Ireland: Police seek internet blocking from ISPs

By EDRi · March 23, 2011

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Deutsch: [Irland: Polizei fordert Netzsperren von den ISPs |]

A leaked letter from the Irish police force to ISPs has revealed demands
that Irish ISPs should implement internet blocking. The letter – dated
December 2010 but made publicly available only now – shows that Irish police
have requested ISPs to implement a system of blocking with no legislative
basis or judicial oversight, in which sites alleged to contain child
pornography will be designated by the police.

In a particularly worrying development, the letter also reveals police
demands that the proposed system should be used as a surveillance tool, so
that the police “would obtain details of other sites visited by the user,
along with other technical details, in order that (they) can identify any
new websites that require blocking”.

Irish ISPs have been critical of this initiative and see it as an attempt to
bypass industry bodies such as the ISPAI by putting pressure directly on
individual ISPs:

“ISPs are concerned that this is a unilateral action by Garda with no
legislative basis. At least one ISP has told the Garda that negotiation
about the system should be done with a representative body such as telecoms
group Alternative Operators in the Communications Market (Alto) or the
Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland rather than dealing with
individual service providers.”

Digital Rights Ireland has also criticised the move as promoting a failed
model of blocking which has been shown by experience elsewhere to be
ineffective, while at the same time acting as a distraction from attempts to
remove material at source. It has also argued that any attempt to introduce
such a model in Ireland would require – at a minimum – primary legislation
and judicial oversight.

Garda bid to block sites raises concerns (18.03.2011)

Leaked letter from Gardai (police) to Irish ISPs (28.12.2010)

EDRi-gram: Internet blocking plans in Ireland (21.04.2010)

(Contribution by TJ McIntyre EDRi-member Digital Rights Ireland)