German rock band banned from Wikipedia

9th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

An image on a wiki-page catches the attention of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and leads to its being blacklisted.

London -- Several British Internet service providers have blocked users from accessing a Wikipedia page on a German hard rock band known as The Scorpions, after a watchdog warning that a photo of a nude girl shown on the page may be illegal.

The online encyclopaedia has slammed the clampdown, which it says affects the website's performance as it leaves most British residents unable to edit entries.

According to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a British watchdog which monitors potentially illegal content, the Wikipedia Scorpions entry was added to its blacklist of websites because of what was "considered to be a potentially illegal indecent image of a child under the age of 18."

The photograph in question is an album cover of the band's 1976 album Virgin Killer.

The IWF said it had passed the information to an unidentified partner watchdog overseas as well as a law enforcement partner.

According to the IWF, its list is used on a voluntary basis by 95 percent of British based residential ISPs.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which includes Wikipedia, criticised the decision, saying that the IWF had not only blocked the specific image, but the entire article as well. It stressed it did not believe the article or the image were illegal anywhere in the world.

"The IWF didn't just block the image; it blocked access to the article itself, which discusses the image in a neutral, encyclopaedic fashion," said Wikimedia Foundation head Sue Gardner in a statement from San Francisco.

"The IWF says its goal is to protect UK citizens, but I can't see how this action helps to achieve that -- and meanwhile, it deprives UK internet users of the ability to access information which should be freely available to everyone."

She added, "I urge the IWF to remove Wikipedia from its blacklist."


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