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ISPs block access to 'illegal' Wikipedia page

IWF says page contains illegal images

Virgin Media and O2 are among a number of UK ISPs that have blocked access to a Wikipedia page.

The move came after the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) blacklisted a Wikipedia page about German rock group the Scorpions because it contained the 'Virgin Killers' album artwork that features an image of a young girl, naked.

"As with all child abuse reports received by our hotline analysts, the image was assessed according to the UK Sentencing Guidelines Council. The content was considered to be a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18... and the specific URL was then added to the list," said the IWF referring to Cleenfeed, its blacklist of URLs.

The album cover caused concerns when it was released in 1976, and was eventually re-packaged for the UK market. However, the original album cover is available through Amazon as part of a boxset.

The IWF's action lead to a debate between Wikipedia editors but they have agreed not to remove the artwork from the article.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which mages the online encyclopedia said the block by ISPs also meant UK users were unable to edit Wikipedia pages.

"We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world," said the Wikimedia Foundation's general counsel, Mike Godwin.

Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, added: "The IWF didn't just block the image; it blocked access to the article itself, which discusses the image in a neutral, encyclopedic fashion. It deprives UK internet users of the ability to access information which should be freely available to everyone. I urge the IWF to remove Wikipedia from its blacklist".

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