Censorship seems to be spreading across the web at the moment with Argentinians currently being blocked from accessing the large proportion of websites hosted on Google’s Blogger platform in order to prevent them from accessing new “leaks” site LeakyMails. Judge Sergio Torres, backed by security minister Nilda Garré, ordered the National Commission of Communications to block the website within Argentina.
In explanation of the move, Torres claims that the websites is in breach of Article 222 of Argentina’s penal code which prohibits the publication of “political, industrial, technological and military secrets related to security, defence or external relations”. But the reason for the Blogger-wide outage in the country is due to this law being enforced through IP address blocking – meaning that as LeakyMails is hosted by Blogger, and does not have an independent IP address – all Blogger IP addresses that may point to it must be blocked too.
LeakyMails currently offers public access to personal emails between high ranking members of Argentina’s political, judicial and journalistic circles including: Chancellor Héctor Timerman; Presidential Secretary Isidro Bounine; Presidential Spokesman Alfro Scoccimarro; Governor Daniel Scioli; Senator Jorge Yoma; Federal Planning Minister Julio de Vido and his wife and private secretary; Judges Carmen Argibay and Raúl Eugenio Zaffaroni; Ambassadors Alicia Castro and Carlos Bettini; and Security Minister Nilda Garré. The leaked emails do not seem to pose a threat to national security, and so it is questionable whether this censorship is legal under Article 222, but they are embarassing for those involved.
With the US, UK and other western nations looking at possible uses for censorship of the internet in time of crises or otherwise – this is how censorship laws are always eventually used – not to protect national security, but instead to prevent the embarrassment of society’s elites.