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.

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.
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.

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.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 6:43am

    Copyright industry demanding loopholes be closed in 3, 2, 1....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      Copyright industry demanding loopholes be closed in 3, 2, 1...
      Or to paraphrase: "Copyright industry demanding that everyone else except them pay to prop up their shitty business model in...."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:22am

      Re:

      Not loopholes being closed.

      Back doors. And golden keys.

      After all, why should the government be the only ones who can inspect all of your internet communications. It's for your own good.

      Piracy is so important that we must circumvent national laws, and nations' legislative ability to pass their own copyright laws. So important that we must dismantle the internet and redesign it as a broadcast medium where the right people are the ones making the money.

      If Apple's phones are too secure, then how can law enforcement routinely check for pirated content?

      Encryption is obviously evil. It prevents blocklists and censorship by the government and private corporations. It allows people with incorrect thoughts to communicate with others in private.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      Nope, they passed a bill, they got rid of THAT, 3,2,1

      Its now

      Copyright industry demanding loopholes be closed ...yesterday.....3,2,1......retroactivly

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 6:55am

    You just can't make this stuff up

    So better security allows users and sites to completely bypass the laughable 'blocks' put in place to attempt to 'stop piracy'. And if they take the wrong(though expected) lesson from this and attempt to use it to demonize HTTPS as a 'tool of piracy', then they'll be directly making things worse for everyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:11am

      Re: You just can't make this stuff up

      Remember, this is not really new...

      DHS has already classified use of VPN and Encryption as terrorist activity!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 1:44pm

        Re: Re: You just can't make this stuff up

        "DHS has already classified use of VPN and Encryption as terrorist activity"

        Well aint that the pot calling the kettle black

        At least non established newer terrorists dont have an embeded system where their able to illegalise the means of protecting onesself against them.......and then have a standing ovation after the announcement, or circle jerk praises of their "goodness".....conditioning

        Extreme-ism vs extreme-ism
        Both sides claiming their undeserved righteousnes, compounding the issue further, turning a squabble into an international catastrophy

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:02am

    How soon will it be for those in Hollywood to state that HTTPS must be removed from being used because it enables piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 8:08am

      Re:

      Considering it already enables crime and terrorism (according to the US Govt)...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      mb (profile), 29 Feb 2016 @ 1:16pm

      Re:

      The really insidious thing is, that this will come in the form of new trusted root CA's that can issue false certificates to allow for the transparent interception of https connections. (which will, of course, be subverted by real criminals) This will completely destroy the remaining shreads of trust on the internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:11am

    'all they (entertainment industries) need to do to stop most people visiting pirate sites is to offer a good service at a fair price'

    unfortunately, you have omitted that the entertainment industries are instrumental in all of the various 'Trade Deals' that the USA starts up. the main ingredient in all of them is the constant increasing of the lengths of copyright terms, the constant ramping up of the types of protections the industries utilise and, the most scary thing, that punishments are more severe than all crimes now except murder! how any modern society can, even for a moment, consider the most valuable of things is the Entertainment Industry is beyond me. to make it the most heinous of crimes on the entire planet is not just unbelievable, it's completely ridiculous! perhaps the more scary thing isn't the previous part of my comment, but is this one. almost every government in the supposed civilised and democratic world is doing whatever they can to assist in this happening!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:14am

      Re:

      I don't know, I would rather face murder charges than piracy charges.

      People still tend to treat murder a bit more judiciously where as everyone just assumed someone is guilty of piracy without much evidence.

      At least a lot of people still TRY to make people prove you are a murder vs piracy where everyone thinks you need to prove your innocence instead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re:

        Oh, and I will likely get out of jail sooner as well!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 26 Feb 2016 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re:

        You don't need to choose. Piracy is high sea robbery and can be committed in connection with murder.

        Of course, calling copyright infringement "piracy" is downplaying the seriousness of copyright infringement: actual pirates only sink single ships rather than pulling the rug out from under all identical copies of a ship.

        So no wonder it's considered worse than simple murder.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Synergy Waffle (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I looked really hard for a "/s" but I think you forgot to include it. Also I'm afraid that your argument is completely lost on me because I just can't get past your mixed analogies - how exactly does one go about pulling the rug out from under a ship, let alone multiple ships?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 11:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I looked really hard for a "/s" but I think you forgot to include it.

            Sometimes people are sarcastic without including it, so you have to decide for yourself if it's sarcastic or sincere. In this case, I'm pretty sure sarcastic.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

        Re: Re:

        People still tend to treat murder a bit more judiciously where as everyone just assumed someone is guilty of piracy without much evidence.

        That's because everyone is guilty of piracy. It's all but guaranteed that if you've used a computer for at least 1 year, you have violated copyright law.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Feb 2016 @ 8:16am

    Frankly I don't believe anything matters. It's not like hard facts have stopped idiocy from the MAFIAA before. You posted a xkcd strip just these days showing the doomsday-sayers regarding lack of social interaction and the MAFIAA is just like that. Worse, the things they were sure would bring the apocalypse actually ended up becoming important sources of revenue for them.

    And while it hasn't been two centuries, Spotify and Netflix showed everything everyone needs to know about how to stop piracy. I'm not mentioning some creators that went direct to fans and got wonderful responses, I won't mention kickstarter and the likes, no. They don't see if it's not in the millions of dollars range.

    From that we can conclude that the MAFIAA are either complete idiots or they have reasons beyond mere money making (control comes to mind). I'd go for both at varied levels. In the meantime they keep acting like mafias with the blessings of distorted laws and biased judges.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 9:08am

      Re:

      Worse, the things they were sure would bring the apocalypse actually ended up becoming important sources of revenue for them.
      The Internet will become their major source of income, once they have established control over it.That control will require anybody who wants to publish anything to do so via their services. The price for their services will by signing over the copyright for an advance and a small percentage of profits, after the usual Hollywood accounting has been applied.

      I wish I was being sarcastic, but everybody knows what the MAFIAAs relation to artists is like.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 8:21am

    Not to worry, the GCHQ can legally hack any computer system in the world. I wonder if they have the stomach for it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 26 Feb 2016 @ 11:51am

    Block this

    Why don't they just block this

    Www.*.*
    That should co cover it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 1:20pm

    Corporate facism

    Companies, i mean, the represented, will think nothing of butchering what little rights the individual has left, to protect an outdated legacy business model, instead of embracing the natural evolution of sharing content, human culture, everything, available to everyone, at the tip of their hands with no bloody ARTIFICIAL limitations.........one thing this IS doing, is shining a light on another bigger problem

    Why the fuck is our supposedly, representational governments listening to these fucking assholes in the fucking first place, putting corporate concerns above the individual, i INSTINCTUALLY know is wrong, i mean, i dont even have to think about it ffs......especially, in this case, when the "crime" involved is no way a fucking crime..........im not saying its ideal in its CURRENT form......but how do you expect it to address these concerns, when the biggest muthrfeathers on the block are all chasing you outta town

    Legacy players killing the new upstart capable of bringing about something ten times better then what came in the past.......ironic, considering hollywoods history, ......all the while showing our govrnments true colours

    A scary world we are in for i think.......our guberments, consolidating as much power as they can, for god knows what real reasons, or future "i promiss it will never be used for that, so pass this today, with no oversight and the potential to do EXACTLY that, that we pinky swear we'll never do, but build the infrustructure to do so anyway, when we didnt really have to, but did because, hey ho, you never know, we might, wink wink, end up doing that thing we never really specifically promissed we'd never end up doing, when the ideal conditions allow us to......i mean, we did build the infrastructure to do it, even though technically, we did'nt really need to, for the original purpose we asked for" ........excuse

    All the while hoping a historically portrayed hitler doesnt come along before enough of us start seeing the potential dangers of "absolute power"........in the hands of hitler

    If you wanna advertise terrorism.......then lets advertise our future hitlers and absolute power shall we.....otherwise shut the fuck up, and stop fearmongering the public.......portraying a world and its occupants in a bad light in order to self fucking benefit.......im more scared of THAT then terrorism........one im pretty sure is conjured by the other, or at the very least purposefully overblown......while not giving a shit that they stop us a human beings from growing as a better society

    Our societies are stagnant, they hardky change, its the same shit, but a diffrent day, while the world and its tools change at an alarming rate

    The more things change, the more things stay the same

    The world around us changes, while we as a society havent...ffs we still have a ruling class

    Absolute power in the hands of a society that has'nt hit puberty yet..........i wish they would hand over the nuke button to the kid denied he's 5th chocolote sunday, and get it over with


    Man, im mad with our current course, can you tell.....i tend to ramble and write the first, and usually, non coherent thing that pops into my head

    We are treated like cattle.....stay the fuck out of everybodies lives except our own and those who give their consent...........where's them pledges

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2016 @ 2:49pm

    Alternative Title

    Authorities So Oblivious To Cyber Security They Forget It Even Exists

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2016 @ 2:01am

    Aussie Burke says NOOOOOO

    The burke from Australian Village (Idiot) Roadshow Mr. Graham Burke will look like an even bigger burke now that this has come to light. Never mind, the lights will be turned off down under & nobody will be home when the website blocking goes ahead. At least they are pretending to be doing something to justify their multi-million dollar salaries & all the brown paper bag donations to their friends in politics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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