The Internet Watch Foundation have placed Wikipedia on their blacklist. The result of this is that ISPs who choose to make use of their blacklist - including Virgin Media - have blocked the filtered content, which appears to be an article and image for the album "Virgin Killer", which features a nude prepubescent girl. Whether or not that image would be considered child porn by a court, note that the encyclopedic text is clearly legal, yet it is separately being blocked.
A knock on effect is that all accesses to Wikipedia (i.e., for any page) through these ISPs come through a single IP address. As a result, Wikipedia have had to disable anonymous edits via these ISPs, as they cannot distinguish between different users when it comes to abusive edits. Existing registered users can continue to edit.
Another issue is that whilst some ISPs (e.g., Demon) inform the user that the page has been censored, and why, Virgin Media just return a fake "page not found" error. If we cannot access a website, how do we tell if this is a problem with the site, or it has been intentionally blocked by Virgin Media?
Virgin Media have responded on the newsgroup virginmedia.support.broadband.cable (on news.virginmedia.com) - their response is to blame Wikimedia!:
"This is not something that technical support would have any information or
control over. This is not only Virgin (as stated in the article) but
multiple ISP's .
"Sorry if this has caused any inconvenience but is not a fault but an active
measure to stop inappropriate content on the Internet."
"I stated that we are unable to offer support for this issue. It is due to a
decision make in conjunction with the IWF to block sites containing
potential offensive material. The reason for the block isn't actually with
virginmedia but with wikimedia. They have blocked editing rights to their
service as VirginMedia are using a transparent proxy to this site and
subdomains. This is identified as a single IP; therefore wikimedia are
unable to moderate as it would moderate every VM customer."
This misses the point that the blocking of the IP address is not at issue here - what is at issue is Virgin Media's block on encyclopedic textual content that is clearly legal, and placing all accesses to Wikipedia through a single IP.
It is also not something that they have no control over - signing up to the IWF's blacklist is a choice, and as they say themselves, a decision made "in conjunction with the IWF". Surely they should communicate with the IWF that this system is (a) blocking clearly legal material, and (b) causing problems for their customers due to the way it is implemented?
Are there any Virgin Media people here who can give a more informed response?