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Government bungle shows how to view blocked sites

The Government has announced that it is to scrap plans to block file-sharing sites under the Digital Economy Act, as a document from the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport is circulated detailing various ways of getting around such blocking.

A report from the DCMS, published as a PDF, contained the group's recommendations on blocking websites that are accused of containing - or even linking to - copyrighted material without the permission of so-called rights holders. Several sections of the document were redacted, due to their containing details on possible circumvention techniques for such blocks.

Unfortunately for the DMCS - and embarrassingly, for a group which would have been left in charge of implementing mandatory blocks on Internet content - the redacted text could be easily revealed by simply copying and pasting the content into a new document.

Spotted by solicitor TJ McIntyre, the elided paragraphs contain details on how to bypass IP address blocking, DNS blocking, URL blocking, and packet inspection techniques. A blocking technique comparison chart which had a 'Difficulty of Circumvention' column redacted is also reproduced in full.

The unredacted document makes for awkward reading if you're pro-blocking: each suggested technique has its own workarounds, none of which is particularly complicated or difficult to implement.

The release of the document's redacted sections in full comes as The Guardian reports plans by Business Secretary Vince Cable to remove the sections of the Digital Economy Act that pertain to website blocking, suggesting that current measures available under the existing Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act will be powerful enough.

Cable's apparent decision to scrap the idea of a Great Wall of Britain follows a High Court ruling that forces BT to cut off access to Newzbin, a Usenet binaries site which carries copyrighted images, videos, and audio files.