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The following story began here on EDTECH, not that I expect anybody to be proud of that or anything: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/04/27/wikipedia-child-porn-larry-sanger- fbi/ " Sanger says he began looking for explicit content after realizing during a mailing list discussion with other educators that most of them had no idea that Wikimedia had content that might be deemed inappropriate for students." Now please don't be insulted. I did *not* tell the journalist that it was "most" of you; I am sure I said "some." Well, the above story finally reports on what is, I think, an important situation. I was amazed that so many school district filter managers did not know the extent and explicitness of the pornography on the Wikimedia websites. But I was actually shocked when I found the images I did in Commons' "Category:Pedophilia." The chutzpah of having that category on a non-profit reference site, defended on EDTECH by well-meaning professionals, was incredible to me. I thought the images were probably against the law; so I looked up the applicable statute, 18 USC 1466A, and discovered that indeed it was. But I also discovered that the law required me to report it. So I did. Then I thought: this should be public knowledge; so I made my report to the FBI public. Anyway, it snowballed from there. The above-linked article does not tell my side of the story perfectly well, so let me get some nit-picks out there. I did not say that the Wikimedia Foundation *is* knowingly distributing child pornography, I said that they *may be*. I also have since corrected the description from "child porn" to "depictions of child sexual abuse." (Some people, like Wikimedia's general counsel, really, really care about this terminology.) I did not say that Wikimedia sites are "rife" with the stuff, and I did not say that I believe the content of the Wikimedia Commons categories *definitely does* violate 18 USC 1466A, but that it "look[ed] like" it does. (In other words, IANAL.) For what it's worth, both journalists who have written on this story have told me that they've consulted with multiple legal experts and they could find nobody who would deny that the statute applies to the images in question. Also for what it's worth, I've received letters from my representatives saying they've referred the matter to the FBI. For its part, there were "multiple requests by the FBI for more time, including a weekend, to reply to a request for comment." In other words, it sure sounds like they're working on something. The main answer that Wikipedians and their defenders have to the charge--other than that I have all sorts of unseemly motives--is that most of the offending images are "historical," or 100 years old. Well, sure. It is possible for depictions of child molestation to be 100 years old. But I assure you, in case you don't want actually to look at the images, that they really are horrible. (At least, they're horrible for a person who, like me, is not used to seeing realistic and fairly explicit drawings of children being molested.) Their age doesn't make them any less apt to violate 18 USC 1466A, but we'll see what the FBI and courts have to say about the matter. I don't think the courts will care about the age of the material, but what do I know? The initial report (in The Register) elicited some quite amazingly hostile attacks. Here is my reply to that: http://www.larrysanger.org/ReplyToSlashdot.html --Larry ----- Lawrence M. Sanger, Ph.D. | http://www.larrysanger.org/ Editor-in-Chief, Citizendium | http://www.citizendium.org/ Executive Director, WatchKnow | http://www.watchknow.org/ email@example.com --- Edtech Archives, posting guidelines and other information are at: http://www.h-net.msu.edu/~edweb Please include your name, email address, and school or professional affiliation in each posting. To unsubscribe send the following command to: LISTSERV@H-NET.MSU.EDU SIGNOFF EDTECH