*

So? The filter is implemented by UK ISPs and ordered to some degree by the UK government. They’re still available elsewhere, with GoDaddy happily servicing the pages.

GoDaddy have no involvement here, apart from them being used to register and/or host the domain. Which isn’t surprising since, whether you like it or not, they’re still one of the largest hosting & domain providers in the world.

I understand being suspicious of GoDaddy for many reasons. but let’s keep criticisms to things they’ve actually done.

Anonymoussays:

and yet another step towards the entertainment industries achieving what they originally set out to do, gaining control of the internet. and before everyone shouts me down, up til now everything they have done has gotten them closer to what they want. with basically the word ‘TORRENT’ ensuring that a website is blocked and them now going after the complete blocking of domain names, what else is left for them to go after? not very much, really. almost every government and every court, whether bribed or not, have gone on to the entertainment industries side. the biggest reason why they have managed to get that is simply the laxidasical attitude everyone had when the industries first started their campaigns. starting with ‘small fry’ getting wins and blocks put in place and securing fines, expenses and then prison sentences, moving on to biugger things wasto be expected. that move gave them more power and moreexcuse for courts to do as they wanted. and again, it was the thought that ‘oh, they wont go after that’ but they did. then it was ‘phew! they left us alone’, only to find that the ‘left alone’ was the next on the list. and basically, at no time did any of those with the finances and the power stand up to them, so we have the shit situation we have now! and in all honestly, we bloody well deserve it! if the net is lost completely as i am sure it will be, it will be our own fault and when it gets turned into a distribution platform for Hollywood etc and torrent files are the dogs bollocks of a file transfer protocol rather than what they call the worse thing invented ever, and the industries can charge what they like for downloading a movie or an album and every other website is only allowed up if the industries say so, after paying them a fee, of course, everyone can then think to themselves what fucking morons we were to not fight like we did over ACTA and other deals!!

JP Jonessays:

Re: Re: Re: Step 1:

You can’t block TOR from a technical standpoint (that’s half the purpose) but you can certainly arrest/drone strike anyone running an exit node. That’s the great thing about governments…they aren’t limited by pesky “technical limitations” and “morals,” they can just arrest or murder anyone who doesn’t conform.

And hey, you won’t know about it because you lost access to TOR. Everybody wins! (What losers? There are no losers…)

Anonymoussays:

When the new trade agreement comes into force ,any site
that has links to so called secret corporate info ,will
likely get blocked ,
or site that has data released by whistleblowers on large corporations that avoid paying tax .
or like hsbc enabled large scale tax avoidance .

secret corporate info could be almost anything,
eg a company that broke safety rules that caused an oil
spill or train crash or factory accidents .

Andrewsays:

Government

Goverment is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex, as Zappa said. But now also the sales and marketing division too – working not for the people it’s supposed to represent but the arms, pharma, agri, media (propaganda) businesses that actually own and run it. While we all believe we actually have a choice in anything more than who’s simply running the division this term.

Jam mansays:

It's unfounded and the UK knows it

Thing is, the EU Court of Justice declared hyperlinking to infringing content is not infringing. IANAL, but I would think that this easily extends to hyperlinking to the PirateBay or proxies of such.

So this seems to be a pretty clear attack on speech since they are knowingly censoring websites that are almost certainly inculpable.

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