UK Web Filtering Blocks Access To Website Of Europe's Largest And Oldest Hacking Community
from the always-broken...-always dept
The “Great Firewall of Britain” claims another victim. “Voluntary” (as in: under the threat of legislation) internet filtering by ISPs has blocked UK citizens from connecting to the website of one of the oldest computer hacking groups in existence.
Last Friday, Germany’s Chaos Computer Club posted this statement.
A significant portion of British citizens are currently blocked from accessing the Chaos Computer Club’s (CCC) website. On top of that, Vodafone customers are blocked from accessing the ticket sale to this year’s Chaos Communication Congress (31C3).
The post goes on to note that while these filters are faulty and suffer from overbroad content flagging, they can be easily bypassed simply by using the site’s IP address: 188.8.131.52. It also points out that this blockage could possibly be deliberate, rather than due to the inherent technical limitations of poorly-designed web filters.
However, it may very well be that the CCC is considered “extremist” judged by British standards of freedom of speech.
Could be. Governments tend to treat all hackers as criminals, no matter how much the standard definition deviates from government officials’ misconceptions. The Chaos Computer Club, despite being Europe’s largest hacker community, is not composed of criminals. But it has engaged in several acts that would make it less popular with various governments, including reverse engineering “lawful access” malware used by German law enforcement (which included installations on school computers), uncovering a government backdoor in Skype and filing a criminal complaint against the German government for its massive domestic surveillance programs.
As it stands now, it appears that only Three is currently blocking the main CCC website. The Open Rights Group’s “Blocked” website indicates that Virgin Media and Vodafone had both blocked the site until recently, but appear to have removed CCC from their blacklists on Nov. 27th and Dec. 8th, respectively.
Blocking the CCC is just another demonstration of how internet filters don’t work. The filter fails on multiple levels, going overboard with the blocking while simultaneously allowing users to bypass the system using nothing more than an IP address. The end result is the UK’s passive-aggressive filter-by-proxy, one that hangs the threat of regulatory legislation over the heads of ISPs while signing off on “will this do?” filtering.