Proxies and the Law

This is an pretty old post from my blog, which has been preserved in case its content is of any interest. You might want to go back to the homepage to see some more recent stuff.

In light of the passing of the Digital Economy Bill, and Ben Bradshaw’s intent to push for government power to force ISPs to block sites that are “likely” to be used for copyright infringement, the government could in a few months’ time demand that ISPs block access to the likes of Wikileaks, The Pirate Bay and Rapidshare, all sites that have perfectly legal uses. And I’m sure it can’t be long before the government and the IWF together have a go at 4chan.

A few questions for any internet lawyer-types out there:

  1. Is it legal for a UK citizen to set up and maintain a private, secure proxy server in another country?

  2. If ISPs in the UK are instructed to block a site, is it legal or illegal for a UK citizen to access that site via an overseas proxy?

  3. If it is illegal, would the fact that the Briton runs and uses an overseas proxy ‘reasonable cause’ for them to be investigated in any way?

  4. Would the server admin be legally obliged to keep logs for the proxy server in case such an investigation took place? (And does this depend on UK law or the law of the country where the server is located?)

  5. Can a court or police warrant require the server admin to disclose passwords, encryption keys or logs?

For reference, I’m merely interested in the answers to these questions – I’m not necessarily considering doing this, particularly not if it does turn out to be illegal.

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