Chicago (IL) – Six British Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are reportedly filtering user access to Wikipedia due to the site’s addition to the Internet Watch Foundation, after accusations arose that the site was hosting what was considered by some to be child pornography.
According to an article published by ZDNet, The content in question involves the German band Scorpions, and a controversial album cover from the 1970’s. The album, titled Virgin Killer, features a naked prepubescent female. The album was banned in many countries upon its release in the seventies until a replacement cover had been created.
In an attempt to block user access to the article on Wikipedia, Virgin Media, Be Unlimited/O2/Telefonica, EasyNet/UK Online, PlusNet, Demon, and Opal started routing the traffic through transparent proxies, that has caused the companies even more issues.
Because the ISPs have chosen to route the Wikipedia traffic through proxies, many of individuals who edit Wikipedia appear to be coming from the same, or a similar IP range, which results in Wikipedia attempting to ban a single customer from an ISP for vandalzing the site. In turn, it is banning every individual on that ISP.
British Telecom is not filtering traffic at this time.
When users in the United Kingdrom attempt to edit content on Wikipedia they receive this error message from the site:
“Wikipedia has been added to a Internet Watch Foundation UK website blacklist, and your Internet service provider has decided to block part of your access. Unfortunately, this also makes it impossible for us to differentiate between different users, and block those abusing the site without blocking other innocent people as well.”
There is an ongoing discussion on Wikipedia’s administrator’s notice board, that contains a list of all of the affected ISP addresses, current workarounds, and any updates the site has for its users.