The Open Rights Group has a well written article on the IWF fracas on banning the Scorpions LP sleeve image.  However, despite a report on the ORG site saying that the IWF is reconsidering it’s listing of that Wikipedia URL, the Guardian reports that the IWF are thinking of extending its attempt to stop us seeing this ancient LP sleeve image via amazon.com.  Hitherto, some commentators had reckoned the IWF wouldn’t go after websites with serious legal muscle, such as Amazon.

Interesting things:

  • While we know the IWF membership, it’s not any kind of body accountable to us or the Government.
  • This issue has highlighted the existence of the IWF, which I guess many internet users didn’t know if before.
  • The list of banned URLs doesn’t seem readily available.
  • URLs containing dodgy material are submitted by members of the public.
  • Apparently the decision to list a URL for banning is made by four indivuduals whose job it is to sift through submitted URLs.
  • The criterion is “potentially” illegal, as defined by some training these four received from the police.
  • ISPs blocking the wikipedia page via the IWF list inapprpriately serve up a 404 notice – from Wikipedia: “The 404 or Not Found error message is an HTTP standard response code indicating that the client was able to communicate with the server but either the server could not find what was requested, or it was configured not to fulfill the request and did not reveal the reason why. 404 errors should not be confused with “server not found” or similar errors, in which a connection to the destination server could not be made at all.”

The IWF seem entirely unrepentant, and the spread of the LP sleeve image has probably spread round the internet as a consequence.  Try this Google Image search.  But don’t click the link if you’re likely to be upset!