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ISPs have 24 hours to block sites

The attacks on Charlie Hebdo were the trigger for an acceleration of the strengthening of censorship measures on the Net. And as expected, the Minister of the Interior presented this Wednesday a decree evoking the blocking of sites "provoking or praising acts of terrorism" as well as sites offering child pornography content.

Bernard cazeneuve The decree is presented as a new provision of the anti-terrorism law of 13 November 2014 and highlights the strengthening of measures to impose the administrative blocking of certain sites by ISPs on the order of the competent authorities. It specifies the procedure thus making it possible to prevent French Internet users from accessing websites "in the event that publishers or hosts of online content, disregarding the provisions of the Criminal Code, refuse to withdraw this content."

The Central Office for combating crime linked to information and communication technologies (OCLCTIC) will soon share a "list of affected email addresses" which will be forwarded to Internet service providers for them to proceed "within twenty-four hours, blocking said sites and referring the user to an information page". The list will also be communicated to the CNIL.

Financial compensation is planned for ISPs "because of the burdens that the implementation of the new procedure places on them".

The National Consultative Commission on Human Rights had already given a negative opinion on the measure when it was presented to parliament. It was then discussed that only a judicial authority could decide to block a website praising terrorism or disseminating child pornography. The decree here clearly undermines the principle of the separation of powers.

Still, as always, the measure should have little impact on actual access to sites blocked by ISPs, then it will again be a simple DNS blocking bypassed by a proxy or VPN, a swashbuckling since the technique widely used to block access to pirate sites has led to a reorientation of even the least experienced users towards workarounds for these restrictions.