The IWF, those self-appointed and unregulated guardians of our morality have backed down over listing the Wikipedia page on the Scorpions album Virgin Killer.  You can read their statement here, and how ungracious and unapolgetic they are too.

I imagine they are a bit upset that their surreptitious filtering activities got thrust suddenly into the public view (including a major item on Channel 4 news).   From the notes appended to the statment:

We are an independent self-regulatory body, funded by the EU and the wider online industry, including internet service providers, mobile operators and manufacturers, content service providers, filtering companies, search providers, trade associations and the financial sector as well as other organisations that support us for corporate social responsibility reasons.  (my emphasis)

As I said the other day, shouldn’t someone  be keeping an eye on these clowns and their censorship list?  I don’t doubt their good intentions, or that there may be some seriously offensive material on their list, but how much marginally offensive stuff may also be there?  I’m a little distubed that the decisions get made by four individuals who’ve recieved a little training from the police, and that the criterion is “potentially illegal”.  Note the word potentially illegal.  Wouldn’t it be more apprpriate to get proper advice before banning a site?

Why do ISPs banning sites on the IWF list put up a 404 notice (which implies the originating server no longer has a copy of that page) when banned sites are accessed?

Links

The offending Wikipedia page has a summary of the censorship affair, and comments on the LP and its sleeve.

There’s a Wikipedia page on the Internet Watch Foundation (at the time I wrote this, the page  noted “This page is semi-protected. Editing of this article by new or unregistered users is currently disabled until December 14, 2008 due to vandalism“, so clearly the IWF have annoyed quite a few people.

The IWF page.

Open Rights Group coverage of the affair