UK's Pirate Site Blocklist Even More Pointless Than Previously Thought: HTTPS Defeats It
from the almost-too-easy dept
It will come as no surprise to sophisticated Internet users like Techdirt readers that the UK's attempts to block a growing list of "pirate" sites are easy to circumvent. But a post on TorrentFreak suggests that you don't even need to be a sophisticated Techdirt reader to do that:
While it's hard to stamp out piracy completely, the measures were supposed make it harder for UK Internet subscribers to access these sites.
Apparently this has been known in certain circles for quite a while. Some pirate sites have even gone so far as to force users to connect using HTTPS to enable them to enjoy this further advantage of encryption. There's an interesting discussion in the comments on the TorrentFreak post as to when and why HTTPS connections can get around the court-mandated blocks, and what ISPs might try to do to close this gaping loophole. Even if they do, the other circumvention methods will remain.
However, a recent review of current blocking practices shows that several ISPs including Virgin Media, BT, EE and TalkTalk are failing. It turns out that many subscribers don't have to jump through technological hoops to circumvent the blockades, as many popular pirate sites are freely accessible on their regular connections.
With the help from several subscribers, TorrentFreak was able to confirm that the HTTPS versions of most blocked websites including The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents, RARBG and Torrentz, are still freely accessible.
The real point here is that the copyright industries are fighting a war they cannot win. That's not just stupid in itself, but doubly stupid, because there's a much better approach that they could take, as Techdirt has noted before: all they need to do to stop most people visiting pirate sites is to offer a good service at a fair price. Simple, really. Almost as simple as using HTTPS.