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Blind Faith: The Slippery Slope To Internet Censorship

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2008-12-09-BlindFaithBlindFaith.jpg
Take a good look at this 1969 album jacket for Blind Faith's debut album. It might be the last time this image can be seen before it becomes the next image to be banned from the internet.

The slippery slope to internet censorship just got a lot more slippery.

95% of British internet users have been prevented from accessing an article on Wikipedia because it contains an image -- presented in an encyclopedic manner -- of the jacket of a 1976 heavy metal album that has never been prosecuted or found illegal in any country in the world.

The image is of the album cover created in 1976 for the album "Virgin Killer" by the German heavy metal band Scorpions.

The reason the British internet users cannot access the image is because a well-intentioned -- but entirely self-appointed -- British watchdog group that patrols the internet to root out child pornography (which is a noble endeavor to be applauded) arbitrarily added the webpage to its list of pages that UK internet providers should ban because it was a "POTENTIALLY illegal indecent image of a child". (Emphasis added.)

Not illegal. Not prosecuted. But POTENTIALLY illegal.

The right-wing-nut website WorldNutDaily (sic) has also tried to get the Wikipedia page with the image banned by reporting it to the FBI. The self-styled "Concerned Women for America" -- an extremist group that advocates imposing its interpretation of the bible on the entirety of US society -- has also tried to pressurize Wikipedia to censor the image.

2008-12-09-Virgin_Killer.jpg

The offending album jacket -- available since 1976 in record stores, in books (accessible in public libraries), -- and latterly on websites -- and never once prosecuted for being illegal

My own take on the album jacket? It's clearly exploitative and tasteless. Designed by the record company to excite maximum attention for the album - THIRTY TWO YEARS AGO.

It has no redeeming artistic merit that I can see. It certainly lacks the poetry and artistic intent behind the Blind Faith cover.

But my opinion is of zero consequence.

All that matters is that these images should not be banned -- nor access to online encyclopedias -- on the whim of self-appointed watchdogs because it is "POTENTIALLY illegal" in the opinion of one or two individuals at that organization.

That is the slippery slope down which we cannot go. Not if we ever hope to clamber back up.

If we slide down that slope -- based on the Blind Faith of zealots however well-intentioned -- we will find that We Can't Find Our Way Home...