Monthly Archives: March 2012

Microsoft confirms Pirate Bay blocking

NANNY-LIKE SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft has confirmed that its Live Messenger chat application does block links to the Pirate Bay and said it will carry on doing so.

We reported the other day that Live Messenger users were seeing links to The Pirate Bay removed or blocked from their chats, and asked Microsoft why.

Eventually a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed the blocking and explained that it was because the links were being marked as malicious and removed as a result.

This, we learn, is the reasoning behind blocking messages that are apparently unthreatening.

“Messenger is set up to help ensure customers receive IMs only from people whose IMs are welcome and has long had the capability to block certain content from being transmitted in an effort to protect our customers,” said the spokesperson.

“We use Smartscreen technology to protect our customers from malicious and unwanted content including phishing, malware and spam,” Microsoft added.

“We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs were flagged by one or more of these and were consequently blocked.”

This confirms the blocking, and we asked the firm whether that meant that The Pirate Bay will be blocked for good by the application. We were told that since Live Messenger blocks links that are believed to be malicious, there would be no way to remove the barriers without “undermining the protection” that Microsoft seeks to provide.

Smartscreen is also used in Internet Explorer to detect threats on web sites, which suggests that access to The Pirate Bay could also suffer there.

Smartscreen Filter checks the sites you visit against a dynamic list of reported phishing sites and malicious software sites,” says the official FAQ. “If it finds a match, SmartScreen Filter will show you a warning notifying you that the site has been blocked for your safety.”

We have asked Microsoft to confirm whether that is the case.

Update Microsoft has given us another statement in which it said that actually the blocks to the Pirate Bay could be dropped, though only under some circumstances.

This would be an automatic process, said the spokesperson, who explained, “We update our filters regularly, and if we observe changes in the patterns of messages or URLs being sent, the block may be lifted automatically,”.

We are waiting for a response to our question about Internet Explorer blocking.

Retrieved from The Inquirer