UPDATED: BT blocks the Pirate Bay from mobile broadband customers

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piratebay.jpgAnyone considering mobile broadband might want to rethink their decision today, after BT announced that it would henceforth be blocking access to the Pirate Bay for its mobile broadband customers. The company states that it’s in “compliance with a new UK voluntary code”.

BT’s mobile broadband is based on Vodafone’s network and it’s being claimed that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) – who were responsible for a block on Wikipedia earlier this year – are behind the move. UPDATE: IWF claim no role in this. See below. Apparently Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and 3 have also all agreed to participate.

The move comes after the Pirate Bay’s administrators were convinced of assisting the making available of copyrighted content and sentenced to a year in prison. The four are appealing the decision, though I argue that I don’t think it’ll make the blindest bit of difference.

What we really don’t want, though, is an unelected, non-governmental organization like the IWF deciding what content we’re allowed to consume online. As OnlineFandom points out, many Swedish labels have found ways to gain considerable commercial benefit out of The Pirate Bay, sharing content on it with full permission. Why should Brits miss out on that?

Update: BT claims that it’s nothing to do with the trial, just the fact that people under 18 can sign up for mobile broadband packages and that there’s 18+ content on the Pirate Bay. That sounds like a load of baloney to me. Why would they block one site and not a million others that host slightly adult content – starting with YouTube?

Update 2: The IWF have got in touch with us with the following statement:

“The IWF list contains only publicly available web based content and only URLs related to indecent images of children. We have no role regarding peer-to-peer traffic and have never taken any action regarding Pirate Bay as it is outside our remit.”

“The UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles is available on our website for informational purposes, however, it is not overseen by the IWF nor do we have any role in its implementation. I’m afraid we do not know why our organisation has been referenced in relation to any action regarding Pirate Bay. Anyone with queries regarding this issue should contact their service provider.”

It’s puzzling, therefore, where this has arisen from. We’ll dig in a little further and see what we can find.

(via Tech Radar)

Duncan Geere