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December 7th, 2008

You've probably already read about the way the IWF is working with several major UK ISPs to block access to a handful of Wikipedia pages. What you're not hearing about is the collateral damage that the incident has caused to several smaller ISPs.

It turns out that at least one of the ISPs in question has been broadcasting fake BGP routes for blocked sites, in order to force downstream ISPs to use their blocking proxy. There's one big hole in their plan - they didn't give any of the ISPs in question access to the proxy, so all users got was a blank HTML page for any Wikipedia content. Oh, and they didn't actually tell anyone that they were doing this. You should have seen the messages filling up the support forums.

It took my ISP 48 hours to figure out exactly what was going on and fix it.

Back in the early days of electronic civil liberties the cipherpunks had a saying "The Internet treats censorship as damage, and routes around it." Well, we're now routing around the damage this censoring proxy, just the way the Internet is meant to work

Which basically boils it down to: IWF FAIL.

I'm actually astounded by this action on their part. I was running an ISP when the IWF was founded, and the folk running it them would never have stooped this low, especially to block what is legitimate content and which is hosted outside the UK. This action is not proportionate, and certainly not what the IWF was set up to do.

Blue Balloon

I like a crisp cold winter day, when the sun strikes the landscape just so, and everything lights up with a golden glow. Add a rich hoarfrost, and things couldn't be better for a day of photography.

We took our cameras down to Richmond Park, and wandered down the path to the frozen Pen Ponds. A pram had a blue balloon tied to a strut, and it was catching the light breeze, floating out over the golden brown winter grasses.

Blue Balloon

Richmond Park, London
December 2008