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IWF Backs Down On Wiki Censorship

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the that-streisand-thing-again dept.

Censorship 226

jonbryce writes "The Internet Watch Foundation, guardians of the Great Firewall of Britain, have stopped censoring Wikipedia for hosting what they considered to be a child porn image. They had previously threatened to block Amazon for hosting the same image." Here is the IWF's statement, which credits the Streisand Effect for opening their eyes: "...in light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability, the decision has been taken to remove this webpage from our list. Any further reported instances of this image which are hosted abroad, will not be added to the list. ... IWF's overriding objective is to minimize the availability of indecent images of children on the internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect."

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Whoo! (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051539)

We humbled Kany... WE humbled the IFW!

Re:Whoo! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26051599)

I'm rather surprised personally that they even admitted that it was their efforts that created the opposite effect rather than trying to label those talking about it as being "part of the problem" like most groups do for these kinds of issues.

Re:Whoo! (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052903)

Its almost like they were trying to do the right thing and realised they did the wrong thing.

not a "child porn" image (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051609)

Let's get it right; the IWF didn't say the page was porn; they said it was "potential illegal child sexual abuse." Most people seem to have assumed this was because the album cover artwork on the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] included an image of a naked girl, but the reality is that IWF only wanted to protect children from the horrors of having to listen to anything released by the Scorpions.

NOFX - Fuck The Kids (4, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051893)

but the reality is that IWF only wanted to protect children from the horrors of having to listen to anything released by the Scorpions.

Than and all they had to do is make a press release, and garner worldwide attention. Some of it negative, but think of all the increased support by religious types. This was just an elaborate marketing ploy on their behalf that is sure to increase donations to their coffers while providing free media coverage over such a nonstarter of a band, issue and picture.

Re:NOFX - Fuck The Kids (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052549)

while in a way i appreciate your pick in the post 'subject', i feel it was not notable enough ;)
on other hand, try to google 'streisand'. weird, i get "Streisand effect" as the 3rd hit. hi, barbara. feel like being on the wrong slice of celebrities ?

Hmmm (2, Informative)

goldcd (587052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052671)

If you wanted to get cynical over this, that's not the best approach to take.
IWF is organization set up by ISPs. I believe their remit is to flag and block anything possibly illegal, allowing the legal/illegal argument to then be made (and any action taken). Their REAL purpose is to keep governments off the backs of ISPs - we're regulating ourselves, so you can leave us alone.
Now.
New bit of law just rolling out (Jan '09) outlaws 'extreme porn' in the UK. Complete and utter knee-jerk, poorly thought out crap we've come to expect from my government - for example, a clear definition of 'extreme' might have been thought be some to be a pre-requisite to such a law. We've now got some wooly f'in mess where a sizable chunk of the internet could be considered 'extreme'.
So who's going to be involved in this stupid law - IWF. Poor fuckers, don't envy them at all. Anyway.. if you were in the IWF's position of having to prevent people downloading 'extreme' material with the following options:
1) Arrest everybody who looks at anything vaquely offensive.
2) Allow everybody to look at everything and get government regulation applied (How's that going Australia?).

Just sort of suggesting that our collectively national focus even being very slightly brought to this issue, can do nothing but improve the current situation.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052915)

That's bullshit, the IWF is part of the problem. They're the ones that help make the laws.

The IWF want to censor:

- Cartoon porn
- Morbid images
- Bombing pics
- Beheadings

Yeah, wouldn't want to know anything about what those muslims are doing to our troops or what our troops are blowing up now would we?

Also you're self regulating crap shows part of the problem. They use the IWF to stop competition coming into the ISP market for the UK. As soon as they get that law requiring all ISPs to be part of the IWF (oh and you can bet that's coming in) they'll jack up membership subscriptions to unbuyable prices.

Oh you didn't know? You have to pay money to be apart of this "charity".

Re:not a "child porn" image (2, Insightful)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051985)

I see that the "page not found" blocking still seems to be in effect, at least for my connection.

This is a welcome move announcing that it was a mistake to block this particular instance. It is the height of foolishness to block an encyclopedia, particularly for content that has been in the public domain for thirty years or so.

Thought crime should not be something that the free world invokes as a weapon against criminality. We have fought wars with states that created the idea of thought crime and it would be a great pity if we find ourselves fighting our own states through the stupidity of do-gooders. No matter how compelling their mission. Fight the crime not the side effects.

So great news and I hope that the offending item becomes available again after a discrete interval. It is of course all over Google image search and no doubt unpleasantly popular as a result of the ban.

Re:not a "child porn" image (2, Informative)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052169)

You're in the UK, I presume? It could be because Wikipedia was in turn blocking a lot of the UK -- someone more technical minded than me can explain that part of it. Guess it'll take a bit for them to remove that block, too.

Re:not a "child porn" image (3, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052233)

It wasn't Wikipedia blocking people from the UK specifically.

It was Wikipedias' limits on edits from anonymous users from a single IP. A side effect of the filtering was that all traffic from the ISPs being filtered by the IWF was that all of the requests came from the IWF IP, so it looked like everyone in the UK was sharing a few/single IP address.

Re:not a "child porn" image (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052001)

Why stop there?

What about the disgusting child porn proudly features on Nirvana's Nevermind album, Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy, Blind Faith's self-titled album [cddesign.com] ; also Van Halen's Balance [wikimedia.org] album cover, The Coppertone Girl [wikipedia.org] , and all the Family guy jokes about child sex and bestiality(Stewie: "I'd do her, do her, lose the pigtails and we'll talk, ugh who hasn't done her?" as well as Brian's relationships with human women), The now well-discussed showing of Bart's pecker in the Simpsons movie, The Winger song "Seventeen", The Police song "Don't Stand...".

Hmmph. I guess we're all guilty of possessing and consuming what people call "child pornography".

Re:not a "child porn" image (0, Offtopic)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052071)

Oh, one more thing: the family movie "Milk Money" released in 1994 which depicts a prostitute showing her bare breasts to a boy in exchange for a few bucks. The actual shot shows her topless from behind as the kid watches. CHILD PORN!!!1!!!

Re:not a "child porn" image (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052445)

I hope you were a good citizen and informed the IWF.

Re:not a "child porn" image (2, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052999)

Hmmph. I guess we're all guilty of possessing and consuming what people call "child pornography".

Maybe you pervs are all guilty, trying to pass off your fetish as "mainstream". I haven't heard of any of those things. Family Guy? Nirvana? WTF are those?!

Except Winger. I've heard of them, but not the song "Seventeen". Must be one of their less popular ones, after they sold out.

Re:not a "child porn" image (1)

mad_robot (960268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052163)

What is "potentially" illegal supposed to mean?

Militant feminists used to be fond of saying that every man is a potential rapist, until someone pointed out that you could also say every man is a potential woman.

Re:not a "child porn" image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052483)

until someone pointed out that you could also say every man is a potential woman

Is that seriously what happened? "Someone" pointed that out, and they all just stopped saying it? Is that REALLY how it ACTUALLY HAPPENED?

Re:not a "child porn" image (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052647)

that is correct.

Good Grief (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051611)

omeone better start blocking this bit of smut from that den of molesters at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Raffael_030.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Sick, I tell you, sick!

Re:Good Grief (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052321)

I agree, Charlie Brown. (see post title...)

Re:Good Grief (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052727)

You have a myspace homepage.

You do not belong here.

Go a-way.

Re:Good Grief (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052715)

omeone better start blocking this bit of smut from that den of molesters at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Raffael_030.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Sick, I tell you, sick!

It may be sick to you, but I, for one, welcome our naked, cherubic overlo...wait....

mob rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26051619)

Makes me wonder if they would block an identical image released next week. Considering how absolute they seem to be in their judgment of these types of images it seem surprising that they would care about the age of the image (child porn is child porn). Anyway, good news for manga artists and readers everywhere.

Re:mob rule (3, Informative)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052133)

According to their statement, they have decided to never take any future action against the same image if it is hosted outside the UK, but if they find it hosted in the UK, it will be "assessed in line with IWF procedures", which means they will threaten the web site with prosecution.

Which of course means that those of us in the UK we will have to be content with seeing it on Wikipedia, Amazon and so on, or with buying it in record shops, or with reading books containing the picture, and so on, and so on.

Be honest! (-1, Flamebait)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051667)

I for one thought the image was HOT. Be honest now, I'll bet more than half the guys here and maybe some of the females (well, that would be, what, 5 or 6?) think so too, but just don't want to get labled a perv.

Fact is, the USA and GB are dominated by prudes, and much of the rest of the world thinks we're crazy.

Re:Be honest! (4, Insightful)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051711)

No, it's pretty tasteless, and probably was at the time too. However, I don't consider it child porn, otherwise I think the band would have not been allowed to release it and several people would have been arrested.

Re:Be honest! (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051781)

Yes, and banning the image now would be like going back to sensor re-runs of television shows from the 70's. That's awesome! Perhaps we can get rock-a-billy music censored out of existence?

Re:Be honest! (1)

SkankinMonkey (528381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051867)

I don't think I ever advocated banning the image in my post, though you can correct me if I'm wrong. Lots of things are tasteless but not illegal, and it should probably remain that way.

Re:Be honest! (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052087)

I wouldn't call it tasteless, sure the little bastard is ugly as sin but its just an imagine of a naked human. As tasteless as any other, maybe less so as the wrinkles and jangly bits [papuatrekking.com] have yet to drop to the floor.

Re:Be honest! (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052277)

"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

- George Orwell, 1984

Re:Be honest! (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052187)

However, I don't consider it child porn, otherwise I think the band would have not been allowed to release it and several people would have been arrested.

So something is child porn if you get censored or arrested for producing it?

Interesting metric.

Re:Be honest! (4, Interesting)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052211)

Back in the 70s, everyone had a much more relaxed attitude to this sort of thing. According to wikipedia, there was even a spread of a naked 11-year-old girl in the Italian edition of Playboy in 1976. It is only in the last few years that activists have spread the idea that it is bad to look at pictures of naked children.

So, the picture was legal when it was first released, but may well be illegal now, at least in the UK.

Be serious. (1)

nesquik_bureaux (1419605) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051803)

I thought she was a bit of a dog frankly. Not a patch on the Olsen twins. But seriously, it's not supposed to be erotic is it? Surely it's just an artistic message about the social construction of gender identity?

Re:Be serious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26051969)

Surely it's just an artistic message about the social construction of gender identity?

From the Scorpians? No, it's about sex.

Re:Be serious. (2, Insightful)

Kenyai (1422451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052153)

Actually, it's about the passage of time murdering everyone.

The end times? (4, Interesting)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051685)

huh, a censorship organisation that's capable of acquiring new information, and using that to change their actions.

I didn't think that I'd live long enough to see the day where such a thing would happen.

Isn't there someplace in Revelations where they mention this?
"And yea, look ye unto the people running the anti-child porn organizations on the intertubes. For they shall learn the error of their ways (temporarily) and it shall be a sign that the end of all things is upon you."

Re:The end times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052115)

Let me just say, kudos to everyone who copied the image and linked to it. If one of you had stood alone, you would have been dragged over the coals like Gary Glitter.

Because it's easy to stand against censorship when the issue is purely about freedom. The very mention of child porn is enough to shut down the common sense circuits of most people's brains. Freedom of speech? Sure, great idea, unless you're a PAEDO SYMPATHISER!

In spite of that, you stood together, and the censors were forced to back down. Let us hope that future battles against censorship are fought this well.

Re:The end times? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26053077)

Isn't there someplace in Revelations where they mention this?

Arrrrrrrgh! It's the BOOK OF REVELATION. Do you see that? There is no "s" on the end. There really isn't! I truly thought this was common knowledge by now, but no, everyone keeps writing "Revelations". It drives me fucking batty .

Still... (5, Insightful)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051699)

They still didn't admit it was wrong, they said their plan didn't work.
They are also admitting that kiddie porn images can be copied and transferred all over the world with no effort.
Unfortunately, I bet they still think it's possible to censor thoughts out of existence.

Well, yes. (0)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051967)

Thoughts are easy to censor out of existance, trivially easy - it's called a 'bullet'.

Re:Well, yes. (0, Flamebait)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052323)

Try this on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Game_(mind_game) [wikipedia.org]

How can a bullet stop the game? For that matter, how do you plan on telling the players from the non-players, especially if people ignore rule 3 (as they most often do)?

Re:Well, yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26053063)

Asshole, I just lost the game.. : /

I'm Relieved (5, Insightful)

Kenyai (1422451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051769)

This particular situation was so ridiculous, I'm glad they realized what fools they were making of themselves. I mean, if the image had been hurting anyone in any way at all, I would have a different opinion. But as we have heard, the girl in question has stated herself that she's fine with it, was fine with it back then, and her parents were fine with it back then. Plus the fact that it's been available since the 1970s, in my opinion, means that it is actually a culturally significant work of art. Etc. Censorship is such an old issue, you would think people would realize when these policing agencies are crossing the line.

Re:I'm Relieved (4, Insightful)

rhizome (115711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053041)

you would think people would realize when these policing agencies are crossing the line.

Unfortunately, your enthusiasm will fall flat when you learn that the policy still remains in effect and it's just this one case that has been corruptly allowed to remain. This is how they get their cake, eat it, and have the IWF legitimized. I imagine the meeting went something like "OK, if we give them this one, their complaints about the general policy will lose force."

child molestors... (3, Interesting)

gd23ka (324741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051811)

The only thing that I find hilarious about this is that the people behind groups like the "Internet Watch Foundation"
are from the same social strata that regularly gives us child molestors of the likes such as Marc Dutroux in Belgium
along with his cronies in the Belgian Government.

But of course the child pornography / pornography / minority rights etc. etc. debate is just the right orbital slot
for the popular indignation needed to fuel the underlying agenda which is to monitor and restrict free thought
and free speech, I think many of us not so profane anymores have already realized this.

Re:child molestors... (2, Interesting)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052251)

Well, if you are a pervert and want unfettered access to the worst images the internet can provide, what better plan than to set yourself up as a censor. You don't even have to search for the dirt: people will come and tell you the URLs to look at!

Re:child molestors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052949)

Mod parent up!

I don't like the suddenoutbreakofcommonsense tag (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051825)

...not in this instance anyway. These people were effectively forced to see the light and had to defend its indefensible actions. Finding that they could not and that, as the streissand effect goes, causes more attention to the matter than they were seeking.

I'm not sure what a better tag might be, but the image of cockroaches running away hiding from the light might be more apt in this case. These people seeking to censor too much find themselves in indefensible positions when light is shined on them.

Re:I don't like the suddenoutbreakofcommonsense ta (1)

bugnuts (94678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051989)

how about "suddenbricktothehead"?

Re:I don't like the suddenoutbreakofcommonsense ta (1)

KovaaK (1347019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052185)

These people seeking to censor too much find themselves in indefensible positions when light is shined on them.

Does that imply that there exists a line where it is alright to censor things? I only ask because it seems like the rest of your post is in general suggesting that there is not. After all, if there was a reasonable line where censorship can be applied, then this could accurately be called an outbreak of common sense when they realize that they stepped past that line, right?

Re:I don't like the suddenoutbreakofcommonsense ta (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052407)

Of course there's a line where it's alright to censor things. The telemarketing industry, for instance, tried to play the censorship card to trump do-not-call list legislation. It didn't work.

I tried to look up the pictures on the web... (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051833)

...but they were all underdeveloped.

Kinda makes you wonder... (5, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051837)

What else have they censored that dont have the "name recognition" like Wiki or Amazon?

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (4, Insightful)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051919)

I think that ISPs should be required to notify us when pages are censored. This is a "you've been censored" page from Demon [thus.net] ; but there's nothing equivalent from Be, Virgin, Sky and the rest.

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052649)

Sky, in fact, is still censoring it [wikipedia.org] , by showing a fake 404 page, as of this writing. Those who don't know what Wikimedia's real 404 page looks like would never know they're being censored. Meanwhile access to Wikipedia is still slow as molasses due to being transparently tunneled through a single proxy bottleneck.

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (4, Interesting)

robably (1044462) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053147)

I emailed VirginMedia (my ISP) on Sunday about them censoring Wikipedia, and got a reply today. I asked why they showed a generic error page for the blocked URL instead of explaining they had blocked it, I asked them about the IWF, if they would provide an uncensored internet connection to those who asked, and if they provided a list of what else they were blocking.

They denied that they "actively" block anything (?), and then suggested the blocked Scorpions page was a fault with Wikipedia or with my computer settings. I'm looking for a new ISP.

Reply from VirginMedia:
Thank you for your e-mail dated 7 December 2008.

We're sorry to hear you feel we have censored our internet connection, we are a part of the Internet Watch Foundation and this is a common code of practise between many service providors, we do not activley block content and do not have a list of blocked content nor do we provide a censored or uncensored Broadband service. Sites with restricted content may be blocked for many reasons, these include the providor of the website or service, your internet security settings or if the site has been removed or disabled or is having technical issues.

If you have further queries regarding this matter or any other issue, please use the link provided below:
www.virginmedia.com/contact
Please note if you reply directly to this e-mail your response will not be received.
Kind regards
Customer Concern
E-Contact Team
Virgin Media

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (4, Interesting)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052283)

I don't know what happens in the UK and the rest of Europe, but I know here in australia they have already passed an amendment to the freedom of information act to *exclude* the internet blacklist from any FOI requests.
http://www.efa.org.au/2008/11/15/filtering-pilot-and-acma-blacklist-not-just-illegal-material/ [efa.org.au]

Yep, thats right. The AU govt is planning on increasing the blacklist of banned websites by an order of magnitude (that they will admit to, but now it will be difficult to tell), and they have taken steps to make sure there can be no oversight

We all know how well this works, don't we. [cnet.com]

That scares me more than the actual censorship.

Re:Kinda makes you wonder... (1)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053241)

As far as keeping the black-list secret, I think the authorities have a problem.

At least here in Sweden, when you try accessing a 'forbidden' page, you get directed (via forged DNS answers) to a page on a (police ?) server, telling you what you are trying to access and that this is forbidden.

This makes finding out what sites are banned easy: a simple script that does a DNS query for every possible domain will turn up the entire list used by the ISPs.

To make things easy on the ISP the DNS-bombardment could be distributed among a few hundred volunteers with fast connections. The only results that would have to be stored are those that generate the IP-address to the server showing the you-have-tried-accessing-child-porn-warning. These results would then be merged to a single list.

And, in my mind, this list, since it has not been leaked by the police but created independently of the authorities, cannot be considered secret. Thus, the list of banned sites would be out in the open.

Small Victory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26051845)

Great! An image which was defined as child abuse is no longer so, and I can resume Wiki editing without going through a technical rigmarole.

This will be presented as a victory over the IWF, but I do not think that is true. FWIW, I think the IWF did it's job correctly.

That doesn't mean I support them - I feel that people like the IWF are best dropped in a swamp with an anvil tied to their legs - but by their lights they have behaved correctly. The UK law on pornography and child abuse is so widely drawn that almost anything can break it, and almost certainly people have been convicted under it for holding images similar to the Virgin Killers cover. The image was NOT child abuse, but WAS probably against UK law. Now, magically, it is not, and the law is an ass...

The problem here is with the law, and the whole idea of criminalising people in possession of porn. There was, and is, no need for any law of this kind. If children are raped or abused for gain, there are perfectly good laws against rape and abuse, and no doubt the fact that a crime was committed against a minor will be reflected in the sentence if someone is found guilty of such an offence.

It is the people who abuse that should be sought out and dealt with. Attacking those who possess pictures is an easier task, but just sweeps the problem under society's collective carpet.

It looks like Big Government is making a mess of the war on nudity, like they have with the war on drugs and the war on terror.....

Re:Small Victory... (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052151)

So you think that people that pay for images of this stuff don't contribute to the perpetuation of it?

Re:Small Victory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052457)

no, because why pay for it when you can get it for free over kazaa, limewire, bittorrent, and all those p2p networks?

Re:Small Victory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052467)

I don't have a problem with the perpetuation of it. It's an LP cover, for god's sake!

Take what passes for your brains out, put in a cushion to improve your IQ and judgement, look at the picture again and tell me that it's child abuse.....

Re:Small Victory... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052355)

Naah. You still have to go through the technical rigmarole. They're still filtering via the same mechanisms, which is massive proxy serving, it just means that this one location isn't on the list any more. The proxy's are still banned from editing.

Re:Small Victory... (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052373)

DAMNIT. proxys proxys proxys. Stupid extraneous apostrophes.

Re:Small Victory... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052747)

Just snuck in there while you weren't looking, did it? :)

You'd think... (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051869)

...that an internet organisation that's been around since 1996 would understand the internet and would've realised the storm that censoring Wikipedia would cause and the resultant effect.

But frankly, to me there's a more important issue here- the IWF has accepted they're wrong which raises the question as to whether procedures need to be put in place to prevent mistakes happening again. The IWF is in a position of immense power and failures to perform their duties correctly need to have repercussions.

There have been various conspiracy theories as to whether the IWF was testing the water in light of Britain's new extreme porn law which makes BDSM and such illegal and hence whether the IWF was seeing what the response would be if they were to start filtering this out- particularly as scenes that could be deemed to be extreme porn exist in many common and publicly accesible places. To filter extreme porn as they do child porn they'd most certainly have to go after a lot more mainstream sites, it would no longer be a case of simply filtering out underground sites that only a small minority of people who are already classed as criminals visit.

Whatever the real aim of this was, whether it was simply a blunder or not, I hope for one thing- that the IWF now ensure they concentrate on what they're supposed to concentrate on, helping prevent child abuse and access to sites that really do gain money and so forth from such abuse and also that this has put to sleep any ideas of a power grab or increase in censorship to other, arguably harmless areas for the IWF.

Re:You'd think... (4, Informative)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052077)

Agreed. And that new law about S&M porn is pure moralistic censorship with a thin, fabricated "think of the women/children!" justification.

Going after legitimate businesses like kink.com and insex.com is counterproductive to what SHOULD be the real concern: pornography that features nonconsensual acts.

Those kinky porn models enjoy what they do and get paid well [kink.com] for it. In fact, if you check out the 6th preview video for all of the segments featured on www.free-hardcore.com, you'll notice that pretty much every model that does a shoot says they'd like to do it again. Which is probably pretty shocking to all of those censor-happy prudes in government, considering the subject matter and the fact that they themselves are probably not interested in such sex acts. Otherwise they'd have to realize how stupidly ridiculous all of this is.

Re:You'd think... (2, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052191)

the IWF has accepted they're wrong

Well, the IWF didn't really say "sorry, we were wrong to classify that image as indecent" or even "sorry, we were wrong to censor that website". What they actually said was "oops, we tried to censor but failed." As such, they are merely saying that they have reversed the censoring simply because of the publicity and the overall failure in suppressing the image (quite the opposite: more people were exposed to the image as a result of the ban).

This is hardly the admission of failure that many of us were looking for. They maintain that the image is indecent, and that they will continue to try to censor sites that host it (or images like it).

which raises the question as to whether procedures need to be put in place to prevent mistakes happening again.

They specifically state that they will continue to investigate sites (or at least UK sites) that host that image. Clearly they do not consider their previous actions to be "mistakes."

I hope for one thing- that the IWF now ensure they concentrate on what they're supposed to concentrate on, helping prevent child abuse

I won't hold my breath. Seems like they are backing away from a high-publicity situation. But there is nothing to suggest that they won't continue censoring to the limit that public outcry can support, including censoring numerous sites that do not contribute to child abuse. This is not a trend I like.

Thanks to IWF, now I've seen the image myself! (2, Funny)

wernst (536414) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051883)

Before the efforts of Internet Watch Foundation, I had never seen the image they were all worked up about, which is at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Virgin_Killer.jpg [wikipedia.org] .

And now, thanks to their tireless efforts to protect me from myself, I have seen it.

Good work, IWF!

Re:Thanks to IWF, now I've seen the image myself! (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052125)

I think they really need to protect use from this cover [wikipedia.org] . What is up with all the fists?

Re:Thanks to IWF, now I've seen the image myself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052293)

Is that the band or the roadies?

But think of the children (1)

Maclir (33773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051887)

.....

Re:But think of the children (1)

Kenyai (1422451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051959)

Yes, "think of the children." The opinion of the girl in question should override whatever the IWF says because, in this case, the issue is about her, not them. Shouldn't her say be the most important factor in all of this?

Re:But think of the children (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053069)

No.

They'll be back (2, Funny)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26051927)

In a later statement the IWF said 'Don't you worry, this is a minor setback. Rest assured, wherever there are naked children, we'll be watching, ready to pounce'

They should head for Lowestoft then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052177)

The local council wants to close the Nudist beach because many the other beaches have been washed away by coastal erosion.
As there is no law in England about having to wear clothes on a Beach I'd expect that once the beach goes mixed and pictures of Little (add childs name here) appear on the internet will be labelled Child Porn even if they were taken by their parents and all of the family are naturists.
This is an interesting dilema. If it is not illegal to go around naked and it is not illegal to take pictures of said naked people how could it be illegal to post those 'LEGAL' pictures on the internet?
I'd like the IWF to explain that one.

Re:They should head for Lowestoft then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26053237)

They don't need to, they censor sexually provocative pictures. Nude photos are fine.

Pyrrhic victory (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052011)

Now the only censorship of wikipedia is done by:

1. Wikpedia admins
2. Jimbo Wales personally
3. Cabals
4. The marketing and legal teams of Corporations
5. Governments

Still, one censorer less is something I suppose.

Not child porn (1)

azior (1302509) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052079)

Not all pictures or movies of naked people are porn.

Great Firewall of Britain? (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052091)

"The Internet Watch Foundation, guardians of the Great Firewall of Britain...

Wouldn't that be "Hadrian's Firewall" in this case?

Re:Great Firewall of Britain? (4, Funny)

anaesthetica (596507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053251)

No, that would be an Italian firewall used to censor Scottish content.

Britain cutting itself off from the rest of the world is better represented by the Channel Fogwall.

Some people forget.... (3, Insightful)

billsf (34378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052107)

the Internet is much, much older than they are aware of, and for a reason. The Internet has always been a "nasty" and "krass" place. During most of its existence, as text only, maybe there was more left to the imagination? Its great to have all the added bandwidth, but not the added hassle of "do-gooders".

Nobody is going to "regulate" or enforce their religious convictions here. Leave us alone!

   

Do-Gooders and Those Who Do Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052477)

Its great to have all the added bandwidth, but not the added hassle of "do-gooders".

I really wish people would stop calling them "do-gooders". That's exactly what they want to be called. It gives them the moral high ground before the conversation even starts. And it's insulting to those who actually strive to do good online. Call them censors or something equally specific.

Filtering (4, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052159)

IWF has decided to make an exception for this particular image, but the underlying attitude that led to its blocking remains the same. If not for the public scrutiny this particular decision has prompted, the image in question would still be blocked. I find that very disturbing.

The biggest problem I see with this sort of filtering is the fact that, at least for borderline cases, you rarely know whether the image being blocked is actually illegal. Usually it takes the due process of law to determine that a person producing an image has done something illegal, but with filtering all it takes to block an image is for the image to seem like child pornography. Whether it is or not is irrelevant. All that matters is the judgment of a private party.

Re:Filtering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052941)

"IWF has decided to make an exception for this particular image, but the underlying attitude that led to its blocking remains the same. If not for the public scrutiny this particular decision has prompted, the image in question would still be blocked. I find that very disturbing."

What is worse is that there are almost certainly people in jail in the UK at the moment whose crime is that they had similar images on their PC...

Wikipedia is at war now. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052215)

Wikipedia has been blocked/censored by Germany, China, the Middle east before. Wikipedia has a lot of controversial topics, too hot for "paper" encyclopedias to handle. Wikipedia has hundreds of banned users and companies with a strong COI who want to see wikipedia hurt.

This is a message that sends the chills down the spine of Internet users, "We do not forgive, we do not forget, Expect Us". Signed "Anonymous". Anonymous vandalized Wikipedia as well.

Wikipedia has the potential to be more controversial than the Bible, Quaran, Quotations of Mao Zedong, Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto, and other "holy books". People have been burned at the stake for distributing books before, Jimbo Wales better watch out.

Too little, too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052225)

... that is the short of it.

I host a number of websites for myself and others at a commercial hosting company. After the report of Wikipedia being blocked, I polled all of my customers, telling the story of Wikipedia and censorship. I recommended blocking the UK from accessing their websites until the UK relented. What I got was an earful. My first call resulted in all of RIPE, APNIC, AfriNIC, LANic being blocked ... forever. He said that his comments were spammed daily from offshore and that if they never saw his site again it would be too soon.

I related that story in all subsequent calls. All but one responded similarly. Block 'em all, forever. They were trying to reach a US and/or Canadian audience anyway.

So, that's that.

I can't define it, but I know it when I see it. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052281)

So it can't be pornography to me until I see it (Schroedinger's kitty porn? Or was that a snuff film?).

I'm over eighteen - let me collapse the wave function for myself, willya? Oh, and someone please let the damned cat out of the box - the meowing is driving me nuts!

What we have learnt (4, Interesting)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052347)

o That the people trying to censor net access in this country are not just idiots, they're incompetent idiots.

o That the "blocks" that the major ISPs have in place are effectively useless; either they're incompetent as well, or (more likely) are paying lip-service to the whole idea by saying "yes, we subscribe to the IWF block-list" while using mechanisms a five-year-old could bypass.

o That Chris Morris was right.

Sometimes (as in the case of dodgy 70s album covers), this seems just a bit of a joke; but sometimes it isn't. During the early 90s spokesmen for the political wings of the terrorist organisations in the North of Ireland had to be re-voiced by actors, making interviews essentially impossible. I remember one occasion, after a particular gruesome bombing (many innocent people killed) when the spokesman concerned was able to hide behind the actor to get his message across without answering WHY his organisation supported this indiscriminate slaughter - the "censorship" rules had the exact opposite effect to what was intended.

But Wikipedia still censors you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26052351)

If you are not "notable" enough, and you don't have enough "significant" coverage from "reliable sources" you can be "salted", "A7"d, "prod"ed, "AFD"d, and also added to Wikipedia's own blacklist [wikimedia.org] .

This is to say that Wikipedia's hands aren't exactly clean when it comes to censorship issues, and remember that Wikipedia is a top 8 website acording to multiple sources, and frequently is the number one on Google. This makes it that wether you are on Wikipedia or not makes a huge difference.

Remember when you donate, to remind them to combat deletionists, who do like to censor things in the name of "notabillity"

Encyclopedophile (1)

MtlDty (711230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052559)

I still find a bitter taste in my mouth over this whole episode. I think I'd rather have seen this come to a conclusion with more judicial overview so that there is a clearer decision on what responsibilties the IWF should control, how the public should be made aware of blocks, and what appeals process exist. As it stands we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope the IWF dont screw something else up.

I'd also prefer this to come to a larger debate about the merits of censoring images that are clearly not intended to satisfy the cravings of pedophiles. The recent judgement in Australia where some poor guy was fined for cartoon porn shows that we're losing all sense of proportion.

best irony ever (4, Funny)

Shadukar (102027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052661)

Today from work (instead of working) I decided to check out the IWF website.

Turns out Getbusi content filtering proxy is blocking their site as "porn"

Streisand effect (1)

Samah (729132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052759)

For the uninitiated:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect [wikipedia.org]

So anyone that is not behind the IFW's blocks.. (1)

Brandano (1192819) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052985)

just needs to get a hold of their list to access all these "morally dangerous" sites? I presume they also added a few strategically placed honey pots to their blocked site lists, but then again maybe they haven't. Personally I am against censorships, because even in the best of cases they detract from the user the right to judge for himself, and in the worst they only create a false sense of security. I wonder if this made their list as well (be warned, explicit nudity) http://www.mondomostre.it/images/caravaggio/cat_caravaggio_03.jpg [mondomostre.it]

I wonder (1)

MtlDty (711230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26052991)

I wonder how much of an impact all the UK traffic to Wikipedia being proxied through their servers may have had, and whether that impact played any part in this sudden reversal. Wikipeda was certainly the highest traffic page they've tried to filter to date.

Why its not illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26053031)

This is likening art to porn which would send any artist into a frenzy. Artwork of naked children is not child pornography.

HTML was blacklisted, though not allegedly illegal (1)

divec (48748) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053121)

The original IWF press release suggested that the "web page" at the blocked URL "was" a potentially illegal image. Whereas in reality, the main URL only contains HTML text -- and the image in question was only linked in and actually resided at another URL. This means material was blacklisted which was not alleged to be illegal in the UK. This wasn't just a side effect -- the HTML page was intentionally added to the list as well as the image itself.

As a Wikipedia and Media Wiki contributor, I wrote to the IWF complaining that the HTML text page was blacklisted (and not just the image). To their credit they have replied, but making no reference to the point I made.

If the IWF intends in future to blacklist text content which is not alleged to be illegal or abusive, this greatly changes the nature of the blacklist. In which case the public, legislators and industry should reconsider the high levels of co-operation which have been afforded to the IWF to date, offered on the understanding that it is purely trying to prevent crime and abuse.

IWF's true intentions (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26053199)

IWF's overriding objective is to minimize the availability of indecent images of children on the internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect.

This fiasco only shows the true intent of the IWF. They should make the blacklist available so people are aware of what other non-violent, and non-pornographic images, text, etc are being censored.

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