Like any form of censorship web blockades can sometime lead to overblocking, targeting perfectly legitimate websites by mistake.
This is also happening in the UK where Sky’s blocking technology is inadvertently blocking sites that have nothing to do with piracy.
In addition to blocking domain names, Sky also blocks IP-addresses. This allows the site to stop https connections to The Pirate Bay and its proxies, but when IP-addresses are shared with random other sites they’re blocked too.
This is happening to various customers of the CDN service CloudFlare, which is used by many sites on the UK blocklist. Every now and then this causes legitimate sites to be blocked, such as CloudFlare customers who shared an IP-address with Pirate Bay proxy ilikerainbows.co.uk.
Although the domain is merely a redirect to ilikerainbows.co, it’s listed in Sky’s blocking system along with several CloudFlare IP-addresses. Recently, the CDN service received complaints from users about the issue and alerted the proxy owner.
“It has come to our attention that your website — ilikerainbows.co.uk — is causing CloudFlare IPs to be blocked by SkyB, an ISP located in the UK. This is impacting other CloudFlare customers,” CloudFlare wrote.
The CDN service asked the proxy site to resolve the matter with Sky, or else it would remove the site from the network after 24 hours.
“If this issue does not get resolved with SkyB though we will need to route your domain off CloudFlare’s network as it is currently impacting other CloudFlare customers due to these blocked IP addresses.”
Following a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block access to many of the world’s largest torrent sites and streaming portals.
The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, there are also plenty of workarounds.
For many sites that are blocked one or more proxy sites emerge. These proxies allow people to access the blocked sites and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court.
The copyright holders are not happy with these loopholes and have asked ISPs to add the proxies to their filters, which they have done on several occasions.
However, restricting access to proxies did not provide a silver bullet either as new ones continue to appear. This week the blocking efforts were stepped up a notch and are now targeting sites that merely provide an overview of various Pirate Bay proxies.
In other words, UK ISPs now restrict access to sites for linking to Pirate Bay proxies.
Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk, piratebayproxylist.com and ukbay.org. Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit.