NY Times Geolocation Filtering

The NY Times (mirror) recently restricted access to articles on the recent terrorism case in Britain for users in the UK. Although users could see the headline if the link was clicked the following message was shown:

“On advice of legal counsel, this article is unavailable to readers of nytimes.com in Britain,” is the message they would have seen. “This arises from the requirement in British law that prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial.”

Filtering content by geographic location is nothing new and its use is now becoming widespread.

Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University, said restricting information fit with trends across the Internet. “There’s a been a sense that technology can create a form of geographic zoning on the Internet for many years now — that they might not be 100 percent effective, but effective enough,” Mr. Zittrain said. “And there’s even a sense that international courts might be willing to take into account these efforts.

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