German Web Censorship Law Passed

GermanyThe German web censorship law passed the German Bundestag earlier today. This could mean that German Internet providers with more than 10.000 customers have to create filters based on a secret list that is provided by the German Federal Criminal Office. Users who access Internet sites that are included in the list will be presented with a stop sign instead of the website itself. The traffic details will be recorded but cannot be used for criminal prosecution. The police does have the right to check the data on suspicion.

The German Federal Criminal Office has the authority to add new websites and domains to the list. A website can for instance be added instantly if it is hosted outside of the European Union. A committee has been designated to perform spot checks on the list every three months.

The law itself was pushed mainly as a law to fight child pornography on the Internet. It was always denied that it would be used to censor websites for different reasons although some politicians have already mentioned that they would like to include violent video games or hate sites in the list as well.

Internet providers have the sole responsibility to provide the infrastructure and maintain the web censorship filters. This includes organizations like Universities but also some businesses with more than 10000 employees. The technique employed to filter websites that are on the web censorship list is simply blocking the domain name. Users who enter the IP can visit the site normally. (via Heise (German))

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Responses to German Web Censorship Law Passed

  1. Roman ShaRP July 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    Long live anonymizers and censorship-passing programs/software/networks like TOR.

    First they blocking for porn, then for terrorism, then anything they don't like "for the state and nation security" or copyright infringement, and as I don't trust authorities, I don't trust censorship they introduce as well.

  2. Thinker July 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    Like in China :D Don't worry, there is a lot of ways to bypass this censorship :)

  3. DanTe July 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    I had always wondered by Germany and France are trying to be so chummy chummy with China. The politicians there wants to emulate the communist regime.

    I guess those "freedom projects" now apply to Germany as well. Too bad.

    Has anyone there challenged this law under EU auspices?

    • Martin July 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm #

      Dante there was lots of opposition in Germany, more than 140000 people signed an online petition where you had to register to sign (IIRC). But since there is no direct democracy in Germany and politicians usually only care about their believes and their sponsors there is no way this law was not going to pass.

  4. Shelia July 10, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    Germany is not the only european country with such secret blacklists of censored sites. Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, UK and the Netherlands are censoring too. Europe, China and Iran are competing very hard who`s best in "protecting" their population from the evil internet...

  5. yogi July 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    A sad day for freedom in the West.

  6. Livefreeinformation July 11, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Long Live Free information. What are Germans so afraid? I suppose the politicians that approved this where happy revarded in Euro$.

    I feel really sorry for the Germans which think they live in Democracy. Germany controls information for a long time just like China does. I hope other countries never let this kind of laws. This kind of bans are never for Sex websites or terrorism. They always block websites which they think political incorrect.

    I can only quote Benjamin Franklin:

    They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.
    He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.
    He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.
    People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.
    If we restrict liberty to attain security we will lose them both.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.
    Those who would trade in their freedom for their protection deserve neither.
    Those who give up their liberty for more security neither deserve liberty nor security.

  7. Pickwick July 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    The awful and familiar problem with such 'protective' measures - and it's happening in the UK too - is that throughout history people simply never, NEVER, learn...

  8. remember Auschwitz? July 12, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    German Big Brother

  9. Markus July 13, 2009 at 5:11 am #

    Tis is indeet very sad and scary. I already feel like we lived in china ...

    By the way: there already is political sensorship. I knew at least two satire-websites that were swicht off.

  10. Roman ShaRP July 13, 2009 at 7:51 am #

    Markus, can you provide addresses of that sites for us?

    • Martin July 13, 2009 at 8:49 am #

      There is already a lot of censorship going on in Germany and other parts of Europe. Just compare search results between google.com and google.de and you notice that some websites are not included in the German Google index. Mostly websites that deal with the Holocaust and WWII but there might be others, who knows.

  11. a gamer October 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    to me so much of this sounds like paranoia. uesing "VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES! *~*" as an example. nigh on all the people who say that games are bad and that they turn people into killers, have never been within 2 meaters of a game. also they tend not to define "violent games", about 90% of games are violent in some way.

    i apologise for any crap spelling, punctuation or deveiation from the subject

  12. mikeinreality December 8, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    you guys are ridiculous...Germany is just using effective police work strategies to prevent child abuse. They are not even going overboard with the tech. The German state does this sort of thing very well, and it is because it is a DEMOCRACY. The opposition here had manly do with a bunch of hackers that wanted to have a cracked democracy for the sake of their own illegal self interests. About "TOR", it uses a series of known ip addresses and serves. In addition, it gives voluntarily the information to the British Gov, who in turn gives it to other govs. So TOR, is a poor man version of a work around and would not do anything but give you a false sense of security from which you would eventually get caught.

    As a far leftist, I can tell you the bill that passed is not that bad and a better example of democracy then I can remember ever when living in the United States.

    • Martin December 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

      Democracy is actually a big part of the problem.. And no, it is not effective what they do.

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