ISPs Ban On Wikipedia "Child Porn" Page Hints At Online Moral Dilemma

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, could challenge British Internet Service Providers in the high court over the ban of a controversial page showing the 1976 album cover of Scorpion's Virgin Killer.

Speaking to Channel 4 news, Wales said he was puzzled by the fact that the Internet Watch Foundation blocked the whole page - whose text did not contain any obscene material - and because they are not a statutory body, they cannot be legally challenged.

The IWF had in effect issued the equivalent of a Fatwa, a wide-reaching call to act upon something that has been tacitly approved, but Wales points out that the call to block Wikipedia call would actually encourage people to find out more and bloggers to blog around it.

Surely enough, the term "Virgin Killer" is now producing more than 170,000 results on Google search and more than 10,000 images, some of them high resolution, on Google Image. When the image was reported to the FBI, Google Trends reported a significant search spike back in May 2008.

Jimmy Wales also added : "How do we draw up a boundary line that allows both routine internet expression and not paedophilia? The Internet Watch Foundation's system has been in operation for a number of years. Is it out of date?"

The current controversy not only shows how perception has evolved but also points to some glaring differences; a search on Google for "nude teenager" returns hundreds of thousands of web pages and although we did not explore them, chances are that some of them should have been banned.

So while Wikipedia is thrusted in the limelight for merely doing its job - presenting factual information in an objective manner, thousands of other websites are allowed to prosper unscathed by the controversy.

The Wikipedia page of "Virgin Killer" is currently protected from editing until December 11, 2008 because of edit warring.

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