Germany Passes Legislation to Block Child Pornography

By: Jillian C. York on 22 June 2009

First it was the UK, then Australia: Over the past year, ONI has witnessed consideration of filtering schemes by several Western countries, as well as the leaking of "secret block lists" for a few others (such as Norway and Denmark). The latest country to consider a nationwide policy is Germany; in April of 2009, its coalition government drafted a bill aimed at cracking down on child pornography by method of a DNS block list.

The bill received significant opposition from the German public, with a record 130,000 citizens signing the largest official e-petition in German history. Online protesters, using the hashtag #zensursula (a portmanteau of of the German word "zensur" meaning censor and the name of the Minister for Family Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen), managed to penetrate social network Twitter, making such statements as "ein politikerkopf darf kein luftleerer raum sein" (a politician's head must not be a vaccuum) and offering support for Germany's Pirate Party.

Despite the protests, however, on June 18, Parliament passed the legislation, by a vote of 389 to 146, effectively introducing a nationwide filtering policy in Germany. Although the legislation allows for ISPs only to filter Web sites allegedly containing child abuse material, opposition parties and activists in Germany have warned that the architecture of the system could allow for filtering of other content in the future without due process.

In addition to the concern that filtering creates a slippery slope for online freedoms, another worry is that filtering child pornography does little to stop its proliferation. According to Yaman Akdeniz, the director of British Cyber-rights and Cyber-liberties organization and leading CyberLaw blogger, blocking is only a temporary solution. Speaking to Deutsche Welle, Akdeniz said: "In a sense, blocking access to these Web sites does not necessarily make the problem go away. We just push it off our computer screens - whether in Germany or the United Kingdom or any other country - but that doesn't necessarily mean the serious problem of sexual exploitation of children and child pornography disappear from the Internet."

Akdeniz is not the only one. Following the 2008 agreement of three New York state ISPs to block child pornography, Mike Masnick of the popular TechDirt blog said: "Taking a stand against child porn would be hunting down those responsible for the child porn and making sure that they're dealt with appropriately. Blocking access to some websites doesn't solve the problem. Those who still produce and make use of child porn will still get it from other sources -- but it will be more underground, making it more difficult for authorities to track down."

Although the legislation has passed, activists continue to protest it, with one lawmaker of the Social Democrats quitting over his party's support of the bill.

German "Net politics" activist Simon Columbus has the last word: "While the Social Democrats have succeeded in severely changing the bill, they forgot about one thing: The censorship infrastructure itself is the problem. Regardless of any barriers to ban misuse of the law, this infrastructure is a threat to civil liberty and its implementation is a breach of democratic values. We cannot allow ourselves to think in the categories of "more" and "less" damaging censorship. If so, we will continue to experience that civil liberties are eradicated step-by-step - the censorship law is only one of many."

They are exactly right about the infrastructure.

We all learned as children that to solve many kinds of problems, one may work backwards. In this case is the problem of how to filter the Internet so that our point of view prevails.

The answer is to work backwards. Find some issue - any issue - that will get the public to politically support a censorship infrastructure. They tried and failed with piracy and terrorism. Now they want to use the child pornography issue. If that does not work, I am sure they will think of some other threat that needs to be blocked, such as cyber attacks from enemy nations disguised as Internet content.

They tried and failed with piracy and terrorism. Now they want to use the child pornography issue. If that does not work, I am sure they will think of some other threat that needs to be blocked, such as cyber attacks from enemy nations disguised as Internet content.



the last time we had a similar law in germany was untill 1945. it was forbidden to listen to Feindsender ("hostile stations").

this infrastructure also means that soon websites from the usa will be declared hostile stations. because the usa has too much freedom of speech.

yea, i know. godwin's law - i lose. but this is not over yet.

Zensursula accidently gave birth to a big movement which suddenly awakened political interest. non-voters who before were too annoyed by german politics are now going to vote.

our politicians screw up our constitutional rights (freedom of receiving information, privacy etc) more and more. the german netizens often viewed this with disgust, but the majority never got active. untill Zensursula.

Censor... Censor..... Zensursula

Unfortunally, german politics turned in an unconstitutional way!

Politicans have never played an Ego-Shooter, or have programmed even a simple html-script and decide OUR politics and unconstitunitonal Censorship!

Article 5 of the Federal Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany from the 23rd May of 1949 says: ''Everyone is allowed to inform himself freely from every source [...]''

Our former Interior Minister and now financial minister [very funny while he lost DM 100k from a weapon-lobbyist! srsly bad choose ;-)] had been assasined and since that he`s been paraplegic and sits in a wheelchair. This man was first who wanted to start censorship in the ''Federal Republic of Germany'' to secure germany [from foreign opinions and media] and data-retention to secure websites from german federal authorities [from hacking],(idependent from the fact, that the computing-system of the federal agecy for protection of the constitutuin is from the 1970's [NADIS] and hab been hacked several times primary from chinese hackers). see Wikipedia German:

Then Zernsursula von der Laien [citizens origial name: Ursula von der Leyen; renamed because of her ideas of censorship to ''disarm the € 160M business of child porography''. She got a letter from a ''copyright-protection'' lobbyist from his lobbyist-association GEMA, who wrote ''...we thank for this step of the community-willed regulation of information on the Internet. We hope to use this to defend german innovations and intellectual propety...'' This means in grovellor-german: ''Please block any site hosting downloads of music, films or software!''

The annoy german person does not vote, and if he votes, he votes in the exact the predicted and exact the percentage of smile-banners of candidates.

The ''Crisitan Deocratic Union'' and the ''Socialdemocratic Party of Germany'' have done this stuff. Fortunally, the coalization of the first listed party with the ''Free democratic party of germany'' cut this censorship officially out of their coalization-program.
The ''pirate party of germany'' has been electionable first and hab become the 6th-most voted party form the beginning (2%), this based on the mud-propaganda of our ''Minister for Family, Woman, Children, and Senior-aged'' [you know, Zensursula!] and the serious discussion while the parlamentarion Jörg Tauss changed from the socialdemocratic party to the pirate party.
After this, he had been delivered to the rainbow-press because he had been given the activity to find out were in germany child-pornography had been produced and how it will be traded.
But during an not official-respected or seriously reported under-18-election the pirate party gets over 9%!

Independent from this party-based stuff, the most parlamentarians were qiute unskilled windows-users mailing uncripted via outlook. See our ex-ministry of justice speaking out: ''Browser...? What in the hell is a Browser?'' @
[srsly embarrassing that this was sent trough the goverment-own media!]

But there is even a good news:

A group of ISPs (which had not signed the contract with the federal police for ''acess-hardening to child-absuse material'') founded WhiteIT-Foundation to delete (not to censor) child absuse content directly from the source and to support RL[offline]-investigation trough police!


Get ready for change! - Klarmachen zum ändern! [official theme of the Pirate Party Germany]

PS: I`m not from the pirate party, but i`m one of minority of under-18-political-interrested people here, and the goverment dislikes us, because we show unsilledness of politicans, agencies and their techniques/equipment!

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