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Author Topic: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK  (Read 644 times)

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Offline Matthew

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Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« on: May 29, 2019, 11:13:13 AM »
With help from fellow players in another thread, I have discovered that Simutrans-Germany (which hosts the Wiki) has been blocked by my ISP.

Attempting HTTPS gets a DNS error without explanation.

A HTTP connection gets an ISP block page reporting that the site is auto-blocked as for anonymizer/file-sharing, which is almost certainly because of the file-sharing facility. I should be able to whitelist the site for myself, but the block originates with Symantec, which categorizes websites for several of the major UK ISPs, so other players are likely to have the same problem, and if they are using HTTPS (which I think is the default with Chrome) then it will just appear that the site is down.

I'm probably not able to complain to the ISP myself because I don't pay the bill. If @Frank or anyone else would like to raise the issue, my ISP's address for website owners is CRSupport@sky.uk. It is also possible to complain to several UK ISPs with one e-mail through Internet Matters.

However, AFAIK the file-sharing part of Simutrans-Germany is not monitored and can be used for non-Simutrans purposes, so I don't think they will change their mind about blocking that part. I have never seen it misused, but I guess that it is possible in principle.

It would be helpful if they could unblock the wiki pages only, but I don't think this is technically possible because the wiki is on the main domain (simutrans-germany.com), not a subdomain (www.simutrans-germany.com).

Offline makie de

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2019, 12:47:12 PM »
lol  :D
sorry
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Attempting HTTPS gets a DNS error without explanation. A HTTP connection gets an ISP block page reporting .....
Today it is common, to redirect http to https.
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I'm probably not able to complain to the ISP myself because I don't pay the bill. If @Frank or anyone else would like to raise the issue, my ISP's address for website owners is CRSupport@sky.uk.
Frank don't pay anything in UK. It is your turn, you pay your ISP, your ISP does not deliver, what you pay for.
You should probably ask your elected political representative, why you should not be see the page. I am sure you will get an answer without content. :D
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the file-sharing part of Simutrans-Germany is not monitored and can be used for non-Simutrans purposes, so I don't think they will change their mind about blocking that part. I have never seen it misused, but I guess that it is possible in principle.
I am sure, Frank has his eye on his website and take down none Simutrans content immediately.   
This will probably not interest the bureaucrats of the censorship authority.

What amazes me. The ISP in UK have so much money and time that they look for small dust grains in the word wide web like simutrans-germany.com.
Someone must have searched, found, read, reviewed and put them on the blocklist. They do not have any other work?

Sorry for my thoughts, it seems strange to me.

Offline DrSuperGood

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2019, 05:56:09 PM »
So what link is blocked in the UK? Like an example of a link that when accessed you are saying does not work in the UK?

Because I tried "simutrans-germany.com" and it loaded via https perfectly... I then clicked on the wiki link from that page and that also loaded via https perfectly... I live in the UK and use BT as my ISP.

So this could just be an issue with 1 specific UK ISP. It might also be something to do with parental controls or other for computer illiterate filtering which I turn off when possible.

Offline makie de

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Offline Matthew

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2019, 06:49:54 PM »
lol  :D
sorryToday it is common, to redirect http to https. Frank don't pay anything in UK. It is your turn, you pay your ISP, your ISP does not deliver, what you pay for.

The problem is that I don't pay the bill for the Internet where I live, so the ISP doesn't know anything about me.

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You should probably ask your elected political representative, why you should not be see the page. I am sure you will get an answer without content.

I don't think this is a political issue. I want the ISP to censor dodgy websites (it can be difficult to work out what you are really clicking on because of link-shorteners like t.co on Twitter). I think that the problem is that the ISP's bot just sees that Simutrans-Germany can be used by anyone to share files; it doesn't know they're screenshots of trains.

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:DI am sure, Frank has his eye on his website and take down none Simutrans content immediately.   
This will probably not interest the bureaucrats of the censorship authority.

I completely agree. Even if I could prove that the website only has Simutrans files (which I can't, because I can't access it!), I don't think they would care.

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What amazes me. The ISP in UK have so much money and time that they look for small dust grains in the word wide web like simutrans-germany.com.
Someone must have searched, found, read, reviewed and put them on the blocklist. They do not have any other work?

Almost certainly an automated bot (crawler), similar to the ones that search engines use. My ISP subcontracts this work to Symantec, who categorize websites for many ISPs, universities, etc. around the world. I guess they have adapted their virus-checking algorithms. If they paid people to review them, they would not have made this mistake.

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Sorry for my thoughts, it seems strange to me.

Thank you for your sympathy. It is definitely a #FirstWorldProblem. And I am very glad that I saved key pages from the wiki a few years ago.

[/quote]
So what link is blocked in the UK? Like an example of a link that when accessed you are saying does not work in the UK?

Because I tried "simutrans-germany.com" and it loaded via https perfectly... I then clicked on the wiki link from that page and that also loaded via https perfectly... I live in the UK and use BT as my ISP.

It's everything on the simutrans-germany.com domain.

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So this could just be an issue with 1 specific UK ISP. It might also be something to do with parental controls or other for computer illiterate filtering which I turn off when possible.

It's the standard Sky broadband filter, which is turned on by default, though I don't know how many people turn it off. But as I mentioned above, Symantec provide the filter list for several UK ISPs (not BT, which runs its own). The problem is that with modern HTTPS, you can't even see it's blocked. And to be honest, a high percentage of Simutrans websiteshave turned into dead links or cybersquats*, so for many weeks I thought that was the problem.

*It's just the life-cycle of hobby websites, like caterpillars turning into butterflies but in reverse!  :laugh:

Online prissi

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2019, 01:01:07 AM »
Almost the first thing I did, was switching off the filter, when I was in UK. It banned even sourceforge at a time ...

Offline Ters

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2019, 06:08:00 AM »
Out of curiosity, I checked how one of Symantec's Norton products categorize simutrans-germany.com. It gives files.simutrans-germany.com a green score. If this is Symantec's fault, they are clearly bipolar about it. Maybe the ISP is using an outdated list.

Interestingly, when I google "simutrans germany", the files site is the only hit on that entire domain, despite apparently being blocked for indexing. I have to add "wiki" to the search phrase to get the wiki.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2019, 07:30:11 PM »
Out of curiosity, I checked how one of Symantec's Norton products categorize simutrans-germany.com. It gives files.simutrans-germany.com a green score. If this is Symantec's fault, they are clearly bipolar about it. Maybe the ISP is using an outdated list.

Interestingly, when I google "simutrans germany", the files site is the only hit on that entire domain, despite apparently being blocked for indexing. I have to add "wiki" to the search phrase to get the wiki.

Although I couldn't approach Sky, I found a way to file a recategorization request with Symantec last week and it looks like that it's been successful.  :)

The categorizing service which Sky have used is called RuleSpace, and last week it was reporting Simutrans-Germany as a file-sharing site. Now it categorizes it as a (computer) gaming site. It's now whitelisted for me anyway, but hopefully the wiki is now accessible to new players.

I hope that a human has reviewed a bot's work and made a good decision.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2019, 09:39:37 AM »
I'm frankly surprised that seems to have worked, but very glad you were able to do it.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Simutrans-Germany blocked in UK
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2019, 05:06:11 PM »
I'm frankly surprised that seems to have worked, but very glad you were able to do it.

I was not optimistic either, but it's nice when something goes right for once!