Cutting off access to websites that engage in illegal activity has become a popular tactic among law enforcement agencies worldwide. But according to a report released Tuesday by the European Union, throwing up a roadblock at the ISP level simply isn't an effective solution. “Blocking access to websites does not work as an isolated enforcement tool and can be easily circumvented," the report concludes. Moreover, it places unreasonable expectations (and liability) on internet service providers to lead the charge against offending sites by maintaining block lists and dedicating significant resources to the cause, the EU says.

Dispelling the practice of website blocking is just one part of the report, which analyzes various approaches European nations have taken to enforce national gambling regulations and stem the growth of unsanctioned betting sites. Yet the heavy-handed blocking practice remains in frequent use and is a common element of anti-piracy web legislation. Domain seizure has become a preferred tool of the US government, drawing scrutiny from some members of Congress who last month questioned the Department of Homeland Security regarding a glaring lack of transparency and due process.