Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous | Next

Watching Big Brother

So, who's heard of the Internet Watch Foundation? Me neither, but we should have. If you're in the UK - and especially if you're with certain ISPs - they're deciding what you're allowed to look at on the internet. El Reg has the story:

Six British ISPs are filtering access to Wikipedia after the site was added to an Internet Watch Foundation child-pornography blacklist, according to Wikipedia administrators.

As of Sunday morning UK time, certain British web surfers were unable to view at least one Wikipedia article tagged with ostensible child porn. And, in a roundabout way, the filtering has resulted in Wikipedia admins banning large swaths of the United Kingdom from editing the "free encyclopedia anyone can edit."

The "ostensible child porn" was a Scorpions album cover from 1976, incidentally. Apart from the "secret censorship" issue - I certainly didn't know that my ISP was limiting my internet access based on a list from a non-accountable association - what's really aggravating me is that not only are they censoring my internet use, they're lying about it. If I follow a link that they've censored, I get a "404 not found", rather than a "Censored". Grrrr. I really like my ISP, and there are workarounds to the censorship, but this sucks. I'm thinking of phoning them just to register a complaint, but I don't know if it'll do any good.

On the bright side, people seem to be making a fuss about it. It's probably lucky that they've managed to be so incompetent as to manage to block most UK users on these ISPS (Virgin Media, Be Unlimited/O2/Telefonica, EasyNet/UK Online, PlusNet, Demon, and Opal) from editing Wikipedia, otherwise it wouldn't be getting nearly so much attention. And of course, thanks to the Streisand effect, the censored page in question is currently getting nearly twice as many hits as any other wiki page.

Can't stop the signal.


Dec. 9th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
The "ostensible child porn" was a Scorpions album cover from 1976, incidentally.

Interestingly, on a forum I post to this story managed to get a thread devoted to it and a few people clicked the link (the "Streisland Effect", there ;) ) and actually said that they were shocked by the image and wished they hadn't seen it which I found interesting given that I've seen it before and didn't find it that shocking (mainly because I couldn't help but see it in context) although I found it extremely tasteless and typical of the ugly sexism in 1970s rock generally. Other people pointed out that the image isn't even necessary for the article in question since an alternative album cover was released and could be used.


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

Latest Month

November 2010

Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com