by Mike Masnick
Fri, Dec 18th 2009 5:33pm
I am still not convinced that we need special laws mandating net neutrality, but I find the arguments from telcos that no one would ever block sites or services to be highly unbelievable. There have been cases of it happening in the past, and there are cases of it happening now. Shocklee points us to the news that a Russian ISP has been blocking websites that the government has dubbed "extremist," even though they include political opposition sites like Garry Kasparov’s Kasparov.ru, Solidarity's Rusolidarnost.ru and the National Bolshevik Party's Nazbol.ru. Combine that with attempts in the UK and Australia to give the government the ability to make up secret lists of sites that should be blocked by ISPs, and you can see why some believe it's important, as a fundamental principle, that ISPs should allow access to any site. US telcos say that they are in the business of encouraging free speech, and they would be crazy to block sites, but what we're seeing around the world suggests that there are times when ISPs do decide to block sites, and it's often due to political pressure from governing parties.
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