back to article Brit porn filter censors 13 years of net history

A further update to this story an be found here Four weeks after birthing a nationwide Wikipedia edit ban, Britain's child porn blacklist has led at least one ISP to muzzle the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine - an 85 billion page web history dating back to 1996. According to multiple customers of Demon Internet - now owned …


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  1. Alex Wright

    I'm a blocked HomeOffice customer.

    So I pay over the odds for a supposedly good connection, and they start censoring random bits of the Internet. Great.

    Right, What's the Reg Reader approved ADSL supplier nowadays? Zen? AA?

  2. hikaricore


    And why do the British put up with this crap?

    There needs to be a riot.

  3. Neil Greatorex

    What we really need

    Is a definitive list of the ISPs that use this list, then we can avoid them like the plague they are.

    Bloody nannies.

  4. The BigYin

    The list is not the issue

    It's the fact that the block is not transparent. The ISPs should just redirected to a page that says

    "The URL you have tried to access is deemed illegal or otherwise inappropriate. If you feel this is incorrect, please contact 0878-LIKEWECARE"

    You can bet that the Wayback Machine contains lots of dodgy stuff and someone complained, so the censor brought out the iron fist and smacked it down. All these morons are doing is getting people's back up and going to make it harder to police the net.

    Although I am not quite if (or how) the net needs policed. Well, apart from SPAMmers. Death is too good for them.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nanny's little helper

    Doesn't appear to be block from Plus Net, but the site is extremely slow.

    The IWF should be feeling very embarrassed at the moment, but then anyone with a functioning sense of shame wouldn't be censoring the internet for a living.

    >There needs to be a riot.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Wayback machine ok on my ISP

    Never suffered a problem on Wikipedia either. And while I never go anywhere weird (honest, gov), I'm not promoting the name of my ISP in case someone gets on their case.

    ...because I never go there, either.

  7. dan

    Virgin Media Too - Again!

    It was originally redirecting through a url that started webfilter.** and throwing 404s.

    It's now simply dropping the connection. No 404, nothing at all - just dropped.

  8. Soruk

    Same solution as the Wikimessup

    Use the OpenDNS nameservers instead of your ISP - as I mentioned in the thread on demon.service they're doing this by hijacking the DNS.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    Consider my recent comment about feeling vaguely charitable towards IWF in comparison to CleanFeed rescinded. They have just proved themselves complete idiots. Apparently they learned absolutely nothing from the last incident.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    i use nildram

    and it's blocked for me.

    you can rest assured that I have sent an extremely strong worded e-mail to the cunts and will let you know if I hear back.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virgin Media working fine

    No filter on my Virgin Media Cable. They blocked the Wikipedia image last time, but they are not involved is this (daft) filter. Looks like it is just a Demon thing.

  12. michael

    @ pepol

    @alex :I use keconnect ( and am very happy with them but I am not affilated with el reg and can not speek for them

    @ neil

    I would be carful when asking that pepol might get the wrong impresion

  13. Steve

    Virgin Also blocking

    Well at work atm but Virgin are blocking access also lol

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Home Office customer

    Yeah I'm a HomeOffice customer as well, and have become increasingly pissed off with Demon's pricing - I pay 21 squid a month for an '8Mb' (read 2.5Mb sync) connection.

    Its fucking embarrassing in the pub when my mates pay like £5 or £10 a month for far better connections!!

    Demon are pulling my pants down and laughing at my dick!!!

    Well at least until the contract finishes end of Feb - thank jebus

  15. Eddie Edwards

    Err ...

    Hikaricore, the reason we don't riot over stuff like this is that these issues are not worth rioting over.

    In fact, I'm not aware of any physical country where riots occur over minor transient DRM issues. Where do you live? WoW?

    Last riot in the UK was Saturday, over Israel's bombing of Gaza.

  16. Chronos Silver badge


    Zen, AAISP, UKFSN, any Entanet reseller, O2/Be (who'da thunk?) and possibly Zetnet. Even some of these are castrated by bandwidth caps and a lot of smaller ISPs who had a good rep in the past (Nildram used to be good) are owned by Tiscali, Italian for crap. Expect to pay £35+ PM for any reasonable service, more if you want a static IP or block thereof.

    By the way, Cade, could you please change "Brit telecom" to "Brit telco," which is what I think you mean? Some may think that Thus are another tentacle (testicle?) of Phorm's bitch BT, which they are most assuredly not.

    On the subject of riots, there was one. One of us threw the keyboard out the window last month, which is about as close as we come to civil disobedience these days. Nobody noticed, but it were a riot t' us.

    Unsmiley: I am very unhappy with the dire state and poor choice offered by UK ISPs and wish to express both my discontent and dismay at the vast levels of cluelessness in the AOLers that now run them.

  17. Mycho Silver badge

    We need a proper list of ISPs by service and fucktardiness

    Let me see, what I want in a new ISP

    Static IP is an option not compulsory

    Open about how they handle bandwidth shaping

    No Phorm.

    No random blacklisting of sites.

  18. Mycho Silver badge

    Oh yes, and...

    ... I just got the Reg on wayback on Pipex. Working okay here.

  19. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Please please please...

    ... let the arses at the IWF make MORE of these mistakes, it's the only way to let the average Joe user know whats going on!

    It's not even as though it does any good in stopping real peados accessing CP (anyone heard of newsgroups? not blocked. SSL? not blocked. BitTorrent? FTP? VPN/SSH to a server in Russia/Sweden/USA/Anywhere else?), all it does is stop law abiding citizens from "accidentally" accessing "potentially illegal" content.

    Go on, censor more, piss more people off, and trigger a revolt!

  20. John Imrie
    Black Helicopters

    1984 any one?

    He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.

  21. Joe K
    Black Helicopters

    Tell you what

    Why don't we just switch off the whole internet, just in case we accidentally become a pedo (i refuse to use the brit spelling) by stumbing across an image some tit has flagged.

  22. Ian Gray

    @Alex Wright

    Try Aquiss, they aren't cheap but the service and customer care are second-to-none and the connection is very fast and low latency. Also, no filtering of anything, no blocking P2P or any of that junk. No I don't work for them ;)


  23. Matthew Morrison
    Thumb Up

    @Alex Wright

    I'm with ID Net myself - they make a point of stating they don't and will not throttle P2P apps. I asked them about whether they were considering Phorm back during that media storm and the response was basically 'over our dead bodies'. Good stuff.

  24. Brian Mankin

    Not Found!

    What annoys me most about this is not that they block content but the fact that they hide that they have blocked content by claiming that it is not found. They should responed with '450' and admit that they are censoring your search. Hiding their actions behind 'page not found' is a tacit admission that their actions are wrong.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward




    Why, exactly have we handed control of a public resource over to an unelected extragovernmental, unaccountable group of people? Who on earth thought that was a good idea?

  26. Simon Painter
    Black Helicopters

    @What we really need

    Not sure that ringing up IWF and asking for a list of ISPs that don't use their service would be a good idea.

    It's bound to get you put on some sort of watch list.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Demon Mobile Internet

    We (by that I mean Thus) don't have the facility to filter anything on the Mobile Internet. Vodafone (our supplier) uses a basic 18+ content filter, which can be disabled at any time.And I'm not leaving my name, i like my job.

  28. Chris Miller

    My ISP works correctly

    Nildram/Pipex/Tiscali allows access to (for now, at least)

  29. EdwardP

    Absolutly amazed.

    This is proper censorship is it not? I wasn't aware we'd reached this stage yet.

    I know the register has only recently started covering this kind of thing, but it seems to be happening more and more often (I'm sure I'd have heard from elsewhere if something of this scale had happened before). So what's changed? Has the IWF just come under new management?

    I'm with KeConnect Internet and it's not blocked, but I am really astonished that something like can be blocked and not be widely reported.

  30. Christoph Silver badge

    Mine was blocked

    The Wayback Machine was blocked by an upstream provider. My ISP coded round it.

  31. Jon


    What gets me the most is that they hide the fact they are doing it. If they came up with a page like web{non}sense saying "Blocked: kiddie pr0n - Click here to if you think this is wrongly labelled" that would at least solve some the problem*. The fact that they just give a 404 or whatever happens is wrong.

    *Of course does nothing for the fact that consenting adults should be able to do anything that does not harm others, and the heavy handed and ham fisted way in which sites whole sites get lablled in the first place.

  32. David Pollard

    @ hikaricore

    Do Brits do riots?

  33. Seán


    Some content is "bad" but all censorship is evil.

  34. Andy Smith


    I just searched on it for '', and the links came back like this: '', but I'm not even on Demon... I'm on Zen!

  35. TallPaul

    Not the same as last time

    I'm with VirginMedia (ex NTL). We were caught in the Wikipedia farce but this time around we seem to be OK and I can see sites via Wayback Machine which makes me wonder if this really an IWF problem.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Fair Game, Lets take back control of the net

    We need to declare 'fair game' and start doing everything in our power to subvert web censorship world wide. Sys admins responsible for implementing filtering systems in ISPs need to make sure they leave gaping flaws, lie, cheat and do whatever it takes to ensure web censorship is never effective.

    Consultants hired by the government need to avoid talking about circumvention methods such as tunnels, vpns, proxies etc. Just leave it out of your reports, Joe MP doesn't need to know about such things.

    Governments around the world are starting to implement these ridiculous filtering initiatives around the world and unless we act now we might wake up tomorrow and find there's no place to VPN to.

  37. Julian Bond


    There's something wrong with that Wikipedia story. Even transparent proxies should pass though the client IP address. And Mediawiki and the wikipedia code should be checking HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR and HTTP_CLIENT_IP not just REMOTE_ADDR

    So either the wikipedia code is stupid or the IWF proxies are not playing fair.

  38. Keith_C


    Seems that Entanet are filtering as well, although only for ADSL customers. Our leased line with them is fine, as is their transit feed.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @Neil Greatorex: Good ISPs

    After extensive research, I've compiled an exhaustive list of ISPs that are guaranteed to provide good bandwidth and good customer service without censoring or facilitating warrantless wiretaps. Here is the complete list:



  40. Ed
    Thumb Down


    I've been using Nildram for my internet for years, and they were great. Since they were bought by Pipex, then Tiscalli, they've limited bittorrent and usenet in the evenings from the 800KB/s I'd normally get to 10KB/s. Apparently this is 'reasonable' traffic management...

    I'm off to Be - I hope they're better. They're cheaper and faster, so I have my doubts! So, avoid Nildram at all costs - used to be the best, now one of the worst.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What next?>

    I am betting blogs will be next! The media barons and Government are shit scared of them. They didnt spend hundreds of millions on a newspaper in order to control what the Govt does only to find it ignored by the masses!

  42. Dann

    Virgin Media blocked too

    All I Get is


  43. lIsRT
    Thumb Down

    DRM lessening today, filtering lessening tomorrow...


    I never knew something for viewing old versions of websites was an "Anonymizing Utility".

    Viewing from work, not likely anything related to IWF, but it's confirmed my view that filtering is idiotic.

    "Smartfilter Bess Edition" in this case.

    > You cannot access the following Web address:



    > The site you requested is blocked under the following categories: Anonymizing Utilities

  44. John Chadwick

    Who are the IWF?

    Who are the people behind this organisation, do they actually know anything about the Internet or the sites they ban, do they actually investigate the Sites and URLs before they decide what to ban? Likewise do the ISPs bother to do impact analysis, or even check the URLs and Sites themselves?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Bethere are also filtering the same

    But our colo server in IFL isn't.......

  46. Jim Willsher
    Thumb Down


    Strange. I can access from my Eclipse Internet (Kingston) connection, but ADSL24 (Entanet) gives a 404....

  47. Peter Sommer

    Available via BT Internet at the moment

    Not the slightest problem here; I have just managed to view pages I created back in 1997...

  48. Anonymous Coward

    @Neil Greatorex

    "What we really need is a definitive list of the ISPs that use this list"

    What we really need is transparency, i.e. we need to be able to see what's on the list, so that we can know if the censorship is reasonable. At the moment, the IWF is completely unaccountable to the public.

    (The Wayback Machine is accessible on Orange.)

  49. robert
    Thumb Up

    What's the Reg Reader approved ADSL supplier nowadays?

    BeThere if you can get it gets the thumbs up all round

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IWF-using ISP List

    Is a good idea. The explanations for this censorship should be interesting. I'm on Be and have been able to visit old versions of websites ok. So far...


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