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Campaign group: ‘Domain blocking errors’

June 4, 2018

By Colin Mann

Digital rights campaigning body Open Rights Group (ORG) has released figures that show that High Court injunctions are being improperly administrated by ISPs and rights holders.

A new tool added to its project examines over 1,000 domains blocked under the UK’s 30 injunctions against over 150 services, with the ORG finding that 37 per cent of those domains are blocked in error, or without any legal basis. The majority of the domains blocked are parked domains, or no longer used by infringing services.  One Sci-Hub domain is blocked without an injunction, and a likely trademark infringing site, is also blocked without an injunction.

However, the list of blocked domains is believed to be around 2,500 domains, and is not made public, so ORG are unable to check for all possible mistakes.

“It is not acceptable for a legal process to result in nearly 40 per cent maladministration,” stated Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group. “These results show a great deal of carelessness. We expect ISPs and rights holders to examine our results and remove the errors we have found as swiftly as possible.”

“We want ISPs to immediately release lists of previously blocked domains, so we can check blocks are being removed by everyone. Rights holders must make public exactly what is being blocked, so we can be ascertain how else these extremely wide legal powers are being applied,” he contended.

ORG’s conclusions are:

  1. The administration process of adding and subtracting domains to be blocked is very poor;
  2. Keeping the lists secret makes it impossible to check errors;
  3. Getting mistakes corrected is opaque. The ISP pages suggest you go to court.

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