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[liberationtech] Website censorship in the US

Maxim Kammerer mk at
Wed Dec 18 11:52:59 PST 2013

On Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 9:28 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at> wrote:
> As far as I can understand, of course ISPs block IP addresses they deem
> malicious, I'm not sure why that's bad practice?

ISPs usually block their clients' IPs due to malware, although
apparently it has become more common to block non-client IPs as well.
Usually it is done in a user-friendly fashion — e.g., in June I have
received a report that Shaw ISP in Canada blocked access to my site
with a message similar to the following (but remote- instead of
local-oriented): The problems with
AT&T's block above are obvious:
1. It is done stealthily, similar to GFC, and there is no message to the user.
2. AT&T support is incompetent and blames DNS misconfiguration.
3. Blockage is too broad, big IP blocks are censored.
4. IPs are not unblocked even after the hoster fixes the issue.
5. There is no oversight (e.g., like with registry-based censorship in
Russia), and ISPs can lie to / ignore their clients.
6. It is easy to use malware as an excuse for, e.g., authorities
forcing some target site to move to a non-free provider, where the
target can be traced via payments. How do you know it is not the case
here? Of course, the country in question being the USA, everything is
better explained by omnipresent incompetence, but this is still a
possibility. Free hostings probably attract radical forums.

Maxim Kammerer
Liberté Linux:

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