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Blocks of EZTV have unintended consequences
Monday 12 August 2013 08:30:44 by Andrew Ferguson

UK Internet providers are duty bound to comply with UK law, so there is little choice but to comply with a UK court order to block a website that is deemed to be facilitating copyright infringement. This process started with Pirate Bay a long time ago now, but every few weeks new orders are obtained to add extra sites, and back in July EZTV was one of the latest to be blocked by the order.

In itself another site being added to the list is not large news in itself, but the collateral damage of this latest round of blocking has revealed potential problems with how some providers are actually carrying out the blocking.

Customers of Sky, O2 and Be may have found a mixture of sites blocked over the last few days including radiotimes.com (but not www.radiotimes.com) and torrentfreak and has been discussed by visitors to our forums. The issue is not Sky having gone mad and deliberately blocking these domains, but rather the blocking system Sky uses monitors the IP addresses linked with the EZTV DNS and it seems they were automatically adding IP addresses that were in the list.

This over blocking has important implications, for the wider issue of network level filtering that is due to be implemented by all the major Internet providers (TalkTalk has their system live already). The blocking system by Sky gives no message that the site was blocked and in cases of over blocking this makes people assume that it is the site itself that has a problem, therefore it would be good for any blocking to present users with a page, with a suitable contact method to allow people to report over blocking.

Comments

Posted by rtho782 over 3 years ago
EZTV should make this a bigger issue for Sky by adding google/facebook/wikipedia IPs to their DNS.

Suddenly Sky broadband is useless and we get a proper discussion of why blocking sucks.
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
TalkTalk do give a web page of sites they want to admit to blocking, but a competing broadvand/phone supplier of ill repute is blocked with just an error message

The connection to timetalk.co.uk was interrupted.
Error 101 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_RESET): The connection was reset.
Posted by ScubaGirl over 3 years ago
@rtho782:Abosolutely correct, now that this flaw has been exposed.

Should any such site which to completely mess up access to the Internet by Sky/O2/Be customers, then it is now very simple.
Posted by fibrebunny over 3 years ago
This does leave them vulnerable and you would think that a site that has just been blocked might be somewhat peeved.

Was it not the same with the IWF and wikipedia, silent blocking until someone noticed? BT at least give the error 'site blocked'.

I'm still waiting for some bright spark to tell us that VPN's should be limited to business accounts or similar.
Posted by Lazza over 3 years ago
The unintended consequence was for me to finally sort out a VPN so thanks as I've no regrets with my new secure security situation! Getting a wee bit too much like China in the UK right now.
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
@fibrebunny, Wikipedia wasn't ever entirely blocked, the issue was that all the requests were tunnelled through one IP address making editing impossible.

The IWF block is a URL-based system, and the piracy court orders are IP based which greatly increases collateral damage.
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
Also, the Football League makes extensive use of these IP addresses for their non-www addresses, knocking out several football club websites:

http://readingfc.co.uk
http://brentfordfc.co.uk
http://cpfc.co.uk
http://seagulls.co.uk
Posted by banjomike over 3 years ago
The address http://readingfc.co.uk is not available through Virgin either.

"Sorry, the web page you have requested is not available through Virgin Media.

Virgin Media has received an order from the Courts requiring us to prevent access to this site in order to help protect against copyright infringement."

Idiots.
Posted by Kushan over 3 years ago
@banjomike working fine here (on VM).
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
I have already emailed EZTV asking to block dailymail and google, no reply :( Also as pointed out by andrew its very bad this blocking is done silently, there should be a page indicating its blocked and why its blocked and a contact to report false positives.
Posted by Lykaios over 3 years ago
Same issues here with Virgin Media.
Posted by _Resonance_ over 3 years ago
Might be a stupid question, but what does this actually mean?.........

IP addresses linked with the EZTV DNS
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
@_Resonance_, as in all the ip addresses returned by "nslookup eztv.it" (or any other domain on the block list for that matter)
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
@oliver341: The IWF block list is url based, but sky's implementation of it,often will render a whole domain blocked instead of just links(url's)that point to the offending content,filehost's where always affected by this, because sky's filtering system sucks and they won't fix it . probably because it in some way benfits them
Posted by oliver341 over 3 years ago
@tommy45, it was different, because the file hosts were doing the blocking, because they saw hundreds of download requests coming from one IP address and got suspicious. This time around, it's Sky doing the blocking.
Posted by otester over 3 years ago
Use immunicity, circumvents all censorship blocks.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
@oliver341 Maybe for sky customers but for ukonline customers that wasn't the case ,for a start most had static ip's so the CGN approach wouldn't work, Also i remember all too well that a tracert to a vlocked file host often wouldn't leave the easynet network, and then some dile hosts like RS it was possible to convert the link you wanted to IP format and use HTTPS With BE/02 by modifiying the hosts file by adding the filehosts IP address would circumvent their blocking
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIuf1V1FhpY coming to the uk soon.
Posted by prlzx over 3 years ago
It's been hinted at already but what if EZTV added the IPs of Sky's (and Be/O2) *own* website to its DNS.
If the blocklist were well implemented I'd expect them to whitelist their own content but given what is being reported ...
Posted by scootie over 3 years ago
@prizx. but rival isp customers could still access the site and order products so sky would still be ringing at the till
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