More on UK internet censorship

Further to my previous post, some more links for your delectation:

The Wikimedia Foundation – the charity behind Wikipedia – have issued a statement on the situation, a press release. and some FAQs. Interestingly, they say the Internet Watch Foundation have confirmed the ban to them, which I didn’t think was IWF policy… but I can’t get into their website right now. No, really, their server’s non-responsive as of 0935 GMT. Go, as they say, figure.

Meanwhile, BBC News Online has the story on their front page, but rather misses the point (to my mind, it’s not about the banned image – which may indeed be considered child pornography under UK law, I wouldn’t know – it’s (a.) the lack of transparency and accountability in the process, and (b.) the cack-handed methodology that’s led to editing Wikipedia being off-limits to most of the UK).

I missed the 0854 segment on the Today programme this morning; the earlier bulletin update was simply the first half of the News Online story.

I see nothing at the Guardian or Telegraph yet, but the Independent does have it. My ISP, Be, have issued an interim response. Which doesn’t quite get things right either, but at least they’re talking about it.

This isn’t the first time this has happened, either: here’s an excellent, if lengthy, run-down of the story so far.

Finally, there’s a pledge at Pledgebank, to move to an ISP that does not censor internet access. Trouble is, implementing the IWF blacklist is something ISPs covering about 95% of the UK population already do on a voluntary basis. That’s ‘voluntary’ in the sense of ‘would be imposed by government if they didn’t do it voluntarily.’ You can move ISPs all you want, the government’s intention is that you won’t escape the blacklist.

It’s policy and/or process we need to move, not ISPs.

[ Update 1055: The Guardian has the story on their front page, allegedly posted eight hours ago (but it didn’t show up in a search at half-past nine?) Better reporting than most, though they don’t mention the blanket editing ban aspect, which to my mind is much more insidious than blocking one suspect image. Guardian Blogs has a comment thread too, with more insightful comments than the article itself. ]


  1. I agree about the Pledgebank thing. I’ve told people about it, but not signed it myself. Sometimes though people who feel helpless need to feel like they are doing *something*…

  2. I need to check the IWF’s dispute process. It may be that bombarding them with ‘you muppets!’ emails would salve our action imperatives.
    Though, I was watching an old Goodies episode the other night, with a Mary Whitehouse-analogue character, and sometimes I wonder if scathing satire is a better plan. Hmm… come to think, surely the time is right for really hardcore political satire to make a return? New Labour aren’t as unpopular as the Tories were, but there must be some comedians who get riled up by civil liberties issues, surely?

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