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Open Rights Group wants access to ISP web blocking documents

Seeking the right to transparency
Fri Jul 19 2013, 14:15
Policeman in front of no entry sign

CIVIL RIGHTS GROUP the Open Rights Group (ORG) has petitioned the high court for access to documents that direct internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites.

The ORG has posted a statement that explains it wants a closer look at website blocking orders in the UK.

"Our aim is to create transparency over what methods of blocking are being authorised, what blocking is being done and by whom," it said.

"Publication of the orders should benefit everyone. Courts, ISPs and copyright holders stand to benefit by having this knowledge made public. Accountability, fewer errors and less confusion about what is happening should be the result."

The post said that ISPs can be "reluctant" to share the orders with it, although they give the opposite impression.

"ISPs are often reluctant to share the orders with us, despite the fact they are 'public documents'. Possibly they feel that copyright owners asking for the orders may find publication by an ISP provocative. This means we are obliged to ask the courts for the documents, in order that we can publish and analyse their contents," it added.

"Unfortunately, court officials so far have turned down ORG's requests for copies of the blocking orders. They have done this because, they say, 'judgement has not been entered' or 'service has not been acknowledged'."

The Open Rights Group has asked to have a procedural judge, known as a Master, help it access documents that relate to the blocking of filesharing websites Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents.

The ORG is running a website called 451 Unavailable, and it said it will share any resulting documents that it gets there.

This week the big ISPs were told to block access to a sports streaming website. µ

 

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