Andrea Goetzke on Tue, 16 Jun 2009 21:56:23 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> the dawning of internet censorship in germany

Patrice Riemens recommend I send you the below article.
Best wishes,

  The Dawning of Internet Censorship in Germany

von markus um 14:47 am Dienstag, 16. Juni 2009

Germany is on the verge of censoring its Internet: The government -- a
grand coalition between the German social democrats and conservative
party -- seems united in its decision: On Thursday the parliament is
to vote on the erection of an internet censorship architecture.

The Minister for Family Affairs Ursula von der Leyen
<> kicked off and
lead the discussions within the German Federal Government to block
Internet sites in order to fight child pornography. The general idea
is to build a censorship architecture enabling the government to block
content containing child pornography. The Federal Office of Criminal
Investigation (BKA) is to administer the lists of sites to be blocked
and the internet providers obliged to erect the secret censorship
architecture for the government.

A strong and still growing network opposing these ideas quickly
formed within the German internet community. The protest
has not been limited to hackers and digital activist but
rather a mainstreamed effort widely supported by bloggers and
twitter-users. The HashTag used by the protesters is #zensursula
<> -- a German mesh up of
the Ministers name and the word censorship equivalent to #censursula.

As part of the public's protest an official e-Petition directed
at the German parliament was launched. Within three days 50,000
persons signed the petition - -- the number required for the
petition titled "No indexing and blocking of Internet sites
;petition=3860>" to be heard by the parliament. The running time
of an e-Petition in Germany is 6 weeks -- within this time over
130,000 people signed making this e-Petition the most signed and most
successful ever.

During the past weeks, protests became more and more creative
-- countless blogs and twitter-users followed and commented
the discussions within governments and opposing arguments.
Many mainstream media picked up on this and reported about the
protest taking place on-line. A working group on censorship
<> was founded and the protest coordinated
with a wiki <>,
mailing lists, chats and of course employing twitter and blogs. One
website " <>" created a landing
page explaining the complicated petitioning system and making signing
the petition easier and more accessible for non net-experts.

Over 500 people attended the governments official press conference
on the planed internet censorship -- a number of whom used this
occasion to demonstrate and voice their concerns. In fact,
demonstrators began attending some of the Minister von der Leyens
public appearances, carrying banners and signs to raise attention
to the stifling of information freedom in Germany.

The net community did not only oppose the governments plans, but
also made constructive suggestions how to deal with the problem of
child pornography without introducing a censorship architecture and
circumcising constitutional freedoms. The working group on censorship
demonstrated the alternatives for instance by actually removing over
60 websites containing child pornographic content in 12 hours, simply
by emailing the international providers who then removed this content
from the net. The sites were identified through the black lists of
other countries documented on Wikileaks. This demonstration underlines
the protesters main arguments: instead of effectively investing time
and efforts to have illegal content removed from the internet, the
German government is choosing censorship and blocking -- an easy and
dangerous way out. The greatest fear of the protesters is that once
in place, the infrastructure will be used to censor other forms of
unwanted content, not only child pornography. German politicians
already seem to be lining up with their wish-list of content to be
censored in future -- the suggestions ranging form gambling sites,
islamist web pages, first person shooters, and the music industry
cheering up with the thought of finally banning pirate bay and p2p.

You can find a detailed linklist of the zensursula-debate here
<> (in
german). Thanks to Geraldine de Bastion for the translation.

-------- Original-Nachricht --------
Betreff: 	Re: [Iac2009] the dawning of internet censorship in germany
Datum: 	Tue, 16 Jun 2009 17:52:09 +0200 (CEST)
Von: 	Patrice Riemens <>
An: 	Andrea Goetzke <>

Hee Andrea,

Can you send it to <> too, you probably have the text as
txt file. Thanks!

How's life further. Next time I come to Berlin I visit you, OK? (or pass
by Amsterdam one day...)

Cheers, patrizio and Diiiinooos!

> Hey all,
> we have posted an English update to our otherwise German blog - as we
> think it's important to explain to an international audience what is
> currently happening regarding the impending decision on Internet
> censorship in Germany.
> Get informed and help spread the info ...
> Best wishes,
> Andrea
> ---
> Andrea Goetzke
> newthinking communications GmbH
> Schönhauser Allee 6/7
> 10119 Berlin
> +49 - 30 - 692 033 791
> andrea.goetzke [at]
> newthinking communications GmbH (NTC GmbH)
> Sitz der Gesellschaft: Berlin
> Registergericht: AG Charlottenburg
> Handelsregisternummer: HRB 102015 B
> Geschäftsführer: Andreas Gebhard
> _______________________________________________
> Iac2009 mailing list

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