1 In 5 Websites ‘Blocked By ISP Filters In UK’

A fifth of websites in the world are being blocked by internet service providers in the UK, according to research from the Open Rights Group.

The digital rights body said this amounted to “over-blocking”, as it looked at the results of its blocked.org.uk project. It tested 100,000 sites and found that more than 19,000 were blocked by one ISP or another with their filtering systems.

Blocked websites everywhere

Political blog, Guido Fawkes, run by editor Paul Staines, was one of those blocked. “We would really appreciate it if TalkTalk would remove us from their block list. The only people who block us are them and the Chinese government,” said Staines.

Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock added: “Through, the Blocked project we wanted to find out about the impact of web filters.

“The problem of overblocking seems much bigger than we thought. Different ISPs are blocking different sites and the result is that many people, from businesses to bloggers, are being affected because people can’t access their websites.”

Other blocked sites included Sherights.com, a feminist rights blog, and the website belonging to Philip Raby, a Porsche dealer. Users on Twitter said Virgin Media’s filter was even blocking the Blocked website.

Earlier this year, piracy-focused news site TorrentFreak was irate when Sky’s filter started to prevent access to its site. The government was supposed to have tweaked the filtering it asked ISPs to use in order to prevent over-blocking, which some believe has failed.

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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

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