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Friday, January 16, 2009

German Government Wants to Start ISP-Based Censoring

Germany will start to hand out blacklists to internet providers, several German news sources, like Spiegel, report. This move is proclaimed to only filter child porn. In about 6-8 weeks the dealings with the ISPs should be finalized, German family minister Leyen said, expecting the technical implementation to go live this year. Already, German regulatory offices have been working with search engines like Google to block content based on a blacklist. (Google Germany, for instance, bans certain Holocaust denial material, as that is illegal in Germany.)

In regards to objections that, once such censorship technology is in place, other areas outside child porn might be blocked too, Leyen said child porn is easy to be separated from other things. She admitted, however, that she wasn’t able to say what future politicians might do with the censorship technology.

As to the effectiveness of this blocking, the issued press release said “Technically experienced internet users will always find ways to route around the barriers.”

German family minister Ursula von der Leyen

Recently in the UK, thousands of internet users weren’t able to edit Wikipedia. The UK Internet Watch Foundation had issued a block due to Wikipedia hosting a 1976 album cover of rock band Scorpions which partly showed a young nude girl. The ban had been lifted later after protest and much reporting. According to other reports, the IWF recently issued bans against specific web pages or images of historical web archive Wayback Machine in relation to the Protection of Children Act, but some ISPs apparently then blocked the Wayback Machine altogether.

[Photo by German government.]


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