Romanian Authority asks ISPs to block 40 pornographic websites

By EDRi · December 17, 2008

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

The Romanian Authority for Communication (ANC) requested ISPs last week to
block the access to 40 websites hosted in Romania, considering they don’t
meet the criteria imposed by article 7 of Law no.196/2003 on preventing and
fighting pornography.

Article 7 of the law states that “the natural and legal persons creating
pornographic sites are obliged to password them, and the access to these
will be allowed only after paying a fee per using minute, established by the
creator of the site and declared at the fiscal bodies.”

However, five years later after the law was adopted, no specific fee is
foreseen in any normative act.

According to the ANC press release, its investigation revealed that “these
websites, hosted in Romania, did not observe the legal requirements on
access granted by a password (in most cases, even the minimum warning on the
age of persons allowed to access them was absent) and did not request the
payment of a fee per minute of use.”

ANC President Liviu Nistoran declared that the list would not be made
public, “to avoid encouraging their accessing in the following period;
however, we will ensure that the access to such websites is blocked.”
Internet providers are obliged to block users’ access to the respective
websites within 48 hours. Failure to block users’ access is punishable by
fines applied by the Police ranging from 10 000 to 50 000 RON (approx.
2500 – 12500 Euro).

As revealed by online newspaper Hotnews, the list was copied from a
complaint submitted by a phisical person on 28 November that contained 46
websites. Until 2008 only nine complaints were received on this law and just
one website was blocked for a short period in 2005 (newspaper Atac).

A scanned version list sent to the ISPs became available online at the end
of last week on several blogs. The list contained a well-known User
Generated video-sharing website ( , another domain name was just a
redirect to a .com website and a lot of websites hosted on some free hosting
accounts based in Romania.

The owners of some blocked websites complained about the decision and stated
that they would take ANC to court since they were not informed by the
Authority about any problems related to their websites which comply to the
law. Since the blockage was made on the IP addresses, some websites just
changed their IP in order to become available again. It is also unclear how
a website could get off the list, since ANC claims there is no such
procedure in place.

But the blocking system caused other legal websites to be blocked as well,
with no official information on why this was happening. It is clear that
only part of the over 1000 ISPs in the country implemented the measure
requested by ANC, according the various reports from users from all over the

The measure to block access to websites via the ISPs was characterised by
EDRi-member APTI Romania and other national civil liberties groups and ISP
associations as a very dangerous measure and a direct attack to the freedom
of expression. They have asked in a public letter to ANC the immediate
revocation of the list, as an illegal and useless measure.

The civil society representatives explained to ANC there was a possibility,
under the e-commerce law, to ask the owners of the respective
web pages to comply with the law requirements by giving them an appropriate
period of time to do so or even to fine them directly, without appealing to
the ISPs for a illusory measure. They concluded that the present measure is
just a censorship act, without providing any benefits to the a Safer
Internet for children.

ANC Demands Blocking the Access to 40 Pornographic Websites (11.12.2008)

Telecom Referee asks blocking 40 pornographic websites. Only nine complaints
in the past 2 years (only in Romanian, 13.12.2008) on the ANC blacklist (only in Romanian, 13.12.2008)

Number of visitors for in the past days

Public letter to ANC – Blocking 40 websites for your safety ?! (only in Romanian, 17.12.2008)

Law on fighting and combatting pornography 196/2003(only in Romanian)