Website blocking in the European Union: Network interference from the perspective of Open Internet

Ververis, Vasilis
Lasota, Lucas
Ermakova, Tatiana
Fabian, Benjamin
ISSN der Zeitschrift

By establishing an infrastructure for monitoring and blocking networks in accordance with European Union (EU) law on preventive measures against the spread of information, EU member states have also made it easier to block websites and services and monitor information. While relevant studies have documented Internet censorship in non‐European countries, as well as the use of such infrastructures for political reasons, this study examines network interference practices such as website blocking against the backdrop of an almost complete lack of EU‐related research. Specifically, it performs and demonstrates an analysis for the total of 27 EU countries based on three different sources. They include first, tens of millions of historical network measurements collected in 2020 by Open Observatory of Network Interference volunteers from around the world; second, the publicly available blocking lists used by EU member states; and third, the reports issued by network regulators in each country from May 2020 to April 2021. Our results show that authorities issue multiple types of blocklists. Internet Service Providers limit access to different types and categories of websites and services. Such resources are sometimes blocked for unknown reasons and not included in any of the publicly available blocklists. The study concludes with the hurdles related to network measurements and the nontransparency from regulators regarding specifying website addresses in blocking activities.

Verwandte Ressource
Verwandte Ressource
Ververis, V., Lasota, L., Ermakova, T., & Fabian, B. (2024). Website blocking in the European Union: Network interference from the perspective of Open Internet. Policy & Internet, 16(1), 121–148.