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GitHub has removed the repository and mirror site for Unblockit, a proxy service that allows users to access blocked sites. The development platform says that the content in question has been removed for violating its terms of service, which was confirmed by a follow-up investigation. Unblockit, meanwhile, remains available on its regular website.
With 40 million users and over 100 million code repositories, GitHub is the largest online development platform of its kind.
The site is used by individual coders and large organizations to host virtually any piece of code imaginable. Additionally, GitHub Pages can also be used as a website hosting service.
GitHub removes the Unblockit repository
The vast majority of GitHub users present their work without a problem, but not everything is allowed. A few hours ago the company deleted the repository from Unblockit, a popular proxy service that provides access to blocked “pirate” sites.
In addition to the repo, GitHub also has deleted a mirror of the Unblockit website that was hosted on a dedicated GitHub page.
Although GitHub regularly removes content in response to DMCA takedown requests, this incident is different. There is no mention of a takedown notice and GitHub notifies visitors that the repo has been removed due to a violation of its terms of service.
Speaking to TorrentFreak, a spokesperson for GitHub clarifies that the company investigated the repo after a breach was reported. This ultimately led to the conclusion that Unblockit should be taken offline.
“We have removed the content following an investigation into a report that it violated our acceptable use policies and additional terms for GitHub pages, which are intended to showcase personal and organizational projects and not to promote unrelated sites or services, ”GitHub tells us.
The Unblockit repository (archived) was primarily used to track issues and notify people about domain name changes. This is probably seen as some kind of external promotion.
The withdrawal came as a surprise to the operator of Unblockit, who told us that he was initially not informed of the reason for the withdrawal. After contacting the platform, GitHub said the reported violations included “directing traffic to third-party sites.”
This type of activity violates GitHub guidelines and as such the repository will not be restored.
“Specifically, the content or behavior reported included using the GitHub pages only to direct traffic to third-party sites, which we found to be against our guidelines. We won’t be reverting your repository at this time, ”GitHub told Unblockit.
We specifically asked the platform if the repo had been reported by a third party. While we haven’t received a direct response, GitHub repeatedly states that it has investigated “a report,” which may refer to outside advice.
There is no mention of any copyright issues or violations, but it goes without saying that copyright holders will be happy to see this block bypass service partially removed.
The withdrawal does not affect the main Unblockit service, which remains available through Unblockit.kim. However, the GitHub repository has made it easier for some people to spot domain changes, which will not be an option now.
“In the future, these users will just have to use the main Unblockit domain and use our other social media channels such as Reddit, Telegram, Twitter to stay on top of updates,” Unblockit TF informs.
One of the advantages of the Unblockit mirror site hosted by GitHub is that it never changed its URL. However, only a relatively small number of people have used it, so the service doesn’t expect it to have a major impact.
“We don’t expect there to be a lot of impact on Unblockit because the traffic coming from the Github URL was not significant. Also, since launching the subreddit, we started receiving fewer issue reports in the Github repository as people found it easier to submit issues on the subreddit.
At this time, Unblockit has no plans to relaunch the repository elsewhere. Instead, it will focus on the core service which, unsurprisingly, is a major target of pirate site blocking efforts.