UK ISPs censoring Wikipedia

As a result of the Internet Watch Foundation deciding that the cover of The Scorpions’ 1976 album Virgin Killers (featuring a naked girl, aged around 8–10 15, with a visual effect obscuring her genitals) is child porn and potentially illegal to view under English law, several UK ISPs now prevent access not only to the album cover on the Wikipedia, but also to the article about the album itself. There are easy workarounds, so the purpose of their censorship is not met, but I personally am very angry that either is being blocked at all.

From the Digg article, which I encourage any Digg users to digg up, to gain attention to the issue:

The content being filtered is apparently that deemed to meet the Internet Watch Foundation’s critera for child pornography — in one case, this involves a 1970s LP cover art which, although controversial, is still widely available.

Personally, I’m fucking livid about this. I don’t pay Virgin Media to provide me access only to those parts of the Internet that they — or, worse, the IWF — decides I’m responsible enough to see.

The image in question is here, in a form that the affected UK ISPs (or at least Virgin Media) don’t seem to be blocking at the moment, but the block affects the article about the album, as well as the normal URL to the image page. If you can’t follow those two links, but if Wikipedia’s Main Page works for you, then your ISP is affected too.

The ISPs I know to be censoring this encyclopædia content (from discussions on the Open Rights Group‘s open discussion list and on the private list of ORG’s Advisory Council) are below, though I make no promises that this list is either accurate or exhaustive:

  • Opal Telecommunications
  • Virgin Media
  • Be Unlimited/O2/Telefonica
  • Demon Internet
  • Easynet/UK Online/Sky
  • Plusnet
  • Eclipse Internet / Kingston Communications

I’m really angry about this. Please both discuss the issue and suggest on further action in the comments. I, for one, will be phoning Virgin Media in the morning.

Posted around 0115; edited for wording at 0130



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