Is the IWF/Wikipedia issue one of censorship or legal confusion?

The wires are buzzing with news of UK ISPs having blocked the Wikipedia entry for The Scorpions’  album cover, which contains the image of a child in a sexual pose, angering Wikipedians whose accounts have been restricted in the process for contributing to the piece. Here is a BBC article on the issue in more detail, and here’s a flow chart of the process by which the Internet Watch Foundation makes decisions on what should be allowed online in the UK territory.

Even though (as helpfully explained to me by Struan Robertson at the law is established in this area, what I find interesting is the fact that people still appear to be unclear about whether it’s should be classified as illegal or not, as evidenced by the debate raging here, in response to yesterday’s Wikinews article on the subject. For The Wikipedians involved, the issue is one of the IWF impinging upon their freedom of speech, especially because it was not only the image that was blocked, but also the text on that page.

Other interesting thoughts that occured to me were: What are the implications for the digital footprint of a contributor who has found themselves blocked from Wikipedia for looking at indecent images? Should all those publishing information online become more informed about the local law?


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