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German Parliament Enacts Internet Censorship Law

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the fuer-die-kinder dept.

Censorship 273

TheTinyToon writes that by a vote of 389 to 128, "the proposed censorship law to block child porn has been passed by the German government. Not surprisingly, a member of the conservative party (CDU) announced plans to also check if the law could be extended to include so-called 'killer games' like Counterstrike, only two hours after the law was passed. More [in German] on netzpolitik.org."

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First GNAA Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385773)

I fail it?

First Jew Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385785)

Oy Vey!

The mods are asleep (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385779)

Quick, post CP before the NAZIs can block it!

Calculator Porn? (3, Funny)

Hecatonchires (231908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385809)

519009

Re:Calculator Porn? (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386163)

dont you mean 58008?

Re:The mods are asleep (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385955)

CP

yey! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385803)

FRIST!

Quick, extend this law to Tetris (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385813)

some of the blocks have a very phallic shapes. Like for instance:

#####
#

Eew... Think of the children!

Re:Quick, extend this law to Tetris (1, Offtopic)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386065)

Stupidity reigns.

I for one refuse to welcome our new censorship enforcing overlords.

It makes me sick. It seems that Western society is rapidly descending into despicable mutating police states.

The golden era is over. We're all doomed.

or not! (4, Interesting)

siloko (1133863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386235)

The golden era is over. We're all doomed.

The exact reverse can be argued. Due to the empowerment the internet has given to Joe Public, the enabling technologies which continue to come to market and the explosion in independent self expression Governments around the world are panicking into passing legislation which they hope will get the Genie back in the bottle. But frankly, they're pissing in the wind. Human ingenuity will win out over the nay sayers maybe for the first time in history because the development of tools is in OUR hands and the infrastructure is essentially beyond the control of individual governments.

Re:or not! (2, Insightful)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386311)

Beyond governments maybe - but heading into the hands of companies certainly.

Re:or not! (5, Insightful)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386419)

The golden era is over. We're all doomed.

The exact reverse can be argued. Due to the empowerment the internet has given to Joe Public, the enabling technologies which continue to come to market and the explosion in independent self expression Governments around the world are panicking into passing legislation which they hope will get the Genie back in the bottle. But frankly, they're pissing in the wind. Human ingenuity will win out over the nay sayers maybe for the first time in history because the development of tools is in OUR hands and the infrastructure is essentially beyond the control of individual governments.

So: Go child porn?

Sure, the only people it will 'deter' is the stupid first time viewers, and it will probably still let through 90%, so it'll be pointless, but it's hardly as though there is a hard-an-fast distinction between 'censorship' and 'things you're by law required not to look at or enjoy'. The only difference is that in this case you're afraid of the "what else"... Sure, it's possible to say that you think the threat is overblown, or even that you just don't care enough about systematic exploitation of minors to want to risk "free speech" abridgment, but it's hardly as though you really are able, willing and interested in "saying" everything you could
The things you talk about, and consider important whenever the right to "free speech" is brought up, are the things that society allows you to talk about, after all. I still see very few people who are willing to openly discuss their private or sexual lives with others, even though there is no 'real'/'obvious' reason not to want to talk about it at all (in a non-lame/infantile manner). Especially considering the fact that statistically, people are still unsatisfied with these lives, and education, or sharing experiences, tips and tricks, would certainly obviate or alleviate some of these problems/complaints.
Yet still people consider this a "private" matter, feel uncomfortable, and are afraid that their spouse will immediately be poached upon or will want to 'try out' others as soon as the subject is discussed openly (or somesuch. We humans have such active imaginations, especially when it comes to thinking up scenarios about what might go wrong when we change some rule or other. They're much like that CDU politician at that, although most just come up with these rationalizations after the fact, because they "just don't feel comfortable" even thinking about it.)

Anyway, the problem isn't that certain modes of "speech" are being disallowed or prosecuted for when done online, (because that also happens offline) the problem is that cultural conservatives exist, who generally don't believe in looking at effect studies before passing judgment on whatever it is they perceive as a danger.
Luckily these people die to be replaced by other conservatives who are trying to conserve a slightly later rule set (the one that they grew up with, rather than their parents, allowing us to change the topics of debate at least once or a few times per generation. Reactionaries, luckily, are few and far between, and most of the time far off the mark when it comes to being "accurate" in their portrayal of earlier 'values'.

Re:or not! (2, Interesting)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386483)

What can also be argued is that people get the government they deserve. Regardless of the widely held view of technology professionals a large proportion of the population of Europe & Australia support the idea of government controlled censorship on the internet. Why did an American President get away with warrantless wire-tapping, when an extra-marital affair by a different President has badly scarred his reputation? Because many if not most Americans either don't see the risk in giving their government totalitarian powers or support the idea.

the infrastructure is essentially beyond the control of individual governments.

It really isn't. Control of the internet is an easy thing for governments to exert, far easier than print or vocal communication. They already have access to all the data you send (via your ISP) if they want it, meaning you are relying on encryption. How hard is it for them to profile the owners of homes using high grade encryption and find likely political dissidents, then using laws they brought in to "catch high-tech paedophiles" physically seize computers and compel the owner to provide a password, which they have ruled is not protected by the 4th amendment and failure to do so is a crime?

Re:Quick, extend this law to Tetris (3, Funny)

agw (6387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386093)

Some German magazine was quicker. Latest cover:

http://www.titanic-magazin.de/uploads/pics/0612-tetris.jpg [titanic-magazin.de]
("25 years of tetris: Who stops this killer game?")

Re:Quick, extend this law to Tetris (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386445)

That wasn't an L block! This is an L block:

###
#

Tetris pieces (Tetrinos?) have only 4 blocks.

Had this not been slashdot, that would have been excusable.

Re:Quick, extend this law to Tetris (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386529)

Tetris pieces (Tetrinos?) have only 4 blocks.

GP was clearly referring to the "pervert edition" of tetris, with increased, err, size.

'straya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385815)

This is exactly why we have to ensure this never happens in Australia, even if the government wants to push ahead. Viva la revolution?

Re:'straya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386005)

Count me in. Let me know if you need extra pitch-forks.

Step up and do the movies! (2, Interesting)

Naaythann (1416151) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385837)

Living in Australia I have the joy of having games censored for the localised version. Violent movies are still widely available in comparison, why is it that the games are always targeted and not the movies. There has been plenty of films i've watched over the years I wouldn't suggest to under 18's but for them it is suprisingly easy to hire said movies from the local video shop.

Re:Step up and do the movies! (1)

headLITE (171240) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386387)

We have that in Germany anyway. Same problem as with child pornography, the main point was that it *should be illegal*, ignoring that it already is...

Locks only keep honest people honest (5, Insightful)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385845)

"Once the legislation passes, police officials will have to draw up a list of web sites that feature child pornography and send the list to all telecommunications companies." Might as well just make the list public knowledge. Anyone with the inclination to view the material will be able to find it easier with any list made.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386119)

I've got 101 mod points and you can't have them!

I have over 9000.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (2, Informative)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386145)

Except that the list will contain websites that contain anything objectionable to those making the list.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386157)

"Once the legislation passes, police officials will have to draw up a list of web sites that feature child pornography and send the list to all telecommunications companies." Might as well just make the list public knowledge. Anyone with the inclination to view the material will be able to find it easier with any list made.

Incidentially this is one of the criticisms that practically all experts had. The experts were all ignored. One of the reasons some people now believe (and I tend in that direction) that this law is not about protecting children at all.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386211)

Believe? Anyone who has seen German politics for the last few years knows that this list is for many things, but protection of children is the smokescreen, at best.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (0, Flamebait)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386309)

I agree with you there, but fact is that most Gemans do not seem to actually look at German politics. Otherwise there should be a huge outrage against this scamming of the population. There is not. Reminds me of a situation some 70 years ago. Seems Gemans have a tendency to be sheep.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (1)

neongrau (1032968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386517)

i agree that (sadly) the majority of germans seems uninterested in any sort of politics. (although many other countries share the same problem).

what adds up to this misery is that the biggest newspaper in germany was somehow supporting the censorship by spreading propaganda by dissing everyone opposing the the law as "child-porn-supporters" including but not limited to a few politicians from established political parties but also CCC / AK Zens_ur / Piratenpartei (german Pirate Party). with the main stream media incompentent of realizing the consequences and actively working against the freedom and rights of the citizens all we can hope for is the "Bundesverfassungsgericht" (german constitutional court). If they don't prevent this law i'll lose the last bit of hope for this country as the german constitution says "There is no censorship."

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386195)

I wonder whether they have been thinking this through to the end. It's a surefire way for backfiring.

Face it, the list will get out sooner or later. You have to hand that list to people you can't trust and who most likely do not agree with the censorship. I give it 2-3 weeks before you can read it up on wikileaks (for reference, see Australia). Then the minister for the interor can choose whether she wants to be pummeled from the right (if there is anything right of the CSU) or the left.

The right will clobber her for handing the pedos basically a shopping list.

The left will clobber her for listing sites that have nothing to do with child pornography but end up there for "questionable" (read: political) content.

In any way, this is certain to backfire on her. I wonder if she has any idea what she's doing here.

Not that I wouldn't want her to get kicked out of office, mind you...

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386229)

Instead if trying to filter the websites, why don't they try to close them down?

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (2)

SecondaryOak (1342441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386459)

Because the websites in question might not fall under German jurisdiction.

Although, since most countries have anti-child-pornography laws, it might be possible after all through cooperation - and that trying to close the sites down is probably a better alternative.

Re:Locks only keep honest people honest (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386469)

Might as well just make the list public knowledge. Anyone with the inclination to view the material will be able to find it easier with any list made.

Easy solution: the list of places with child porn will not be shown to anyone. The telecoms will just have to block those sites on the secret list without seeing the list. Is that too much to ask to protect our children?!? JESUS CHRIST WHY WON'T YOU PEOPLE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?

Don't they get attacked for those lies? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385849)

What stops a politician from the "opposite" side from simply stating:

"I'm against this law because you'll use it to cover more content than discussed. We all see your lies."

Then, when the law passed, it could go unchanged, and thus useless, or be used as intended (to push some agenda) and the politician could happily point to the previous declarations:

"As everyone already predicted, it was all a lie and they just wanted the law for their personal use."

Please don't let the response be "nobody cares about truths, people just vote the most charismatic guy".

Re:Don't they get attacked for those lies? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385875)

So you're saying it's a good political strategy to do nothing then go around saying "nah nah nah I told you so?"
I'm sure they'll back down and repel the law out of shame after the fact... </sarcasm>

Oh and also, nobody cares about truths, people just vote the most charismatic guy.

Re:Don't they get attacked for those lies? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385999)

So you're saying it's a good political strategy to do nothing then go around saying "nah nah nah I told you so?"

Who said nothing about saying nothing? I was saying that additionally to whatever they can do to stop unjust laws, they should also build an official and easy to reference archive of lies.

Re:Don't they get attacked for those lies? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386169)

.What stops a politician from the "opposite" side from simply stating:

"I'm against this law because you'll use it to cover more content than discussed. We all see your lies."

The sad truth is that gemany has a grand coalition (of stupidity) at this time. And in addition even many MPs not in this coalition are to scared to vote that way, least the "child molester" meme rubs off on them.

Re:Don't they get attacked for those lies? (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386217)

Because "you lied" is a very slippery slope attack for politicians. Every politician lied at some point, and when someone opens that venue, he will get replies likewise.

For the same reason you don't get to see politicians using the promises of their opponents from years past against them. Have you ever wondered why no party ever used the slogans of their opponents against them (as in "see what they promised you last election and now think what you got")?

Maybe because the last thing they want is the voter to remember their promises and their lies.

Re:Don't they get attacked for those lies? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386337)

That was indeed my thought.

However that rises the next question: "Is there no truthful politician?"

(for some reason, I suspect the chain of questions will end in "people are stupid")

Seig heil! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385873)

Vee must schtop zee pornografers zat wud defile our glorious heestory.

What Might Have Been (1, Insightful)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385889)

If only Germany had protected its citizens from violent video games in the 1930's, imagine how many lives would have been saved!

Re:What Might Have Been (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386091)

If by "violent video games", you mean "violent fantasies of power and grandeur", your point changes.

I do disagree with banning games, but your analogy doesn't attack the logic they are using. There are people alive in Germany right now who remember being caught up in the mythic ideals leading their nation, willingly and excitedly, into war all across Europe and beyond. You can't use arguments about why banning video games is wrong, because they aren't worried about the games per se. You have to explain why the games are different from the Nazi propaganda which so thoroughly scarred their national psyche that the effects are still felt to this day.

Personally, I'd point out that the games aren't ideological, so they don't really push the same sort of emotional buttons that the Nazi idealism did. Even so, I suspect the nation still has an understandable aversion to the glorification of violence. I guess the counter-argument there is that the people playing the games don't bear those psychological scars, being so far removed in time from the war, sort of like how most Americans today don't really have an emotional connection to the great depression and thus aren't as frugal about money (although current events may be changing that a bit).

Re:What Might Have Been (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386523)

Yeah, maybe if the rulers of the German people hadn't been such a bunch of pussies the militant right wing might not have seemed such a fantastic alternative. The NAZIs rose to power on the backs of liberal backlash. The German people were jewed and gyped out of their fair share of the spoils of The Great War and after years of humiliation they took a ride on the first ship that sailed into port flying the flag of revenge.

Re:What Might Have Been (2, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386335)

I rather wonder what atrocities could have been avoided if some people had a virtual outlet for their delusions of grandeur or their sadistic drive.

Re:What Might Have Been (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386497)

If only Germany had protected its citizens from violent video games in the 1930's, imagine how many lives would have been saved!

I'm confused... your point here is "This is one of the countries that started WW2, so they have no right to ban violent videogames?" Or was it "WW2 was not caused by videogames, so clearly videogames can never be blamed for real life violence?"

Dr.Goebbels would love this (3, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385901)

In the movie Euro Trip there was a scene where the guy goes to meet his German girfriend and a boy does the Hitler salute with the moustache.
It raised an uproar, especially in Germany and many German politicians swore up and down that they had excercised the Ghost of Hitler.
Have they?
If i remember the massive book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", Nazi movies in theaters were do devoid of audience that Wilhelm Frick, the Minister of the Interior, issued a stern warning against "treasonable behavior on the part of cinema audiences."
First you start by censoring what's available. Then you start by slowly ratcheting up the local propaganda, and then you outlaw any and all unapproved broadcasts and networks.
German politicians are treading the thinnest line possible between Liberty and Hitler.
 

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28385967)

So hard to avoid Godwin's law on this subject..

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386503)

You're an idiot. You should be euthanised.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (2, Insightful)

Fex303 (557896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386009)

German politicians are treading the thinnest line possible between Liberty and Hitler.

Because those are the only two possible options...

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (1, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386349)

In case of censorship, there are only two options. Either you allow the freedom of expression, or you don't. There is no "limited censorship".

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (3, Insightful)

SecondaryOak (1342441) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386493)

I don't know any place in which the freedom of expression is absolute. There are always restrictions - to prevent libel, because of national security, to avoid incitement to violence, etc. Yet I'd still say freedom of expression exists with those limitations.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386019)

I loved your thought and I am very pleased with it and did not like to add anything to it.
================
John Assam
Canadian Merchant Account [canadian-m...rvices.com]

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (1)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386089)

The line between liberty and Hitler is a thin one, located in a small strip between the nose and the upper lip.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386123)

German politicians are treading the thinnest line possible between Liberty and Hitler.

Because banning video games is just a thin line's-crossing away from Naziism...

I'm pretty sure the next steps away from liberty after banning violent games don't involve invading neighboring nations, forcing ethnic and religious groups to wear specific symbols, rounding them up and killing them, and what not.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (2, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386167)

How do you ban video games on certain criteria?
What prevents you from banning books, newspapers and and meetings based on same criteria?
If video games are banned because of violence in them, then books also need to be banned. So do newspapers. So do meetings which discuss such newspapers.
Where do start and where do we end?
Because while Germans as individuals are the best of the human race, as a group they are capable of the worst behavior. And no, i didn't say this.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386339)

Because banning video games is just a thin line's-crossing away from Naziism...

Not necessarily naziism, but fascism none the less. The idea that a strong state can somehow magically make all problems go away by simply passing a law against them (and giving police unconstitutional powers to enforce those laws against a select group of targets in the process) is rather prevalent here in Germany, I'm afraid.

But in this case I am not too worried. The censorship law will be struck down by our Bundesverfassungsgericht (equivalent to US Supreme Court) for unconstitutionality on various counts. Then it's all about educating the public about what happened here - next general elections are coming up soon, and for certain parties (SPD, I'm looking at you!) there will be hell to pay for their participation in passing this atrocity.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386385)

The censorship law will be struck down by our Bundesverfassungsgericht (equivalent to US Supreme Court) for unconstitutionality on various counts.

I'm still hoping for a law that prescribes a savage beating for the whole parliament every time a blatantly unconstitutional law gets struck down by the BVerfG. Heck, most of the representatives are fscking _lawyers_, they should know better than anyone else. There's absolutely no excuse.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386373)

Don't be so sure, the demand that immigrants and refugees have to wear certain markers depicting their status has been made already. It was shot down, for obvious historic reasons.

I'm not so sure it would not have worked if we didn't find something like "marking certain members of society" in our history books...

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386291)

My sister-in-law is German, and mentioned that Germans have a very hard time showing national pride even two generations after the Nazi regime commited their atrocities. I wonder how much longer people who had nothing to do with such acts will have to atone for the faults of their ancestors.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386323)

Yes. And every frenchman continues to be called a coward. Hopefully it will never end.

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (2, Funny)

Logic and Reason (952833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386343)

...many German politicians swore up and down that they had excercised the Ghost of Hitler.

Why would they want to do that? Do ghosts even need exercise?

Re:Dr.Goebbels would love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386383)

I don't even know what most of that means. Are you sane?

History repeats itself..... (4, Insightful)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28385975)

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation"

I'll leave you to guess who I'm quoting.

Re:History repeats itself..... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386011)

That was Hitler :)

Re:History repeats itself..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386027)

Mein Kampf; the Ralph Manheim translation published by Houghton-Mifflin, 1943. pg 403.

Still no Godwin :-)

Re:History repeats itself..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386175)

got to wonder though.. the reading material of certain slashdotters.... Zieg Heil!

Re:History repeats itself..... (1)

naeone (1430095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386037)

stalin?, pol pot? damn I am all out of tyrants.

Re:History repeats itself..... (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386139)

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation"

I'll leave you to guess who I'm quoting.

I'll bet he also said something about how Christmas is a nice time to spend with family, or how he thinks his mustache makes him look more mature, but that doesn't make mustaches or Christmas evil.

Re:History repeats itself..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386179)

I think you kind of missed the point of the quote. Hint: it's not about whether children are or aren't good.

Re:History repeats itself..... (1)

SBFCOblivion (1041418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386151)

That quote is only half true according to this guy [sydwalker.info] .

Re:History repeats itself..... (1)

agw (6387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386333)

Yes, comparing several unsecure sources in German and English, the second sentence does not follow the first one.
So it's either completely out of context or just made up.

it always work, even in the US (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386285)

I eman, let us have a look at COPA and other similar dumb stuff, or gay mariage law. it is all about politic making something useless but targeted at their audience to look as if they did something useful. Since most people don't look past the face value... But here I think this is mostly because people did not even knew about that law. I talked about my colleagues on this in germany. None KNEW about that law. But even when I talked about it to them, they could not care less. Why ? They never use child porn, never use porn, or "violent" video game. I mean, those are the same people which wanted to forbid PAINT BALL.

Re:History repeats itself..... (5, Insightful)

xlotlu (1395639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386303)

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation"

I'll leave you to guess who I'm quoting.

You're quoting Daniel Lapin [wikipedia.org] . This is an excerpt from an essay of his [aapsonline.org] which pretends to be a letter sent from the dead by Hitler to Julius Streicher [wikipedia.org] .

It builds on Hitler's advocacy in Mein Kampf that the sick / handicapped should be deemed unfit for procreation [vt.edu] :

[The state] must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. It must see to it that only the healthy beget children; that there is only one disgrace: despite one's own sickness and deficiencies, to bring children into the world, and one highest honor: to renounce doing so.

As such, the Hitler-attributable part of the quote is wildly out of context. But this fictional letter does a great job of pointing out where this "think of the children" is going.

Re:History repeats itself..... (1)

filedil (1113401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386313)

Hitler, right? I mean, in these threads about German censorship it's always about Hitler. Alternatively, Benjamin Franklin.

Re:History repeats itself..... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386401)

The boss of the guy who said "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

It gets kinda cold in here when our politicians pick such people as their teachers...

But what next? (1)

Sumbius (1500703) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386015)

It indeed may be able to reduce the amount of child porn watched in Germany. The problem is that once something has been censored or blocked, if someone wants to get their hands on that censored material, they will find a way. Child porn is not very "mainstream" and I'm pretty sure that quite many of those who are watching it are able to find a new way of watching it. Be it different sites (like you all know, the internet has a habit of rerouting itself once a part of it has been cut. I don't think that this will happen though), proxies or real children (not a likely outcome though). The thing I'm worried about is the fact that once you started censoring something, the threshold to censor something else falls. Once you have started, you may easily start censoring some other things, just like those killer games that were mentioned. First the porn, then the games and what next?

Re:But what next? (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386077)

I would wager that people downloading child porn are ALREADY USING PROXIES, because they don't want to be detected.

This makes the internet blocking TOTALLY 100% USELESS, except as a means to establish content filters which can be extended to other less illegal subjects (like CounterStrike).

It's so transparent as to be almost silly.

Then again....

Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to ignorance.

So, perhaps the politicians are just.... ignorant.

More likely.

Re:But what next? (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386221)

It indeed may be able to reduce the amount of child porn watched in Germany.

The current expert consent is that it will have zero effect. These will be DNS blocks which are trivially circumvented by using a different DNS server. You could use an open DNS server in a different country or simply run your own resolving server.

The thing I'm worried about is the fact that once you started censoring something, the threshold to censor something else falls. Once you have started, you may easily start censoring some other things, just like those killer games that were mentioned. First the porn, then the games and what next?

Pretty much anybody with some Internet competence is convinced that this is exactly the intention behind this law. Also there are plans to record anybody trying to access a blocked website and start investigating them (read: storm their homes, confiscate all thier computer equipment and telling the neighbours you are a likely a child-pornography consumer), since "they tried to access child pornography", which is a crime in Germany. Looks like an effort to establish a reign of fear. I predict that offering commercial anonymity proxies for webbrowsing to germans could be a good business in the next few years.

Re:But what next? (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386477)

It won't reduce the amount at all. The reasons are simple, and please excuse when I use filesharing as a parallel. They actually share a few traits: First, both are illegal. Second, both use the internet as a staple medium for the transfer of content. Third, both consist of groups of people that tend to aid each other due to the "siege mentality" associated with it.

In other words, it is quite unlikely that this will achive anything in the sense of blocking child porn at all. Aside of various YouTube videos that already show you how to ignore the filters ("circumvent" is too strong a word, it sounds like there is some work, hardship or hassle associated with it).

If anything, it will make the work of law enforcement a lot harder. Until now, you could at least catch the "dumb" ones, the ones that use no proxy and download their porn directly. Every time there's a sting, you get to see a lot of people (also from Germany) arrested because their IPs have been used to download stuff. Why are people so "dumb"? Because it works. They have no reason to dig into the technical matter, they have no reason to search for solutions, they have no reason to even know about proxies.

Now they get to see a big STOP sign. What will they do? Stop getting child pron? C'mon, we're talking about the major driving force in a human being, the sex drive. They will fire up google and search for solutions. As a (for them beneficial...) side effect they will learn that 'til now they were essentially under the sword of Damocles, any time "their" server was busted they would have been in! So they learn now about proxies, they learn now how to mask behind onion routing... they didn't really want that. They are basically "forced" to use it if they want to continue seeing their porn. And they want.

So what will come out of this? Well, certainly for one, it will look a lot better on the child pron crime statistics. The next sting, there probably won't be any child porn consumers from Germany rounded up. And we'll feel good about ourselves because there are no kiddiporn enthusiasts in Germany anymore.

What the statistic fails to see is that all we accomplished is that we can't catch them anymore. Well done, Mrs. von der Leyen, you didn't manage to protect children, but you managed to protect child porn consumers.

Re:But what next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386487)

It was never about the children in the first place.

It's either about establishing a censorship infrastructure - which will definitely be expanded to include other content in the future (every other week another association or politician wants to add things) - or a mere election campaign sacrifice.

Considering the impressive resistence to facts and reality of our politicians, it's hard to pick one of the two.

Honestly (2, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386025)

What is the deal with these people? What is their major problem with video games? Did their digital mothers get spawn camped and teabagged when they were children?

Re:Honestly (5, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386133)

What is the deal with these people? What is their major problem with video games? Did their digital mothers get spawn camped and teabagged when they were children?

As far as I can tell, this is political incompetence and not a general feeling in the population. Gemany is smaller (80 million) and hence has about one quarter the school shootings that the US has (caveat: this is my personal pet theory). The politicians have zero understanding or idea on why these happen and blame something else that they do not understand at all, namely violent videogames. The general population does not care either way, so this is a topic politicians use to give the appearance of "doing something".

Incidentially, for the left wing leaders (SPD), this law could well be the beginning of their demise. There was a public petition against it with something like 135'000 signatures, which is very, very impressive. The way the government (left-right coalition) just ignored all expert testimony and all citicism could well loose them the younger generations completely.

Incidentially, ignoring all experts and all criticism is becoming a trend for the german government. A very dangerous trend with one stupid law being followed by the next. Especially the Internet is something these people are not using and do not understand at all. There are many that have web-pages printed out for them by their secretaries and that is the level they are acting on.

As to the nature of these "blocks": They will be DNS redirections, i.e. trivially easy to bypass. There is already one court decision freeing an ISP from doing such a block for other illegal content (3rd Reich propaganda, I believe), because the court found these blocks to be ineffectve. It appears it took the judge less than 10 Minutes to find out how to circumvent such blocks and he was not impressed.

Re:Honestly (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386521)

This takes a while to explain.

In Germany, too, there were killing sprees in schools. And just like everywhere, people were scrambling to find a reason.

Well, if you ask me, when you look for reasons, look where the sprees happen: In schools. Would you go to a school if you went on a rampage with the goal to kill people? I'd use the subway on a monday morning. Or the shopping mall right before Christmas. WAY more people to mow down.

They were not rampages. That was simply and plainly acts of revenge. Revenge for years of bullying, revenge for years of (preceived or real) favorism of teachers, revenge for being outcast, revenge for being picked on.

But you can't blame the kids that bullied, mobbed and picked on him. They were killed! Accusing kids that were shot is political suicide.

So you need a scapegoat. Without one, people keep looking for a reason. If you can present one, you have a reason and people stop looking.

So, what could we use? We need something our voters don't understand, won't miss if we outlaw it, and it would be nice if it's something their kids do and they don't approve of.

And since the music industry has the better lobbyists...

proof of system failure (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386029)

If you still needed proof that our political system is crap, this is it.

The vast majority of politicians who voted "yes" on this topic could not even explain the base technologies if you asked them. Nor do they understand how their censorship law works, or what its consequences are. Despite having this pointed out to them repeatedly.

It's becoming rapidly clear, especially with the economic crisis happening at the same time, that we're ruled by people who're simply not good at ruling, nor much else for that matter. Their expertise is in politics, i.e. getting into power, not in anything that matters once you are in power.

If anyone shoots them all, I'll be there to applaud. And yes, I write that with my name on it. These people have nothing to lose and they act like it. While I'm not for violence, I'm starting to believe that at least the danger of violence and personal consequences is required or else our politicians will destroy us all - or, if you think about climate change, kill us all.

Funny how it takes but weeks to throw billions at mismanaged banks, but it's taken years and no end in sight to agree on matters vital to the survival of the damn planet.

Bold move (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386245)

If anyone shoots them all, I'll be there to applaud. And yes, I write that with my name on it.

They may as well start rounding up all the Toms now, just in case.

Re:proof of system failure (1)

advertisehere (1384731) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386307)

Yeah, most people suck at their jobs.

U.S. readers, take note (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386039)

Please consider this: Just one really egregious kiddieporn case could result in similar legislation here. How many politicians dare to vote against ForTheChildren legislation? Throw in right wing militia, terrorist, and "hate" sites in general for the win.

I think I'm preaching to the choir here, but other than /. readers, how many people really care? DMCA? Patriot Act? ACTA secrecy?

Re:U.S. readers, take note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386111)

I doubt it. Between To Catch a Predator, Catholic priests, and online access to the sex offender registry, we as a society have become jaded to the exploitation of children. After it reached the point of being spectacle, people stopped being shocked and horrified.

I'd be more concerned with the possibility of it happening over "Terrorist" websites. (exhibit A: the colossal flipping of shit that occurred over the though of bringing Guantanamo detainees to US soil. Despite having facilities like Supermax, where not only do we currently keep both foreign and domestic terrorists, but where no one has EVER escaped from.)

Re:U.S. readers, take note (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386201)

To Catch a Predator

Why don't you just take a seat over there.

15yo cam sluts are hot. Americans need to be confronted with toddler porn before they'll kneejerk up some new police state laws.

the slippery slope of "illegal information" (5, Insightful)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386051)

In this news, we see the real issue: That the slippery slope of making some information illegal is too steep. The primary issue that free global flow of information will do is dramatically reduce the need for centralized government power at the country level, in many ways. If people allow their governments to start making some information illegal, even for good reasons, then the norm of censorship will be accepted and expanded.

Frankly, the main driver behind making such images illegal seems to be that we don't have the resources or the effort to catch people who actually harm children - so instead they make the next closest thing police *can* find illegal. This is lazy police work.

I believe that a free and open society would work best if there were no restrictions on *access* to information once it is available. Laws would only restrict behaviors: The bits are not the issue, human behavior is. Thus, no image or stream of bits would ever be illegal (as I see it), only *actions* that people take that directly result in harm to other people. This would make the job of police much harder, yes, but the benefits become obvious quickly when reading this news.

Re:the slippery slope of "illegal information" (2, Interesting)

polle404 (727386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386519)

unfortunately, the slope is VERY slippery in Denmark,
We started with the DNS CP filter, (not required by law (yet)), then it progressed to include allofmp3.com (by law), and latest thepiratebay.org. Now there's talk about including gambling sites as well.
The problem is, most people don't really understand the consequences of these things, based on the spin the media puts on it, if it even reaches that far.
all they hear: Won'tYouThinkOfTheChildren(tm) and ThinkOfThePoorStarvingArtists(tm)...
The sheeple are not even aware that they're selling their basic rights to the lowest bidder.

How long until the blacklist will be on wikileaks? (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386137)

3 days? One week?

And it's only DNS based AFAIK.

Re:How long until the blacklist will be on wikilea (1)

Elbart (1233584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386161)

The law only suggests DNS-blocking, but it allows the ISPs to use other methods too.

There's no censorship in Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28386191)

Germany is a free and open society and doesn't require censorship. Our leaders are wise and rightful.

---

corrected version, publication approved by C102211 on 19.06.2009

This won't work (1)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386197)

This won't work at all. All it does is having the telecompanies implementing a systemwide .hosts-lists with banned IPs. How often will it be updated? Criminals can set up new networks in minutes. The only ones who will be seriously hurt are companies that provide a service that won't change their DNS every day, like the mentioned (possible) censor on Counterstrike server.

And what about whitelisting, when the IP is recycled? I'm worried that the germans will look to China when they see that this project fails....

Jan Niggemann (1)

n0x0n (1411589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386267)

The underlying problem with this law is not limited to Germany: The list of what's to be censored is secret and solely controlled by the German federal police. No one can see this list (after all, it contains links to CP). This is almost the same as the french HADOPI law, where no judge was to be asked and no judgement necessary, before they cut your internet connection (while obliging you to still pay for it)...

This is exactly ... (3, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386319)

... why the PIRATE party (I hope they come up with a snazzy backronym for that) can expect to get my vote in the elections next fall.

Rough translation of the second link (3, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386329)

"With 389 yes, 128 no and 18 withheld votes the government passed the so called "Zensursula" bill today with 535 politicians voting in total. Now the plans to repeal on grounds of unconstitutionality begin.

It's a black day for the digital community and will no doubt have repercussions from tech-savvy voters for the two ruling parties in the upcoming elections.

We've achieved quite a bit with the #zensursula campaign and we can continue to build on this, get better at spreading our message and eventually change this bad policy. I'm happy that the articles here on Netzpolitik have been given a voice in the press and in the minds of everyday citizens. This new information-central world of communication brings us a new degree of openness and we are slowly learning how to use our new digital tools and open source principles effectively. Every day we grow stronger and we'll continue to define and breathe life into these digital communities. Many people are becoming more political and are beginning to share their political views with others, both on the net and in the analog world. This is fun, it's creative and it's a worthwhile democratic activity, so join in!

" The link at the end isn't quite so positive. It asks a lot of the same questions that we asked here on /. yesterday and gives a nice overview of the things that were done to try to fight this bill. The first paragraph reads:

"After the passing into law of the 'Zensursula-infrastructure' there are undoubtedly many people out there who are feeling disappointed. What more could we have done that we didn't do in the last few months and years? How big does a movement have to be before it's successful? Our group has grown incredibly, so why doesn't anyone seem to understand us?"

I'd do the rest but my translation skills aren't the best and it's already time for me to be getting to class. It's a great article though.

So let me get this straight ... (3, Informative)

asifyoucare (302582) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386371)

The German government, like almost all governments, goes to great expense to train hundreds of thousands of people to kill other people, and requires them to use real weapons and live ammunition. Yet, they want to ban violent video games because THAT might lead to actual violence.

Yeah, makes sense.

hahaha (2, Interesting)

noric (1203882) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386389)

I was trying to think of an analogy for dns-based censorship that would resonate with politicians. Got it =D

It's like paying millions of dollars to keep prostitutes out of the phone book.

Awww, that's cute... (0, Troll)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28386501)

they think they can censor the internet. *headpat*

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