The Irish arm of telcoms operator O2 has begun censoring websites in the region, with image sharing site Imgur seemingly the first portal identified for blockage.
Talk has been rumbling of behind-the-scenes government negotiations regarding the introduction of an official state policy that would see websites accused of hosting malicious content or infringing copyright blocked from public access.
Further to these discussions, ISPs such as Eircom have already entered into an agreement with the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) that will see the music trade body holding back from pressing ahead with threatened legislation in return for the company preventing access to sites identified by the IRMA as hosting copyrighted material.
The main source of the vocal objections to such a ruling is that the process undertaken to identify offending websites lacks transparency or accountability.
Now users of social networking site Reddit are reporting that access to Imgur is being greeted with a message stating: “HTTP 403 Error – Access Denied”. Other users have reportedly had confirmation of the change of policy at O2.
Last month Eircom implemented a ‘three-strikes’ policy that will internet access blocked for any users accused of file-sharing on more than three occasions. Again, no burden of proof is necessary – simply being accused is enough to warrant action under the guidelines.
Vodafone is also said to be on the verge of entering into a similar agreement in the country.
Similar measures were proposed for the UK in the recently passed Digital Economy Bill.