IWF lift Wikipedia ban
The Wikipedia ban has been revoked. On Tuesday evening, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) announced that it had reversed its decision of last week and removed Wikipedia from its filter list. Since the weekend, most providers to private customers in the UK have blocked the Wikipedia article on the Scorpions' "Virgin Killer" album. As a result, some UK users lost editing rights to the online encyclopaedia and some lost Wikipedia access althogether.
The IWF insisted in its statement that the image in question was "potentially in breach of the Protection of Children Act of 1978". The IWF has decided though to revoke the ban "in light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability".
"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", writes the organisation, regretting "the unintended consequences for Wikipedia and its users". Nor will the IWF be initiating proceedings against other sites that show the same image outside the UK, but the IWF says "Any further reported instances of this image which are hosted in the UK will be assessed in line with IWF procedures."
The organisation has received support from the security expert Richard Clayton, who in the past has been very critical of British filtering of child pornography on the internet. Speaking to heise online, he said ""I think the IWF has acted very sensibly in reversing their decision. They have finally taken account of the context in which the image appears, and conceded that their action has mainly served to draw worldwide attention to a somewhat tasteless image that would otherwise have languished in well-deserved obscurity." Wikipedia's access statistics say the article was visited more than half a million times in recent days.