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Catalan Referendum Sites Blocked by Court Order

Michele Neylon

Websites associated with the upcoming referendum in Catalonia are being blocked by ISPs in Spain.

While several of the domain names used by advocates of the Catalan referendum have been seized by authorities others are being blocked by the ISPs in Spain. For those of us outside Spain the blocking has zero impact on us, so we can see the sites without any issue, but for users in Catalonia, ISPs are blocking access. This kind of tactic has been employed most often in the past by rights holders who wanted to stop internet users from accessing torrent trackers such as PirateBay.

It's not impossible to circumvent this kind of block, so more savvy internet users have been able to continue accessing the affected sites by using VPN and proxy services.

The official referendum Twitter account has been dishing out instructions on how to access blocked sites using a variety of VPN and proxy services.

The most effective way for the Spanish government to block access to online content is by seizing the domain(s) completely, which would render VPNs and proxies completely moot. However, they appear to have only been able to do this with .cat domains, as previously mentioned. Most of the sites being used by the referendum campaign have switched to either .eu domains or gTLDs like .com and .fun (Yeah — that struck me as an odd choice too!).

Any domains seized by the Spanish state end up carrying this image:

The DNS records for seized domains seem to be pointing at Akamai IP address space, specifically with their "www" records being pointed to: paginaintervenida.edgesuite.netÍ

By Michele Neylon, MD of Blacknight Solutions. More blog posts from Michele Neylon can also be read here.

Related topics: Censorship, Domain Names, Internet Governance, Top-Level Domains


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