Social Problems not Solved with Technology says Entanet

Paul Heritage-Redpath

In the latest article on its opinion website (http://opinion.enta.net/), Entanet tells the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the UK government that they can’t expect ISPs to solve social problems such as extremism with technology, or by trying to restrict access to sections of the Internet on an almost indiscriminate basis.

In the article, Entanet Product Manager, Paul Heritage-Redpath, says that the directive which the ECJ is expected to issue soon, requiring ISPs to block websites deemed to be infringing copyright, won’t work, and there is also a real danger that many perfectly innocent sites could be blocked as well.

He points out that, whilst getting ISPs to block IP addresses may have worked many years ago, when a single IP belonged to a single computer on which a single website lived, doing the same thing now will affect many other websites.

“Blocking an IP now would result in curtailing the propaganda of one extremist site but also the valid content of thousands of other innocent sites running on the same server with the same IP address. What’s more, even this poorly thought-out tactic fails to account for the fact that determined publishers of extremist sites will employ other means of ensuring their voice is heard. The crux of the problem is that you can’t solve social problems with technology.”

He also says that asking ISPs to take a responsibility for determining whether a website is offering copyright-infringing content and taking action against it would require every ISP to employ huge resources at considerable expense, which the ECJ and government are not offering to cover and would therefore have to be passed on to customers.

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