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RT news inaccessible on Three UK

uknowiama

Pro Member
I take it you haven't heard about the "Online Harms Bill" ?
I have. Yes.
I also have faith in the checks and balances in place and the process a new bill goes through. This same process is also why we are both aware of it and open to debate such topics.
 

uknowiama

Pro Member
Ofcom revoked the broadcast license [1]. Three are an Internet Service Provider (ISP), NOT a broadcaster. Three are intercepting my traffic and interfering with it to display a "Blocked" message, in clear violation of Ofcom's rules on "net neutrality". As other members have said, it is not blocked on other ISP's so why are Three doing this?!? Plus, they refuse to acknowledge they are even doing it (they were basically intercepting secure layer protocols to make the website inaccessible), this is entirely unacceptable. What other sites are Three doing this with? Are my banking sessions, HMRC self accessment, other Government services being snooped on?

[1] - https://www.ofcom.org.uk/news-centre/2022/ofcom-revokes-rt-broadcast-licence
I never said they were meeting their obligations as a broadcaster..
Secure Layer -not heard of that... OSI model = Physical, Data Link, Network, Transport, Session, Presentation, Apllication. TCP/IP Model = Network Access, Internet, Transport, Application.
I don't believe three is "intercepting secure layer protocols". Https is layer 4. This is encrypted. Layer 3 and below is not. So IP and MAC address still readable. So one would imagine 3 is simply blocking access to public IP addresses associated to Russia Today. This is how VPN services can be blocked. I used to block VPN services at my last company to stop people on night shift trying to access streaming services on the company Internet when they should be working. ISPs can still log times and dates you accessed certain IP addresses. Of course, you can use a VPN but they can still log what VPN you use. Then the quality of the VPN is what their policy is with regards to requests from law enforcement to make their logs available. So your private data is safe banking, HMRC, etc.

It is possible to break https, but said person needs to act as the main in the middle.

This is to the best of my knowledge. Am happy to debate and be corrected if I have mis-understood or got something wrong :)
 

clivejo

Top Member
I don't believe three is "intercepting secure layer protocols". Https is layer 4. This is encrypted. Layer 3 and below is not. So IP and MAC address still readable. So one would imagine 3 is simply blocking access to public IP addresses associated to Russia Today.
So I used "secure layer" when I was meaning https/SSL!! Three were intercepting and interfering with the exchanges between my browser and the rt.com server in order to make it inaccessible.

As verified by other members, no other ISP was doing this!

On a Three connection, I got this message "Secure Connection Failed - Error code SSL_ERROR_ACCESS_DENIED_ALERT" routed via a VPN on the same browser the site was working fine!
 

jonas261

Member
Russia Today (rt.com) is being SSL blocked the same in way on most if not all UK ISPs due to updated UK government legislation on sanctions.
I just tested on Vodafone and another a ISP, same thing as mentioned for Three,

The SSL interceptions are more agressive than the basic blocking DNS which is what they probaly could just do. But I suspect they don't want to risk being pointed at for not making it very hard for the average user to access russian news sites.
In any case I'd like my information uncensored.
 
Last edited:

uknowiama

Pro Member
So I used "secure layer" when I was meaning https/SSL!! Three were intercepting and interfering with the exchanges between my browser and the rt.com server in order to make it inaccessible.

As verified by other members, no other ISP was doing this!

On a Three connection, I got this message "Secure Connection Failed - Error code SSL_ERROR_ACCESS_DENIED_ALERT" routed via a VPN on the same browser the site was working fine!
I wasn’t getting you on using the wrong term.. I was point out that your traffic was being blocked without breaking the encryption. That your ISP was not intercepting your traffic and reading it. There was no need to worry about tax returns and bank website being broken.

That possibly just blocked on IP address.


Given the error you posted it seems an issue with the certificate of the website. A further google


RT create their own Cert, as other sites do, they then pay for them to be signed by an internationally recognised Certificate Authority. This is how company show that their website is the genuine one.

Now due to sanctions, they can’t pay the CA to sign their cert. So RT are now using a Russian CA to sign their certs. Seems that CA is not recognised by browsers.

I still don’t think 3 aren’t doing anything they shouldn't be and don't believe there is anything to worry about.

Got same error on EE. So not just 3.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Got same error on EE. So not just 3
When I try and access RT on my 3 SIM, I get ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR. When I try and access on EE, I get ERR_CONNECTION_RESET. Does this mean they are both using different types of blocking?
 

Phil2021

Regular Member
I can access RT.COM just fine from A&A, no certificate error. The cert shows as issued by R3 and is accepted by Chrome. A&A have had to stop returning RT.COM via their DNS servers due to government demands, but I'm using my own, or it should still work from other public DNS servers like 8.8.8.8.

So when countries like Russia ban foreign media news sites they are criticised for it and accused of censorship and pushing their own state media and propaganda onto their people. So when the UK does it, is that not the exact same thing?

I find RT.COM is more neutral and factual and covers important world news I can quickly get to rather than the BBC News site which is more like a Take-a-break mag these days and full of click bate articles.
 

uknowiama

Pro Member
When I try and access RT on my 3 SIM, I get ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR. When I try and access on EE, I get ERR_CONNECTION_RESET. Does this mean they are both using different types of blocking?
Given the errors you quote - EE or 3 are not doing any blocking this points to an encryption problem. Which goes back to the certs issue previously mentioned. RT can't pay for their certs to be signed by a CA. So a Russian CA is signing them. Not recognised by the browser, so is blocked.
The article goes on to mention two browsers that should work.
I believe you should be able to configure the browser to accept the Russian signed certs.
Another thing to bear in mind - although unlikey - is how secure is it to start accepting Russian certs. Article goes on to talk about that an how Russia could set itself up for Man in the Middle attacks.
 

uknowiama

Pro Member
I can access RT.COM just fine from A&A, no certificate error. The cert shows as issued by R3 and is accepted by Chrome. A&A have had to stop returning RT.COM via their DNS servers due to government demands, but I'm using my own, or it should still work from other public DNS servers like 8.8.8.8.

So when countries like Russia ban foreign media news sites they are criticised for it and accused of censorship and pushing their own state media and propaganda onto their people. So when the UK does it, is that not the exact same thing?

I find RT.COM is more neutral and factual and covers important world news I can quickly get to rather than the BBC News site which is more like a Take-a-break mag these days and full of click bate articles.
Other countries banning foreign media news sites and comparing UK blocking of RT - not comparing apples with apples. And possibly some confusion.
TV has been blocked from being broadcast.
Google removed them from YouTube
RT website blocked from Internet by UK ISPs - seems more likely this is a cert issue at present?
How do you judge RT to be more neutral? RT is funded by the Russian state. The BBC is funded by its license payers. BBC is accountable to regulatory bodies and those can be influenced by Govt, for sure. However, its not the same as having a state owned media company. Is RT ever critical of the Russian govt?
I can't help thinking telling someone you shouldn't access something leads certain personalities to go and search it out precisely because of this.
 

Phil2021

Regular Member
Other countries banning foreign media news sites and comparing UK blocking of RT - not comparing apples with apples. And possibly some confusion.
TV has been blocked from being broadcast.
Google removed them from YouTube
RT website blocked from Internet by UK ISPs - seems more likely this is a cert issue at present?
How do you judge RT to be more neutral? RT is funded by the Russian state. The BBC is funded by its license payers. BBC is accountable to regulatory bodies and those can be influenced by Govt, for sure. However, its not the same as having a state owned media company. Is RT ever critical of the Russian govt?
I can't help thinking telling someone you shouldn't access something leads certain personalities to go and search it out precisely because of this.
OFCOM regulate RT in the same way they do the BBC and other UK news sources. The BBC have had more fines from OFCOM for bad news reporting than RT has had in the last several years. Just because RT has funding from Russia has never allowed it to report news in the UK that wasn't factually correct, and you can imagine the scrutiny placed on RT by the UK government and OFCOM even before the current conflict to catch them out! RT was not banned for misinformation or propaganda, there wasn't a single news report they were pulled up about to give rise to this ban now, they were censored, like most things have been recently, for simply being Russian. The flip side is the BBC World News, which up to then had been allowed in Russia, 2 days later in retaliation was banned.

RT website blocked from Internet by UK ISPs - seems more likely this is a cert issue at present?

RT.COM (and sputniknews.com) has been banned/censored, see https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/477/made. The law basically says anyone that supplies internet access must take reasonable steps to stop access to a list of designated persons. OFCOM has said RT.COM is a designated person, they are on the sanctions list.

This blog post might be a useful insight: https://www.revk.uk/2022/04/the-latest-crazy-law.html
 

clivejo

Top Member
Given the error you posted it seems an issue with the certificate of the website. A further google

RT create their own Cert, as other sites do, they then pay for them to be signed by an internationally recognised Certificate Authority. This is how company show that their website is the genuine one.
The cert was perfectly fine, the site opened on the same browser just using a VPN. Three were intercepting and interfering with the process to render the site inaccessible.

NO_VPN.jpg


VPN1.jpg
 

clivejo

Top Member
Appears that Three have once again changed their technique and are back to interfering with SSL traffic! Last time I looked they were just throwing a 403 - Forbidden with the word "blocked" on the screen, but are now back to messing around with SSL connection to deny access!
 

Phil2021

Regular Member
Appears that Three have once again changed their technique and are back to interfering with SSL traffic! Last time I looked they were just throwing a 403 - Forbidden with the word "blocked" on the screen, but are now back to messing around with SSL connection to deny access!
Yep, they are complying with the law I guess and doing what they can do to stop people accessing it. EE and O2 are blocking it and I get a 'Connection was reset' error. It might end up getting blocked further out on transit routes soon.
 

uknowiama

Pro Member
I tried to offer an explanation as to what is happening with access, reassure that your ISP is not reading your encrypted traffic, that the errors show an issue with the certificates and the TLS traffic, then backed this up with a couple of quick searches, showing the difficulty of maintaining their certs now they are facing sanctions.

As for RT being more neutral than BBC - I can't agree with you on that. I don't believe you have adequately backed up your remark either.

Might be worth a read
I found it interesting - but maybe it just fits in with my bias?
 

clivejo

Top Member
I tried to offer an explanation as to what is happening with access, reassure that your ISP is not reading your encrypted traffic, that the errors show an issue with the certificates and the TLS traffic, then backed this up with a couple of quick searches, showing the difficulty of maintaining their certs now they are facing sanctions.
And I informed you that this is not the case. The browser loads the page totally fine when changing one thing, Three not being allowed to interfere with my traffic and routing it via a VPN!
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Given the errors you quote - EE or 3 are not doing any blocking this points to an encryption problem. Which goes back to the certs issue previously mentioned. RT can't pay for their certs to be signed by a CA. So a Russian CA is signing them. Not recognised by the browser, so is blocked.
The article goes on to mention two browsers that should work.
I believe you should be able to configure the browser to accept the Russian signed certs.
Another thing to bear in mind - although unlikey - is how secure is it to start accepting Russian certs. Article goes on to talk about that an how Russia could set itself up for Man in the Middle attacks.
It has to be this, my 3 5G iPad returns this result which shows its certificate errors.
 

clivejo

Top Member
It has to be this, my 3 5G iPad returns this result which shows its certificate errors.
Because Three are interfering with the traffic between your browser and RT servers!

I was just trying to gather evidence of this interception, by comparing the fingerprints.


But it appears that Three have reverted to the 403 - Forbidden message again!!
 
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