There’s always been a sense that internet censorship was something that they did in other, less free countries, like Iran or China. Then the Australian government started talking about it. But I’ve never seen evidence of it in the UK until now.

Depending on your ISP, you may or may not be able to see a Wikipedia page about the album Virgin Killer by The Scorpions. This is not because of their well documented and varied crimes against music, but because of the album cover art reproduced on that page, featuring a censored photograph of a naked girl. It may be in poor taste, but it doesn’t seem to be illegal. If it were, we’d be looking at removing it from Wikipedia, surely?

There’s more information about it on the Wikipedia bug tracker—it looks as if traffic from certain UK ISPs to Wikipedia is being fed through a reverse proxy with the ability to selectively censor pages.

Just in case that’s not clear: some ISPs in the UK are censoring certain pages on Wikipedia. That’s a worrying precedent: which pages will they be censoring tomorrow? In a country where opposition politicians are apparently arrested for leaking embarrassing details, will information that inconveniences the government be next to disappear?

So far I’ve heard that Virgin (how appropriate!) and Be Un limited are censoring Wikipedia. Conversely, I’m happy to report that my ISP, NewNet, is continuing to give me an excellent and unfiltered service.