Access to editing a Wikipedia article in the U.K. has been effectively blocked after the U.K.'s Internet Watch Foundation added a Wikipedia article on Virgin Killer
, an album from German heavy metal group Scorpions, to its blacklist.
The album's cover art image, depicting what appears to be a nude underage girl, is what caused the blacklisting. Click through the link above to see the cover art.
Reports are that in an attempt to block access to the Wikipedia article, the ISPs Virgin Media, Be Unlimited/O2/Telefonica, EasyNet/UK Online, PlusNet, Demon, and Opal began routing traffic through transparent proxies. However, this caused more problems, as the use of proxies means that to Wikipedia editors appear to be coming from a narrow IP address range.
Thus, as Wikipedia says in their administrators' discussion
over this issue:
As Wikipedia tracks anonymous users by their IP addresses, a flood of valid edits and vandalism are coming from indistinguishable sources, and blocking vandals from editing can affect hundreds of thousands of users as collateral damage.
British Telecom does not appear to be filtering, according to Wikipedia.
While the image was up for deletion
, according to that same admin page, at least for now, that request has been tabled, based on "Wikipedia does not censor," but also later with the following discussion over the article itself:
Secondly, for those wanting to remove the image because they believe it to be unnecessary, the article is an academic discussion of the controversy surrounding the album image. Since it is a discussion about the controversy surrounding a still-legal image (as noted above, no one has ever been charged or prosecuted for making, selling, or purchasing that album), there is no reason why the image shouldn't be on the page.
One workaround if one needs to really see this article: use the secure
Wikipedia server. According to that same post, the Virgin Killer article is now tops in popularity (small wonder).
According to Wikipedia's lawyer, Mike Godwin, (his comment is in that admin discussion as well), the image does not violate any U.S. law. Interestingly, one of the admins compared the issue to the U.K. having its own "Great Firewall," much like China:
"This is the first I've come across UK wide internet censorship, and I'm shocked. I had no idea until now that like China, we too have built a great firewall - only we keep quiet about ours. I can still access the pages from Wikipedia's https login. This is an absolute farce ..."
And no, at the time of this writing, this issue has not been resolved. In fact, we just received a press release via email from WikiMedia on this issue.