Blessed are the Geeks, for they shall internet the earth

Geo-blocking (blocking IP Addresses of Countries)
by Doug Chick

Geo-blocking is a term that I think I made up referring to blocking entire IP granges of countries. Why would anyone want to block a country from accessing your network. I can think of a lot of reasons; Spam, hacking systems, viruses and I'm sure there's more. My website generates a lot of hits from around the world. Half of which access the hacker section of my site looking for hacking tools and tips. Most of what is on my hacker section is intended for network administrators to help guard their networks. The good stuff can only be accessed by people that don't need it. On my hacker tools page I wrote a little script that retrieves the viewers info, writes it to a database and tracks its origination down, even as far down as to its longitude and latitude. And although most hits are from what I call friendly countries, many are not. Countries such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Israel and others. I'm not comfortable with people from these countries looking on my site for hacking tools.  This is where Geo-blocking comes in. I think I'd just like to block an entire country. Sounds pretty simple doesn't it--it's not!

To block a country you first must have the entire range of IP Addresses that where assigned to that country. This is not that easy a task to find out. In fact, if I could find such information I would write a program and market it. There are some people though that are against such censorship and believe that the Internet is a global community that should be open to everyone without any political objections. I understand their reasoning, I just don't care. Until software makers put more attention on security and quality assurance, rather than their stock prices, Network Administrators and other computer professionals are going to have to look to alternate source in protecting their networks.  And I understand that software companies must answer to the stockholders first and their customers second, but again I just don't care.  Blocking networks and countries from accessing your network is going to be the only recourse a network manager has to protect their networks. 

And what if I do not want faith based countries or human right violators to gain access to my sites? Do I have the right to block them? I would think sheer ability would grant me this right. But there are other issues; would Geo-Blocking punish the wrong people. I'm not talking my website, I am referring to anyone that would block a country. For example; because the state of Kansas does not allow science to be taught in the school systems, I feel that they are like a cancer that should be isolated so not to infect healthy states that surround them. But does this hurt those that live in Kansas that have to sneak onto the internet at night while their parents are on their knees trembling in fear, begging forgiveness and asking that the wicked and educated be struck down. How will the minority offspring of these people ever find sanctuary if information is blocked from them? So where is the dilemma? If we block say a country like Iraq where woman have no rights, (or at least rights as we see them) we may be closing a window into another world that is hope and knowledge for someone that needs it very badly. Or, do we block out the potential terrorist from learning about hacking, and fly planes and the higher sciences that will undoubtedly one day be used against us? I know I'm presenting a lot of questions with no answers. It is because I simply do not know what the best course of action is to take. There was a time in history where the Arab world were scholars and teachers and housed the largest library the world has ever seen--It was an Arabic telescope that Galileo used to show the Catholic church the universe.  

So the question remain; if you had the means to block out another country or state would you use it? 


Readers comments: 

What David from New Zealand says about Geo-Blocking: 

I'm not too sure how old that article of yours is, but recently I've become a victim of such blocking... and for absolutely no logical reason too.
 
I'm from New Zealand, a friendly nation to the states, and a couple years back my sister joined a site based on the Stargate tv series, which was like an online community role playing as if they were members of the SGC. My sister hasn't been to that site in a long while, and recently, someone at that site has been sending messages to her SGC inbox.  Every time this happens, a mail comes to this addy I'm using now saying we have a message waiting, at least getting one of these damn things each day.
 
I finally convinced my sister to just leave the site, by following the link supplied (http://sho.com/stargate/comm ) but when she goes there, we see this page http://sho.com/lockout/us.cfm (i hope it shows for you) saying that the page is only intended for veiwing within the states...
 
I'm going to be sending a mail to sgc@sho.com and hope that actually makes it to them without being returned because its from a dirty commie or something.  But what happened to the international online community? what's with the blocking and hiding of information all of a sudden? If its an anti-terrorism thing, all the 9-11 guys were living IN the states for years....  and its hardly sensitive information, its an ENTERTAINMENT website based on a tv show that we do receive in this country.
 
I dunno, but I hope this serves as a good example as to what you're writing about.
 
David Willson

 




 


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