As the FCC convenes its hearing today in Cambridge to address Comcast’s degradation of BitTorrent packets, two other blocking/filtering stories are playing out.
First, the Pakistan government (probably nudged by President Musharraf, who heard that some YouTube videos are critical of him) ordered that YouTube be blocked. An over-zealous ISP owned by the state sent out a redirect for YouTube’s IP address to some other more suitable site. But that redirect was somehow propagated all over the world – removing YouTube from view for everyone.
Second, the infamous Clean Feed approach is under attack. A Finnish programmer published the government’s domain blacklist in order to prove that the system is being abused.
You can’t tell who’s on the list, why they’re there, or what the process is for getting off, and ISPs are supposed to block the sites on the list. Sites with many pages are blocked as a whole, even though only a small portion of the site is arguably unlawful (as in Wikileaks).
It’s the meta-issue: under what circumstances should ISPs be used as private police to block or filter sites? What’s “reasonable network management”? How much should users know about what’s going on? How do we manage the spillover effects of all this filtering, which can be quite harmful to overall social interests?
This isn’t just about the future of the First Amendment. It’s the future of the internet.
*Cross-posted from [Susan Crawford blog](http://scrawford.net/blog).*