“Does it make sense to block the whole domain ‘facebook.com’ for the fact that one of the subpages offers supplements” – asks the Ministry of Digitization, criticizing the idea of the Ministry of Health for another registry of forbidden domains. This time the ones offering “boosters”.
The Ministry of Health as part of the plan to fight with boosters (drug substitutes – ed.) wants to be able to block websites that promote and sell these substances. And without the court’s permission. The draft amendment to the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction included an idea that gives the General Sanitary Inspector the opportunity to keep a special registry of banned websites on which you can buy boosters.
The inspector would not have to obtain the permission of the court or any other institution to enter there the address at which these substances can be bought. And after entering the list of domains, operators will have 48 hours to block it. Only after this time the owner of the blocked site will be able to appeal to the court.
So the solution is almost identical to the one that has been functioning in the case of online gambling and the registry of gambling domains since July of last year. But as it turns out, even more controversial. Even within the government itself. The Act was consulted on the Committee on Digitization and under the evaluation of the Ministry of Digitization, and this ministry does not leave a dry thread on the idea of the Ministry of Health.
False vision of effectiveness
“Blocking websites at the domain level will not be an effective solution. Circumventing a blocked site can be done cost-free and by people with minimal technical knowledge, using publicly available tools, “the digital ministry officials write and add that this idea, instead of blocking access to boosters, can be quite helpful.
When methods are available for tunneling phrases to websites, the [registry – footnote] may play the role of a “notice board” for sites outside of the Polish IP address area. This will only be an additional incentive to use Tor and virtual private networks, which will make it more difficult for the police to continue tracking and locating sellers offering illegal substances – warns Ministry of Digitization.
And they are right, because such blocking is a tool that gives only illusion of effectiveness. The draft law provides that the blocking of websites will take place at the level of DNS addresses. This solution requires checking every query that the operator provides – that is, it is effective only if the telecoms have full control over the end users’ network connections. And this often does not take place – says Wojciech Klicki, a lawyer of the Panoptykon Foundation.
And he adds that the methods indicated by Ministry of Digitization, that is the use of the Tor network or VPN connections, are especially popular for those who are looking for potentially illegal materials.