Business Regs surveillance & privacy

Newsbin2 court ruling means BT has to ask permission to perform maintenance on network

The High Court this morning ruled that BT would have to block Newzbin2 within 14 days and pay its own costs.  The ruling can be read here.

It’s an interesting read and seems to run roughshod over BT – there seem to be no guarantees that the same order would be made against other ISPs which puts BT at a competitive disadvantage.

Seems crazy, but BT also now needs to seek authorisation from the movie studios when it wants to perform maintenance on their Cleanfeed filtering system, if the studios don’t reply quickly, then BT can apply to the courts to be allowed to do this – extract from the ruling below:

Temporary shutdown

  1. BT also requests the inclusion in the order of the following provision:

“In the event that [BT] forms the reasonable view that for operational reasons relating either to the stability of its system or the functioning of the Cleanfeed system in respect of the IWF watch list it needs to shut down either Cleanfeed itself or the addition to the Cleanfeed system of IP addresses pursuant to [this order] on a temporary basis, [BT] shall not be in breach of this order by such shutting down provided that it applies to the Court as soon as is reasonably practicable but at any rate within 72 hours of such shutting down with an explanation as to why such action was necessary and the duration thereof.”

The Studios resist this.

  1. I am not persuaded by BT’s evidence that such a provision is necessary. For example, BT’s evidence does not say that it regularly, or even occasionally, has problems with Cleanfeed which require BT temporarily to shut it down. Nor am I persuaded that BT’s suggested approach of shut down first and explain to the court later is appropriate.
  1. Instead, I will provide that BT will not be in breach of the order if it temporarily suspends the operation of either Cleanfeed or the addition of IP addresses or URLs with the written consent of the Studios or their agents. If such consent is not forthcoming, BT will have permission to apply to the court on notice. In cases of urgency, an application may be made on short (and informal) notice. For the avoidance of doubt, in cases of real urgency, BT will be entitled to apply to the court without seeking the Studios’ consent first.

To me this is another stitch up from an establishment that can’t get its brain around the issues. It is also massive scope creep for something (ie Cleanfeed) intended to prevent access to websites promoting illegal child abuse.


Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

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