A resilient music search engine that’s been operating for around nine years has given a very unusual reason for its system breaking down. According to the operator of Slider.kz, recent legal changes in Kazakhstan, where the site is hosted, means the government there now intercepts HTTPS traffic.
Over the years, dozens of ‘pirate’ sites have suspended their operations for a wide range of reasons.
Pressure from rightsholders is perhaps the most common problem, but issues with hosting, domains, or even lack of time or resources have appeared high on the list.
Music search engine Slider.kz has a now cited a reason never heard before.
Slider.kz has been around for approximately nine years, having first appeared in 2010. It certainly doesn’t have the profile of some of today’s popular “stream-ripper” type sites but until recently has been quietly sourcing, indexing and making available for download thousands of tracks from its base in Kazakhstan.
Now, however, the site has problems. The issues are briefly outlined in a popup message when users first visit the site, which references problems with encryption.
Once the message goes away, users are met with the most recent version of the Slider.kz homepage, complete with the usual search box. But those hoping to download or stream music in the browser (Slider previously offered both options) are presented with a disappointing message.
The problems appear related to the news last month that the government in Kazakhstan has recently begun intercepting HTTPS traffic. According to reports, local Internet service providers have been ordered to force their subscribers to install root certificates issued by the government, something which would allow various agencies to intercept what would otherwise be secure web traffic.
“Pursuant to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Communications and clause 11 of Rules for Issuing and Applying Security Certificates, Kcell JSC informs its customers of the need to install Security Certificate on devices capable of connecting to the Internet,” service provider Kcell told its customers in a recent announcement.
“According to law, telecom network operators are to ensure that customers with whom the operators have service contracts are able to install the security certificate on their mobile devices.”
The provider goes on to explain that the security certificate must be installed on all devices used to access the Internet (whether mobile or desktop-based) because if not, customers may face “technical limitations when accessing certain websites.”
Slider.kz does not currently have a security certificate and is running on basic HTTP, meaning that simply accessing the site isn’t a problem. However, Slider appears to index music sourced from elsewhere so it’s possible that the new regime in Kazakhstan is interfering with that in some way.
We have been unable to reach Slider’s operator for a more detailed explanation but we can confirm that at least some the 499 sample tracks compiled by the site’s operator (a small selection of what is usually available) stream directly from the site’s server, not from third-party sources.
All that being said, it’s possible that Slider may return, sooner rather than later. Local media reports are now suggesting that the government may be backtracking on its earlier requirement for citizens to install the security certificate. Only time will tell if this will completely solve Slider’s problems.
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