Six UK ISP’s block a Wikipedia article locking out Wikipedia edits

December 7th, 2008 8 Comments By Paul Nikkel

wikapedia screen sm Six UK ISPs block a Wikipedia article locking out Wikipedia editsAccording to Wikipedia administrators, six ISP’s in the UK are now routing Wikipedia traffic through transparent proxies after Wikipedia was added to the Internet Watch Foundation child-pornography blacklist.

The site was added to the blacklist due to an image of Scorpions’ original album cover for Virgin Killer which features a naked prepubescent girl. Thus far administrators have declined to remove the image due to Wikipedia policies and lack of clarity from the IWF regarding unacceptable content. Following is the excerpt from the image discussion:

Yes, normally we close such requests as Keep via WP:NOTCENSORED, but as I said originally, in this case that’s not the overriding reason. At the time of this IFD, we were (and still are, to an extent) unaware whether this was the only image that had been filtered by the IWF, and therefore whether removing it would cause WP to be removed from their blacklist. The issues of a number of other images were raised, which could be taken to be indecent (and possibly illegal in some jurisdictions).

Currently, if a user connects to Wikipedia through one of the six UK ISPs they will receive a blank page or 404 error on the Virgin Killer page. The major problem is that due to all ISP traffic routing through proxies, Wikipedia sees any of these users as belonging to the same IP. The inability to distinguish individual users means that the editing function is blocked for these users.

When attempting to edit an article anonymously we received the following error:

You are currently unable to edit pages on Wikipedia.

You can still read pages, but cannot edit, change, or create them.

Editing from 62.30.249.131 (your account, IP address, or IP address range) has been disabled by Lucasbfr for the following reason(s):

Anonymous editing from your Internet Provider is disabled, please log in.

Wikipedia has been added to an Internet Watch Foundation UK website blacklist, and your Internet service provider has decided to block part of your access. Unfortunately, the method they are using makes it impossible for us to differentiate between legitimate users and those abusing the site. As a result, we have been forced to block several IP addresses from editing Wikipedia.

As the error message notes, registered users are still able to edit as normal. The IP block only affects anonymous ad hoc edits.

Comments (8) Jump to most recent comment
  1. Posted by Jakg December 7, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Works fine on BT – even if your logged in.

    (although I am using OpenDNS).

  2. Posted by Paul Nikkel December 7, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Yep according to the Wikipedia discussion BT is not filtering this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Major_UK_ISPs_reduced_to_using_2_IP_addresses

    If anyone has the desire to see the Scorpians Virgin Killer page it is viewable to filtered users through this alternate link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Virgin_Killer

  3. Why the fuck would anyone who’s name isnt Paul Gadd wish to see the image? Sick sick bastards

  4. Posted by jah December 7, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Surely Nevermind by Nirvana features a ‘naked prepubescent boy’?

  5. Posted by Big Dave December 7, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    I am a scorpions fan, and in todays climate, I would think this album cover was ill advised. . Thing is though, It needs to be taken in context. . this album was released 32 years ago, when nobody was really aware of paedophiles, and to be fair, the band do explain about the cover, and have added later footnotes about regretting it now. I’m sure that 32 years ago, it was controversial, but not sicko, as it would be percieved in 2008.

    By censoring the page these ISPs are denying people to see the album cover in context, with an explanation. Its very easy to go to google images and search for “virgin killer”. then you are getting the image, but with no explanation. . . . which I think is far worse.

  6. Posted by lol wut? December 8, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Big Dave has a very good point.

  7. Posted by moshi moshi December 8, 2008 at 3:11 am

    Then there’s Blind Faith’s album cover. For some reason no problem there. And that’s the problem with these self-appointed censors, they’re arbitrary and careless about the effects of their actions. I’d been wondering why I had to log in to make a small change to a wikipedia page. Eventually I find out why. Thx.

  8. Hey Dear,
    It’s like full moon in the dark night. much appreciated effort.

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