Sky News Update: Sky Broadband have released details regarding their scheme to block torrent websites and tackle this crime. With the rise in illegal downloads that came with the increased popularity and usability of the internet, providers have had to start kicking back. The responsibility on broadband providers to protect the integrity of the internet has grown in recent years and Sky are demonstrating their commitment to this cause with this move. “Sky Broadband has quietly started blocking access to proxy services that allow people in the UK to access torrent websites such as The Pirate Bay (TPB) and Kick Ass Torrents (KAT), previously closed off by a legal ruling. Since a High Court ruling in the UK in April 2012, the UK’s largest ISPs – Sky, Everything Everywhere (now just known as EE), TalkTalk, O2, Virgin Media, and later, BT – have been forced to block access to The Pirate Bay for their subscribers. As a result a number of proxy services flourished, allowing customers of these ISPs to access the website, as well as others like KAT.ph, H33T and Fenopy, that were subsequently covered by later court orders. However, Sky Broadband has now silently started blocking access to these proxies, effectively cutting off access to the websites for its customers. According to TorrentFreak, Sky subscribers began noticing that their access to the proxies was blocked over the weekend. The specific domains on the court order block list aren’t public knowledge but are regularly updated to include new domains and IP address by solicitors acting on behalf of the rights holders, who do so by informing the ISPs of the new domains to be blocked periodically. It’s hard to know for certain whether other ISPs will follow suit and restrict access to the proxies but one source familiar with the matter told The Next Web that the blocks will be extended to other ISPs as they are a result of the most recent additions to the block list, rather than a decision taken only by Sky Broadband. The source said the list now includes proxies for the first time, but only if their sole purpose is to provide access to a blocked website.” Torrent websites cause great problems for businesses as they often provide content that should be paid for, for free. Amongst certain groups in society these sites have been welcomed with open arms, especially given the difficulty that exists in policing the problem. It must be said that the best way to police it is to follow the route that Sky are adopting here – block the sites silently. This prevents any internet-canny people from pre-empting the blocks and creating ways of accessing the sites.
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