Online Watchdog Admits It Goofed On Wikipedia Ban; Reverses Decision

from the a-bit-late-for-that dept

After being subject to widespread ridicule for forcing Wikipedia in the UK to block a page for an album cover graphic from 32 years ago, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has withdrawn its block on the page and said it's fine. Apparently "given the age and availability of the image," the group no longer thinks it's appropriate to be on the list. Of course, the age and availability of the image was true before. Though, if anything, this attempt at blocking the image only made the image more available.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    phil (profile), Dec 9th, 2008 @ 8:38pm

    Ladies and Gentlemen; The great firewall of England

    Great! They retracted, but they are only a notch less pernicious than the Chinese government.
    Who are they to tell me what is offensive or not?
    Its just disguised censorship - sad way to go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    SteveD, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 1:12am

    Re: Ladies and Gentlemen; The great firewall of England

    The streisand-effect in full swing. Because not all ISP's were signed up to the blacklist, the irony is that far more people from the UK (and the rest of the world) would have viewed the image then had it been left alone.

    But this conflicts with the nature of the IWF; it shouldn't be banning questionable material, but illegal material. There shouldn't need to be a streisand-effect.

    What you've got to remember is that the ISP's actually want this system in place; they fund the organisation. Through using an independent group that creates a blacklist in collaboration with the police they actually do the UK a favour by avoiding govermet regulation that might make them vulnerable to having responsibility over how people use the net (copyright infringer's, etc). The alternative could be the Australian system.

    But what needs to happen is three things, I think. First the IWF needs to put a transparent appeals process in place. Second, the censorship should be displayed as such, rather then a 404 screen. Third, the responsibilities of the IWF should be defined by the Home Office to avoid ambiguity over these issues when its not clear if they've overstepped their remit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    SteveD, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 1:23am

    Re: Ladies and Gentlemen; The great firewall of England

    P.S.

    'Great firewall of England' sucks as a title. I say we go with 'Hadrians Firewall'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    JPFife, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 1:55am

    The worst part of this is that someone actually paid attention to them. They have no legal standing or any official sanction. They are (from their website) "an independent self-regulatory body, funded by the EU and the wider online industry." "We work with UK government to influence initiatives." They do not have any authority.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    scott parsons, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 2:14am

    IWF free to block other stuff

    The big problem I see here though is that the IWF will be free to continue blocking other stuff online because someone somewhere doesn't like it. In a few days most will have forgotten all about this and IWF will go on putting a fence up around freedoms.

    Like steveD mentions above this type of organisation needs transparency and easy appeals processes, which is why i was happy when the wikipedia people hinted at a lawsuit.

    I just hope this doesn't disappear into the hidden back rooms again, I hate the idea of being secretly censored.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Dav, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 6:13am

    Danger over... for now

    This is very good news indeed.

    If the decision had stood then we would have been on a slippery slope to people having controversial content that could be interpreted as illegal at the far end of the law blocked. This (as always) would probably have lead to offencive content being removed and the Internet being a politically correct state in the UK.

    I know this is an exaduration but i think the point I am making is clear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Dav, Dec 10th, 2008 @ 6:17am

    Danger over... for now

    This is very good news indeed.

    If the decision had stood then we would have been on a slippery slope to people having controversial content that could be interpreted as illegal at the far end of the law blocked. This (as always) would probably have lead to offencive content being removed and the Internet being a politically correct state in the UK.

    I know this is an exaggeration but i think the point I am making is clear.

    If the IWF is to exist, the it needs to stick to policing content that is without question illegal rather then worrying about the borderline case.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the baby P case though. All agencies that deal with child protection in the UK have moved the line somewhat recently to cover themselves from the repercussions of making even the smallest error.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    evision, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:35am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    evision, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 8:36am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    home treadmill, Apr 7th, 2010 @ 6:22am

    If the decision had stood then we would have been on a slippery slope to people having controversial content that could be interpreted as illegal at the far end of the law blocked. This (as always) would probably have lead to offencive content being removed and the Internet being a politically correct state in the UK. Commercial treadmill Treadmill equipment

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This