Free Speech

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
censorship, free speech, newzbin, uk

bt, mpaa

UK Court Upholds Its First Web Censorship Order: BT Has 14 Days To Block Access To Newzbin2 & Gets To Pay For The Privelege

from the that's-one-slippery-slope dept

Back in July, we noted that a UK court ordered ISP BT to begin censoring the web, beginning with a blockade of Newzbin2, which the MPAA has been trying to destroy. After a user petitioned the court to seek alternatives to censorship, the court rejected that request and has issued a ruling giving BT just 14 days to figure out how to block users from accessing Newzbin. Not surprisingly, the entertainment industry is thrilled. Any new opportunity to put the entire burden on ISPs is one that it celebrates. Why should the entertainment industry have to adapt to a changing world when it can run to court, and have the court force tech companies to pretend that new technologies don't exist.

A few scary specifics in the full ruling, starting with this: the expense to implement the blocking is entirely dumped on BT. The judge seems to say that since BT is a commercial enterprise, and profits from people using its services to infringe, it must pay. That's ridiculous. Just because people use BT's service to break the law, shouldn't make BT responsible for the costs of stopping user activities.

Next up, rather than just block URLs, BT has to block the URLs using intrusive, privacy-destroying deep packet inspecting... and "re-route" IP addresses. The studios and the MPAA are apparently allowed to just keep submitting any URLs or IP addresses it finds that lead to Newzbin, and get them easily added to the blocklist. And, at Hollywood's urging, the judge left that expansive, such that even if a URL or IP address point to other legal content, along with Newzbin, those URLs and IPs can be censored.

Finally, and most amazingly, the judge seems to admit the court's technological cluelessness in admitting that it did not realize that a full on IP block (rather than re-routing) might lead to overblocking of innocent sites. And yet it still went forward, despite this rather blatant admission of ignorance.

And with this, the UK goes one step closer to more blatant web censorship.

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 26 Oct 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Censorship? WHERE? See NO actual speech, just invitations to pirate!

    "State for me /exactly/ what/s being censored, not some hypothetical."

    Sadly, that's the problem. Since the censorship hasn't happened yet, I can't tell you when or where it will happen. Whenever such data is revealed, I will discuss it, but all I can say at that point is "yes, you frigging idiots, THIS is what I was talking about".

    I tell you what, the real thing that annoys me here is telling people of the potential dangers of shit like this, and then not even getting an apology when it turns out to be true. You people just continue to attack me for "piracy" when I point out the next nakedly obvious danger.

    Meanwhile, piracy is not affected.

    "But, as you equate more than 143,000 with "a couple", I doubt that you're inclined to actually try."

    Do you want to look at how many that is vs. the number of non-infringing Usenet posts? The ratio might be surprising, even this late in the day when spam has outnumbered real posts on non-binary groups. Again, Newzbin's activities are not at issue, the crap you're trying to promote in order to save corporations from actually understanding the internet are.

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