Melon Farmers Unrated

IWF Block Wikipedia

IWF block Scorpion's Virgin Killer album cover

12th December

 Offsite: Naked people and toilets...

Scandalous album covers

See article from


10th December

Update: King's Clothes...

Internet censors remove their ban on album cover

IWF posted the following statement on their website about the blocking of the original cover art for Scorpion's Virgin Killer album:

A Wikipedia webpage was reported through the IWF's online reporting mechanism on 4 December 2008. As with all potentially illegal online child sexual abuse reports we receive, the image was assessed according to current UK legislation and in accordance with the UK Sentencing Guidelines Council. The content was considered to be a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18, hosted outside the UK. As such, in accordance with IWF procedures, the specific webpage was added to the IWF list. This list is provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to help protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to potentially illegal indecent images of children.

Following representations from Wikipedia, IWF invoked its Appeals Procedure and has given careful consideration to the issues involved in this case. The procedure is now complete and has confirmed that the image in question is potentially in breach of the Protection of Children Act 1978. However, the IWF Board has today (9 December 2008) considered these findings and the contextual issues involved in this specific case and, 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. Any further reported instances of this image which are hosted in the UK will be assessed in line with IWF procedures.

IWF's overriding objective is to minimise the availability of indecent images of children on the internet, however, on this occasion our efforts have had the opposite effect. We regret the unintended consequences for Wikipedia and its users. Wikipedia have been informed of the outcome of this procedure and IWF Board's subsequent decision.

Offsite Comment: Scorpions tale leaves IWF exposed

'Look, that regulator isn't wearing any clothes'

See article from by John Ozimek

Image Censored
by the IWF
The Boy King's Clothes!

According to the IWF, no one has ever questioned its judgements before. No doubt this would continue to be the case, so long as it confined its attentions to sites and imagery that are clearly produced by child abusers for child abusers.

Unfortunately, it cannot pick and choose who to take on. The Children Act penalises the production and possession of indecent images of children. The bulk of images against which the IWF acts are categorised as level one, involving some element of sexual posing of a child. This is both the least serious category, and the category where there is likely to be most public debate as to whether an image actually is indecent.

Some images - shock, horror - are neither clearly one thing nor another.

So the scene was set for the IWF to take a fall. Gone is its record for 100% undisputed blocking. Gone, too, is its reputation for being the undisputed good guy. Many people have looked at the image in question and have taken the view that it is not porn, or indecent, or abuse. Having made that judgement, they have started to ask questions about other imagery that the IWF has sought to block.

...Read full article


9th December

Update: A Censor's Responsibility...

Internet censors review the over cautious ban on album cover

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is reviewing its decision to list as child pornography the image on one version of the album Virgin Killer by the rock band The Scorpions hosted on Wikipedia and might yet add Amazon US to its list of blocked sites for hosting the picture.

The initial decision to block the image, taken on Friday, prevented UK contributors from editing the site, and blocked some people from seeing the site at all (although they were still able to view it through Google's cache).

The decision to ban the page, which was taken after consultation with the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) agency, is now being reviewed, Robertson said. The assessment was done in partnership with law enforcement.

The Scorpions image was deemed to be 1 on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the least offensive , said Robertson. The image was judged to be erotic posing with no sexual activity . It depicts a young naked girl with her genitals obscured by a crack in the camera lens.

Robertson declined to say whether Amazon would be the next to be blocked. She confirmed that the Amazon page containing the offending cover was referred to the IWF today, but that no decision would be taken while the review of the original decision was in progress.

The decision has put the IWF's methods and systems under the media spotlight. Normally the IWF, which is paid for by the EU and through a levy on the internet industry, works quietly away in its Cambridge offices. A team of four police-trained analysts plough through 35,000 URLs sent to them each year that are under suspicion of being obscene.

If an image or text page contains obscene content and is hosted in the UK, the relevant ISP is contacted and the content removed. But if it is hosted abroad, it is added instead to a blacklis" to which access is prevented by BT's CleanFeed technology. Any attempt to access that page returns a Page Not Found response.

Richard Clayton, one of the country's leading internet security experts said: We see this borderline stuff all the time; it's a no-win. The decision seems to have been based on taking the image out of context, something which might seem pretty strange - particularly given that you can go into HMV and buy a copy on the high street.

The main outcome apart from highlighting the way the British internet is censored might be to highlight the lack of cooperation between British authorities and other international bodies, he said.

The image under consideration was previously considered by the FBI in the US and they decided not to act against it.


7th December


Wikipedia is being partially blocked by UK ISPs

The following notice has appeared on Wikipedia today when many UK users attempt to edit content:

Wikipedia has been added to a Internet Watch Foundation UK website blacklist, and your Internet service provider has decided to block part of your access. Unfortunately, this also makes it impossible for us to differentiate between different users, and block those abusing the site without blocking other innocent people as well.

According to discussions on the Wikipedia administrators noticeboard, this is because a transparent proxy has been enabled for customers of Virgin Media, Be/O2/Telefonica, EasyNet/UK Online, PlusNet, Demon and Opal. This has two effects: users cannot see content filtered by the proxies, and all user traffic passing through the proxies is given a single IP address per proxy. As Wikipedia's anti-vandalism system blocks users by IP address, one single case of vandalism by a single UK user prevents all users on that user's ISP from editing. The effect is to block all editing from anonymous UK users on that list of ISPs. Registered users can continue to edit.

The content being filtered is apparently that deemed to meet the Internet Watch Foundation's critera for child pornography in one case, this involves a 1970s LP cover art for Scorpion's Virgin Killer which, although controversial, is still widely available.

Reports on the admin noticeboard say that this filtering is easy to circumvent, either by using Wikipedia's secure server or by sending a request to find the page via parameters in the URL. However, no fix has been found nor is one expected for the blocking of anonymous authors problem.

Comment: Makes you wonder what is being prosecuted these days

8th December 2008. From Harvey on the Melon Farmers Forum

Whether a particular image is or is not indecent and of a child will be facts to be determined by a particular jury on a particular day, when judging a particular image.

The IWF clearly believe that the Wikipedia images they are blocking access to would be so determined. The ISPs involved clearly must think so too, and they will have taken legal advice before moving to block access to such a popular site. That alone should give you some idea of the kind of images which are being prosecuted in the courts in this country.

It also puts into perspective some of the claims made previously by the IWF about the quantity of sites they encounter which contain child abuse images.

From IanG

Child porn allegations? Weird. It looks like an album cover to me - hardly something primarily produced to cause sexual arousal is it? That is the current legal definition of pornography if I`m not mistaken.

And I can hardly see this photo being classified as an indecent image of a child either. I can`t see how an artistic shot of a reclining 8 year-old with all the naughty bits obscured by a broken glass effect could be.


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