Monday bit.ly was blocked on the grounds that it is a malicious website. It is not a malicious website, it is a url shortening service. All it does is reduce a long web address to a shorter web address. If you are a member, it also provides access statistics. Click on the short url and you are redirected to the original url.
By blocking access to this website, at a stroke twitter has been rendered useless, a large part of the net has been blocked off.
By calling the website malicious, HCC has opened itself up to a very expensive defamation case.
A useful plug in for firefox is provided by bit.ly that shows where a link goes before the user goes there.
If bit.ly is blocked, it begs the question, are other such websites blocked?
Cambridge Professor David MacKay in his excellent book Sustainable Energy uses these tiny urls for his references, in order that they may easily be embedded in the text. Is his book to be rendered unreadable?
'The text also contains pointers to web resources. When a web-pointer is monstrously long, I've used the TinyURL service, and put the tiny code in the text like this – [yh8xse] – and the full pointer at the end of the book on page 344. yh8xse is a shorthand for a tiny URL, in this case: http://tinyurl.com/yh8xse. A complete list of all the URLs in this book is provided at http://tinyurl.com/yh8xse.'