Dec
08
2008

Censorship fail

WARNING: Some links on this page may offend some (probably won’t, but may)

Censorship is a big thing on the web these days. We have always seen the Internet as freedom of information. You connect up to the tube and then you have all the information (good or bad) within your grasp. When the likes of China and Australia to name but a few start to mess with this model we all get slightly edgy. For a time Net neutrality was the chief threat to the freedoms of the web, but thanks to a recent political change in the US this is unlikely to come into play in the near future.

With all this in mind when Censorship starts to come home and starts to involve that cornerstone of Internet free speech Wikipedia we all start to get more than a little edge. This is clear by the number of articles I have read on this so far.

So, to the problem. If you visit the following link you should find it is blank:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Killer

This is because it has been classed by IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) as child pornography. It is a picture of a mostly naked prepubescent girl. Now traditionally this would be fine, censoring child porn by anyone’s standards should be fine. But in this case the album cover, although banned in many countries, was never banned over here. It has caused outrage a few times, but nothing significant. Yet suddenly our wise and mighty Internet filters have deemed it to be too much for us now, despite it being around and never banned for a number of years.

What makes this whole mess even more strange/farcical is that they failed with their censorship.

The following link is the secure version of the page on Wikipedia:

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Virgin_Killer (this one will almost certainly work for you)

This whole mess has made it into the public eye, for example, the BBC has this page on it:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7770456.stm

Note on the right there is a related link to the Scorpions homepage. If you click on that (here) you will note on the left a discography, which in turn also has the banned image on it.

So what the IWF has shown is you can not censor the web and in by trying to censor information that has been in  public domain for years, all you actually do is drag it up and draw more attention to it. People got over this in the past enough for most countries not to act, why do we suddenly need protecting?

2 comments

  1. Pewterfish says:

    Well, the old adage remains pretty much true: the Internet treats censorship as damage, and routes around it.

    Also, Streisand Effect much?

  2. Craig says:

    I didn’t know there was such a name for that. I do remember that HD DVD key on Digg, the more ways they found to stop it the more people posted it. I took at the whole front page at one point.

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