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UTVInternet (UTVi), the all-Ireland ISP, stopped its subscribers from accessing Irish auction site ebid.ie last week. The action was taken in response to commercial dispute between the two companies, UTVi told Irish journalist Fergus Cassidy.

UTVi barred the way to ebid.ie for "a week or two", removing the block last Friday afternoon. Entirely coincidentally, Cassidy, a columnist on The Sunday Tribune, got on the case last week.

A UTVi spokesperson told him:

We are in dispute with ebid and because of the nature of that dispute we put a temporary block on their site from ours. Obviously we do not intend to stop our subscribers from having access to sites they wish to visit so this block has now been removed.

Given that only a couple of people contacted us about this, we hardly see the temporary block as having had any effect on our wider subscriber base.

UTVi's position is, to put it kindly, flimsy, arguing in effect that censorship is acceptable in the support of commercial aims. And if no-one's watching, no-one cares.

The company will have to do much better than this, if it is to avoid brickbats and lawsuits in the future.

Here is Fergus Cassidy's column on the site blocking. And here is his news piece on the matter. ®

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