A website that provides proxy links to sites blocked by web filters in the UK is more popular than Spotify and Skype, according to the latest traffic rankings. Unblocked.pw is ranked in the top 200 websites in the UK by Alexa, having launched less than a year ago.
The rankings, first spotted by file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, appear to reflect the public's response to strict web filters imposed by the UK High Court. Most major torrent and streaming sites are currently blocked by UK internet service providers (ISPs) following pleas from major music labels and film studios.
Unblocked provides proxy links to many of the most popular sites, including KickAssTorrents, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and Primewire.
"Fighting censorship has been the primary motivation behind running Unblocked," the site's operator told TorrentFreak. "It's to show that whatever regulators do to censor things online, there will always be a way around it.
"The initial motivation came from when The Pirate Bay was blocked in the Netherlands. We set up Proxybay.co to maintain a list of Pirate Bay proxy sites and show people how to create their own."
According to civil liberty advocates, filters put in place by UK Prime Minister David Cameron put the country at risk of internet censorship similar to that found in China. While ISPs are already forced to implement filters to protect against piracy and pornography, new proposals from Cameron would see even stricter measures put in place.
The latest proposals involve visitors to adult websites being forced to enter bank or credit card details in order to gain access, with sites failing to comply at risk of being shut down.
"Our one nation government is working hard to make the internet a safer place for children," Cameron said in a statement released last week. "The next step in this campaign is to curb access to harmful pornographic content which is currently far too widely available," he said.
A study carried out by the Open Rights Group (ORG) earlier this year revealed that 20% of the 100,000 most popular websites in the UK were blocked by the controversial web filters.
"Cameron needs to clarify how he wishes to achieve his goals, given that most porn sites are hosted abroad," Jim Killock, executive director of ORG, said in response to the latest proposals. "To block them, the government would have to introduce a national firewall, which would censor sites for everyone, and would likely be widely circumvented."