August 19, 2011 | By Jillian C. York

Argentine ISPs Use Bazooka to Kill Fly

On Tuesday, we reported that Argentina's National Telecommunications Commission (CNC) had issued a directive to local ISPs to block two websites--leakymails.com and leakymails.blogspot.com--in response to an order from a federal judge.

Today, on Google's Latin America blog (in Spanish), Senior Policy Counsel Pedro Less Andrade writes that Google records indicate that some service providers in Argentina are blocking access to the IP address 216.239.32.2, which is linked to more than one million blogs hosted on Google's Blogger service.

IP blocking is a blunt method of filtering content that can erase from view large swaths of innocuous sites by virtue of the fact that they are hosted on the same IP address as the site that was intended to be censored. One such example of overblocking by IP address can be found in India, where the IP blocking of a Hindu Unity website (blocked by an order from Mumbai police) resulted in the blocking of several other, unrelated sites.

As Andrade points out, "There are other less restrictive technical procedures than the one used, which allow ISPs to comply with court orders fully, while affecting only the sites involved."

In this case, it would appear that the block is likely related to the aforementioned case, and that ISPs--in an attempt to comply with the court order--have enacted the overbroad measure of IP blocking rather than blocking the site's URL.

Google reports that they are working with stakeholders to restore access to the hundreds of thousands of blocked blogs and other sites in Argentina.


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