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Mon 8th Dec 12:08 2008: UK ISP Censorship debate

There has been some noise yesterday and today about the Wikipedia Article on the German Metal band Scorpions' 1976 album Virgin Killer. The album sleeve contains a picture of a naked prepubescent girl tied up. Wikipedia include a thumbnail of the album sleeve as part of the article, which links to a larger picture.

You would certainly not get away with publishing an album sleeve like that today, but this record is still available with this cover from some places, apparently. I do not know whose job it is to go around digging out old 1970s album sleeves and reviewing their acceptability in 2008. It does feel rather reminiscent of Spinal Tap.

I don't want to spend time getting in to the rights and wrongs of the issue; this is just to note that whilst many UK ISPs have blocked access to the entire article, using proxy servers to give a 404 "Page not found", Sky Broadband are allowing access to the article itself, but blocking access to the picture (which is of course easily available elsewhere).

Update Daniel Silverstone has a fairly clear, coherent message to ISPs on the subject of censoring the internet without the customer's explicit permission

Update Richard Clayton has a very good writeup of the event now that the censorship has been removed and all is back to normal

Comments for 'UK ISP Censorship debate'

Mon 8 Dec 2008 @ 21:57 GMT :
Apparently 'Demon' internet are ok with it...
Mon 8 Dec 2008 @ 21:59 GMT :
..or not. The article and thumbnail persist, but the picture is blocked apparently with a 403:-

"We have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page."
Tue 9 Dec 2008 @ 00:00 GMT : Steve Parker
At least an injected 403 is more honest than an injected 404, I suppose.

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