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


Quick rant before my meeting

Why is it that Microsoft appear to be completely incapable of writing decent code and documenting it?

I’m trying to work with SharePoint 2007 for a project at work. The developer textbooks haven’t yet been published (and the release dates have recently been pushed back), so all I have to rely on is the MSDN Library’s documentation of the API.

So when I see method descriptions like this (BaseFieldControl.RegisterFieldControl, fuck only knows what it does), I get pretty pissed off.

So I gave some feedback:

This is a public API, that developers need to access to work with SharePoint. Why on earth is there absolutely no documentation on some of these properties and methods?

Ridiculously poor; if one of my developers passed it to me for QA, I would have failed it and sent them to go do it all again, whilst hanging their head in shame.

I wonder if anyone will actually ever read it.

Cross-posted to

Politics online

I’ve never understood how people online seem to think that disagreeing with someone about one issue means they need to react in a completely unrelated fashion. It’s always struck me as mind-numbingly childish, frankly.

So I was a little surprised today to see that someone who I got on with relatively well had blocked me and banned me from a group he administers on Flickr.

Earlier in the week, I joined the group Mondo Uno, an anti-war group on Flickr, where members are encouraged to change their buddy icons to a black ribbon. This campaign is for an end to killing on both sides of the current conflict in the Near East, a point made quite clearly, both on the group pages and on the page where I uploaded a copy of the black ribbon image.

One user, though, seems to have taken offence at this. He’s changed his comment on my image, he’s blocked me and, most perplexingly, he’s banned me from a group he administers. I can’t really say I’m all that bothered — he’s a good photographer who takes some great pictures of some stunningly attractive guys, but it’s hardly gonna end my world to be able to see those images no longer, is it?

But the reason why I’m posting here is I just find it so bloody odd that people react like that online. It’s like kids throwing their toys out of their prams. Why did he not try to discuss the issue with me first? Why did he think that banning me from his group would achieve anything (other than making me respect the guy rather less)? Why did he feel the need to block me over the matter?

The message he posted me read as follows:


From that, I guess he’s offended that he thinks I’m taking an anti-Israel stance — which isn’t the point of the group in the slightest. He’s not made any effort to ask me about my opinions, merely made that assumption. But, what’s wierder about it (and suggests either that he didn’t read the text very carefully or that he is rather pro-Israel on the subject) is that I’ve not said anything about supporting terrorists. I want an end to the killing by both sides.

As it happens, I do think that a lot of the problem is Israel’s overreaction to the threat by Hezbollah, who weren’t shooting rockets into Northern Israel until after Israel had overreacted to the capture of one IDF soldier near the Gaza Strip. But that doesn’t mean I support Hezbollah — far from it, indeed. They’re killing and terrorising people too, albeit on a dramatically smaller scale than Israel is doing.

But, of course, he doesn’t know that. Because he didn’t ask.


For the record, the reply I drafted out, before Flickr told me that I’m blocked, so can’t actually reply (so why not tell me that on the compose-message page?!) read as follows:

The IDF is killing civilians all over Southern Lebanon, ignoring that many people there are physically unable to leave the area — it’s not their fault that Hezbollah terrorists are in the same part of the country.

I’m not saying Hezbollah are right to send rockets into Israel. That kills innocent people as well. The whole purpose of the black ribbon thing (which is nowhere near my hair, in case you’d not noticed) is that BOTH sides are wrong. I can understand why EACH side is doing what it’s doing, but BOTH sides are wrong. I want an end to the killing from both sides.

And why would I want to go on holiday in Iran anyways? That’s a pretty dumb thing to suggest.

Frankly, I find it offensive that a disagreement on a totally unrelated political issue means that you think it’s appropriate to block me from a group you administer, but whatever.

If you want to discuss the issue, you know where to find me. If not, whatever. Not seeing someone’s photos (no matter how much I enjoy the images) is hardly gonna end my world now, is it?

Feel free to message me back, anyways. I’d much rather have a grown up discussion than emails all in capitals with logic that’s just plain wierd.

Hope you’re well,


Why do people react like that. I mean, Jesus, it’s only a fucking website! :o)


A quick update from my phone, as it’s been quite so long since I blogged about what’s going on in my life. Mainly, to be fair, because I’ve not really had a working PC at home all year.

Alan (), Jen () and I have finally moved house, within Ilford. We’re now even closer to the station, in a bigger, nicer flat. We’re settling in ok, though we don’t have Internet or cable TV yet, which should be remedied this month.

The new job is going really well. I’m really enjoying it and hadn’t realised how pissed off the old one was making me. Everyone at uSwitch is really nice and I’ve finally got round to coming out to the lads last Friday and noone’s even slightly phased by it, which is good.

Getting really pissed off with various things about Britain — particularly our government, who I now think are damaging Britain about as much as Maggie did. (Yes, Tommy / , I will reply to your comments on my earlier post 🙂 . I’m also increasingly pissed off with our transport infrastructure, which has been fucked up by Labour’s ridiculous obsession with übercapitalism and PPP schemes (much like our health service). My main bugbear atm is that even our most modern tube line, the Jubilee, has eight-minute gaps in its rush-hour service each morning, which is just ridiculous. Ken should have continued his legal battle against Gordon’s stupid cult of the private sector.

I’m a bit nervous about going into hospital next week. I keep describing it as a “nose job”, but they need to move my nasal septum to sort out my sinus problems, apparently. It shouldn’t be too big a deal — I go in early on Weds, have the op later that morning, stay overnight and get discharged Thurs lunchtime. Then I spend two weeks at home, recuperating and avoiding dust and pollen, lest I get major nosebleeds. Cable TV should be being installed on the Friday, the Net shortly thereafter (and Scott’s offered to lend me a Libretto so I can 3G online, if necessary).

Anyways, I should get back to work (having typed this on the tube, then on the loo), as I appear to have broken all the list-based controls at work, so I need to get a fix out.

Normal service will resume as soon as I get a working PC and a working Net connexion at home! xxx

New Labour must die

Brief rant, whilst I wait for Windows to transfer my settings to a deeply shiny new machine. Much of this is culled directly from a somewhat intemperate email I sent a political friend of mine the other day.

I’ve got to the point now, where I think Labour are doing / have done more harm than good. I actively want Blair out and, if the only way to do it is to vote Cameron in, then that’ll have to do. I am so completely disillusioned with the New Labour project that I now believe it’s a complete failure and our foreign policy makes me actively ashamed to be British.

The few of his measures that were economic-left are failing to have the desired effects — the gap between rich and poor has widened — and his knee-jerk authoritarianism is massively counterproductive, especially in the fight against terrorism, which is nowhere near as important as Blair seems to think it is. Our foreign policy is wholly morally bankrupt and so many things that government ministers have done seem to smack of self-interest and corruption, and Blair’s pathetic attempts to cling onto power for as long as possible, with his friends trying to keep Gordon out.

This government is perceived as more sleazy and corrupt than John Major‘s was. New Labour has betrayed all our hopes from 1997 and, more to the point, has possibly made a(nother?) modernising, left-wing government impossible for up to a generation. The Third Way has failed completely and Blair’s name should be blackened in the books of history. He is the most abject failure of a Prime Minister we’ve seen in decades, if not centuries, and he has turned the UK into a willing puppet state of the US, whose policies are the most malign influence on world politics since World War 2.

Words cannot express how pissed off I am with this government. They need to be out of power now; Britain cannot afford the damage they’re continuing to do in the interim.

A few other points:

  • As I mentioned to another friend by text earlier, this terror warning scheme is a crock of shit. It serves no purpose in combatting terror and only serves to make people more fearful. It’s a sign of how traitorous our government is that I no longer even think it cynical to believe that making us scared, to make us easier to control is all of the point. And I feel somewhat comforted to be reminded that Bruce Schneier thinks so too.
  • Yet another opportunity for people to tell Tony we told him so. Britain’s outgoing ambassador to Iraq says civil war is more likely than democracy. No shit. Didn’t the entire anti-war movement say that several years ago? Is Blair really so stupid to think that maintaining the craven closeness to an imbecilic US administration — and destroying yet another Muslim state in the process — is in the national interest?
  • There’s an emergency Stop the War demo in London on Saturday, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Near East. Because our Prime Minister is too fucking stupid to do it himself. And, whether you can make it or not, you should sign the petition calling on Blair to do the right thing. Frankly, I’d rather he commit hara-kiri, but developing a spine and a conscience would do, I suppose.

Well, that’ll do for ranting for the moment…

Fucking fascist New Labour scum

Today, Corporal Gordon Alexander Pritchard died, the 100th British soldier died in a place he shouldn’t have been, put there by two war criminals hiding behind the power of being heads of state (albeit only de facto, not de jure, in one case).

And the ridiculous, constant flow of unnecessary anti-terrorism legislation claims another victim to the database state.

Now, it wasn’t considered a treasonous coup d’état when they invited bloody king Billy. Who can we invite over to replace bloody Tony.

Too tired to rant more.


So the smug cunt lost one at last. Though I’m pretty impressed by quite how much. The government has a notional majority of 71 at the moment, if you exclude the Sinn Féin MPs, yet he still lost by 31 votes.

And quite right too. It comes to something when I’m agreeing with Andrew Gilligan and the Tories! It was under 1000 days ago* that the government used exactly the same arguments to persuade Parliament to double the internment time allowed and grant them the longest period in a democracy anywhere on the planet. Now, rather than suspending habeas corpus indefinitely for foreign nationals and for a fortnight for Brits, they’re wanting to suspend it for three whole months. Three months of detention for someone innocent (and there’s bound to be at least one accident, obviously) could destroy their life.

And we don’t even need these powers to be granted to the cops; all the pretexts are utter bollocks. The main problem (as Gilligan pointed out in this evening’s Standard) is that cops can’t continue interviewing people once they’re charged. Change this (it’s in the PACE Code of Practice, not statute law, so much easier to change, even) and half of the problems go away. More importantly, though, the idea that there’s nothing that people could be charged with if they’re suspected of terrorism is just ludicrous; even encryption doesn’t pose a problem there because (a) three months won’t allow them to decrypt anything and (b) the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2001 was specifically designed to handle problems like that.

Anyways, I want to go to bed, so I’m gonna stop ranting and just keep enjoying that Blair finally got defeated. On a civil liberties issue. Not very surprising, as he’s almost certainly the least liberal Prime Minister we’ve ever had and pisses all over civil liberties at almost every opportunity, but about fucking time.

So when will he fall on his sword and realise he commands neither the respect of his party nor that of the public and that Labour would have had a much larger majority in May had he not been leading the party?

* 921, if you’re that bothered