Why Is The UK Blocking Access To Sites Without Any Hearings?
from the extremely-questionable dept
We already wrote about the UK court letting the BPI decide what sites the court would order all UK ISPs to block access to, but as more details come out about the process, the scarier it is. As Duke noted in our comments, the whole process lacked any sort of due process:
For those interested the full judgment is here: EMI Records Ltd & Ors v British Sky Broadcasting Ltd & Ors  EWHC 379 (Ch)
The law is a bit worrying (I haven’t read it in that much detail but I think it goes slightly further than previous ones) – the main concern is that, again, there was no hearing, no defence, no cross-examination of evidence etc.. Without seeing the witness statements I can’t be sure, but I think the judge just accepted everything the BPI had to say at face value.
That’s not justice – not in an adversarial court system.
The Open Rights Group (ORG) in the UK has quite reasonably expressed its concern about how such blockades are likely to stifle speech, especially when there is no one allowed to argue against the blocking.
We are concerned that these orders are not protecting speech, are overblocking forums and discussion, and are prone to error as the actual block lists are private.
Furthermore, users and the public interest have not been represented in the processes
It amazes me that anyone thinks it’s reasonable to shut down a site without any sort of due process in the form of an adversarial hearing, in which multiple sides can be presented. The opportunity for widespread abuse and the stifling of free expression is massive.