TorrentFreak accuses TalkTalk of censorship

TalkTalk's network-level anti-malware service, called HomeSafe, has come under further criticism, this time for blocking a news website called TorrentFreak that provides information about file sharing and copyright issues.The company said it added TorrentFreak to its blocklist on the basis that it hosted links promoting file-sharing.

TalkTalk's network-level anti-malware service, called HomeSafe, has come under further criticism, this time for blocking a news website called TorrentFreak that provides information about file sharing and copyright issues.

The company said it added TorrentFreak to its blocklist on the basis that it hosted links promoting file-sharing.

"[TalkTalk] will have bought this functionality from a third-party company and from our experience they offer no level of transparency whatsoever. In our experience they are afraid to publish their block lists and for child abuse sites I couldn't agree with them more," TorrentFreak's Founder, Enigmax, told ISPreview on Friday.

"But when genuine news resources are blocked too — and in our case a site which regularly publishes educational articles on the perils of sharing copyright works — they are overstepping the mark," he added.

However, the fact that TorrentFreak does not distribute copyrighted material and does not host torrents is not enough to have it exempted from TalkTalk's HomeSafe service.

"While we understand TorrentFreak provides news, it also has a number of links on its site promoting file-sharing applications, which is why it is blocked if the file-sharing category is selected," TalkTalk told ZDNet UK in a statement on Friday.

The opt-in HomeSafe service works by scanning all the URLs visited by its customers and creating a blocklist of the websites hosting malicious content or malware. The scanned URLs are stored in memory and are deleted every 24 hours.

The system has already come under fire from privacy campaigners for scanning the websites visited by all of its customers, regardless of whether or not they use the service.