[LINK] Fwd: [ PRIVACY Forum ] Brits' Failed Heavy Metal Censorship Attempt Disrupts Wikipedia Edits
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Dec 8 10:56:31 EST 2008
>To: privacy-list at vortex.com
>Date: Sun, 07 Dec 2008 15:14:25 -0800
>From: privacy at vortex.com
>Subject: [ PRIVACY Forum ] Brits' Failed Heavy Metal Censorship Attempt
> Disrupts Wikipedia Edits
>Brits' Failed Heavy Metal Censorship Attempt Disrupts Wikipedia Edits
>Greetings. Today we're handed yet another in a veritable cornucopia
>of examples showing why attempts to censor the Internet may disrupt
>and hassle, but can't really effectively block anything, and
>frequently have exactly the opposite of the intended effect.
>In this case, we learn how a British watchdog group flagged a
>Wikipedia article about a heavy metal album -- Scorpions' "Virgin
>Killer" -- which features a naked prepubescent girl on the cover
>(partially obscured by a "broken glass" effect).
>Six British ISPs, who seem to slavishly follow the edicts of the group
>in question, blocked all access to the associated Wikipedia page by
>running Wikipedia through filtering proxies, which had the side effect
>of breaking some forms of Wikipedia editing, apparently due to the
>proxies showing all users as coming from single IP addresses
>( http://tinyurl.com/wikipedia-censorship-uk ).
>And of course, this action has now generated far more interest in that
>album cover than would ever have likely otherwise been the case, and
>naturally that image can be located trivially and virtually instantly
>as a multitude of copies at any number of image search sites. It took
>me less than 15 seconds to find it at a non-Wikipedia source just now.
>Anyone in Britain can easily do the same thing.
>Whether or not the image in question is viewed as offensive, the utter
>stupidity and futility of attempting to block such materials on the
>Internet has been demonstrated again and again -- and the collateral
>damage that can be caused by such attempts is made ever more clear.
>These are technological realities that cannot be effectively changed
>by political posturing or "magic" filters, regardless of how upsetting
>we may individually find any particular Internet content to be. The
>sooner that we accept this fact, and understand that the traditional
>mechanisms of top-down content control are no longer relevant in
>today's world of global communications, the sooner we can move on to
>dealing with society's real problems in manners that are truly
>effective, rather than just useless "feel good" flotsam and jetsam.
>lauren at vortex.com or lauren at pfir.org
>Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
> - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
> - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
>Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
>Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
>Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
>privacy mailing list
Roger Clarke http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
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