'Draconian' Telecom blocked US website

Telco cracked that walnut with a sledgehammer, says InternetNZ

Telecom blocked access on its network to a US-based website that contained material posted by the 027 voicemail hacker this month — a move that InternetNZ calls "draconian".

Peter Macaulay, InternetNZ's outoing president, describes Telecom's action as "using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut", saying that "breaking the internet" in response to what he calls minority behaviour is not acceptable.

Instead, Macaulay says, a phone call to the US ISP would have been the best action, as most ISPs behave in ethical ways and are keen to help when notified of a problem.

The "null-routing" took place at Telecom’s router in the United States, on its Global-Gateway network. It prevented Telecom and Xtra customers from accessing the site, hosted by FDC Servers in Chicago.

FDC Server’s Petr Kral says his company was never contacted by Telecom New Zealand. Kral believes Telecom only null-routed a single IP address and not the whole network, as he has not received any complaints about it. He says that it is Telecom’s right to block and null-route anything it likes but wonders if it was done for its customers' benefit or was an attempt at censorship.

Auckland ISP Orcon also uses Telecom’s Global-Gateway network and found that its customers too had been shut out from the US site. Orcon’s manager, Seeby Woodhouse, says he can understand why Telecom blocked the traffic, as it has to protect its customers. However, Woodhouse is concerned that Telecom’s action may set a worrying precedent for the future.

Computerworld understands other websites were also hosted on the blocked IP address.

John Goulter, Telecom’s manager of public affairs and industry relations, confirmed last week that the telco blocked access to the website. He declined to comment further, saying the matter was in the hands of police.

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