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Internet Blocking: Crimes Should Be Punished and Not Hidden

European Digital Rights, an Open Society Institute Information Program grantee, has published a booklet aimed at informing EU officials and parliamentarians about the many complex issues surrounding Internet blocking. The EU is considering a proposal (the upcoming Directive on Child Exploitation) to introduce filters for blocking of child abuse websites.

Blocking involves leaving illegal websites online but making access more difficult. Access is always still possible, regardless of the blocking technology used. By contrast, deletion or take-down of an illegal website involves removing it from the Internet and making access impossible.

The booklet was distributed to all Members of Civil Liberties, Culture and Women's Right's Committees of the European Parliament. This is part of European Digital Rights' ongoing work to persuade EU institutions not to introduce web blocking.


  • Introduction and executive summary
  • EU approach on child abuse is weak and badly targeted
  • The issue is distorted by myths
  • Deleting instead of blocking sites is the only effective approach
  • The blacklist will not be restricted to abuse sites
  • Blocking attempts to address yesterday's problem
  • Accessing blocked material is not "only for experts"
  • States hide behind empty gestures
  • Leading experts say "no" to blocking
  • The Commission's policy-making is incoherent
  • The Commission facilitates illegal action by Member States
  • The proposal abandons basic principles of better regulation
  • Blocking by self-regulation - the beginning of the end of the open Internet
  • Case study: Italy

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