British censorship of Wikipedia prevents anonymous editing

Cory wrote over the weekend about British service providers blocking access to wikipedia, due to an old Scorpions album cover that looks to the local nannies like kiddie porn. It turns out that the method used breaks the whole site.
Over the weekend, the British Internet Watch Foundationplaced Wikipedia on its blacklist when the group was told the encyclopedia had published the banned cover of a 1970s Scorpions album, Virgin Killer , featuring a naked prepubescent girl. ... But because of the Internet Watch Foundation blacklisting, British internet service providers are currently redirecting Wikipedia traffic to a proxy server. When British editors log in via that proxy server, Wikipedia’s systems cannot verify their unique IP addresses, and is blocking most access to British editors because it cannot adequately verify them. "Everybody is looking exactly the same to us," Walsh added, adding that the group is disappointed by being censored.
The rationale is that if something might be used by a bad person to do a bad thing, or even to pursue a bad thought, it's intrinsically threatening to society at large and must be banned. In the past, this curtain-twitching authoritarianism was just another characteristic eccentricity of British life. Over the last ten years, however, my home's become unrecognizable to me–it's as if these people have taken over! The unsettling British obsession with pedophilia is creepy enough, but there's worse in store. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith recently said that to make police accountable to elected politicians would be a "Stalinist" interference with their operational independence. We look at it, we laugh at it, but we just won't face it: she's openly describing a police state, and we're just not bovvered. Wikipedia Blocks British Editors Amid Censorship Flap [27Bstroke6]

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11 Responses to British censorship of Wikipedia prevents anonymous editing

  1. controlbroke says:

    we believe that paedophiles are using an area of the internet the size of Ireland

  2. Not a Doktor says:

    I find that as I get older I find more parallels between Britain and Japan:
    -dreary working class
    -pedo obsession
    -messed up teef

  3. Matthew Walton says:

    Oh yes, when we had smallpox and cholera and other such delights. All periods of history suck in some way.

    Jacqui Smith just irritates me more and more. On one hand, I can see that somebody needs to be able to pull up the police when they go to far, but the likely context of that remark is the affair with an MP being arrested and his office searched, where the reporting of the outcry seems to imply that they think MPs should be immune to prosecution! Some sort of balance is required (of course the Police and the MPs are both supposed to be loyal to the Queen, so maybe she could give them both a stern talking-to).

    As for the IWF… I’ve not seen the image in question on Wikipedia because my ISP use their blocklist, but I’m extremely cross about it. From the descriptions it doesn’t sound illegal, the IWF only say ‘possibly illegal’, and who are the IWF anyway? Get away from my tubes!

  4. Anonymous says:

    For those of you browsing from work, the image in question is a full-cover frontal image of a naked 12-year-old, with a tiny cracked-glass effect in front of her groin. There was a big flap when it was originally published; I’m kind of amazed they got away with it even then.

    So, yeah, it actually is as bad as it sounds. Not sure if it justifies the response it’s gotten or not, but isn’t just a random freakout over nothing; it’s some seriously nasty stuff.

  5. Simon Greenwood says:

    Gah, it’s only *anonymous* editing that is prevented through the proxy. If you log in with a valid username, as editors should in my opinion, you can hack away to your heart’s content. It doesn’t make it right of course and it’s an artifact of the hamfisted way in which *some* ISPs are handling the blocked page but it’s not the whole of the story.

  6. Bevatron Repairman says:

    Sigh. There always will have been an England.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh, so actually its wikipedia itself that’s blocking users, because it doesnt like totally anonymous edits, because totally anonymous users might write something that the powers that be at wikipedia dont like.

    Sounds like wikipedia is doing most of the censorship here. How unsurprisingly hypocritical.

  8. strougly says:

    you mean the imperialistic, monarchistic, pint swilling, hooligan populated, cctv infested, ethno-centric, blindly nationalistic kingdom of old?

    ah, how you long for the days of oppressing people on continents far away, with skin darker than your own. *sigh* those were the days…

  9. Schorsch says:

    For you Brits who can’t see the image: It’s bad. It’s a naked girl, maybe 9 or 10, in a provocative pose.

    This is just another example of the uncomfortable position defending speech puts us in. Yes, freedoms should be protected, but one wishes people wouldn’t do such horrid things with their freedoms once given.

  10. Schorsch says:

    Oh, and also: According to the site that you can’t see (thanks censors!), the art was pushed on the band by the record label, deliberately trying to generate controversy and therefore sales. Not exactly high art. To be protected, for sure, but not laudable.

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