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Germany Institutes Censorship Infrastructure

samzenpus posted about 5 years ago | from the not-for-your-eyes dept.

Censorship 235

An anonymous reader writes "Germany's government has passed a draft law for censorship of domains hosting content related to child pornography. A secret list of IPs will be created by the BKA, Germany's federal police; any attempted access to addresses on this list is blocked, logged (the draft seems to contradict press reports on this point) and redirected to a government page featuring a large stop sign. The law has not yet passed the assembly, however five of the largest ISPs have already agreed to voluntarily submit to the process even without a law in place. Critics argue that with the censorship infrastructure in place, the barrier for blocking access for various other reasons is very low. The fact that the current block can easily be circumvented may lead to more effective technologies to be used in the future. There are general elections as well as elections in several of the states later this year."

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235 comments

Inc. China (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | about 5 years ago | (#27683903)

Step 1) Child Porn
2) Other "Offensive" Material (e.g. Nazi Material)
3) ???
4) Welcome to the great firewall

Re:Inc. China (3, Interesting)

jorgis (1151067) | about 5 years ago | (#27683977)

I don't believe that this necessary will lead to censorship of other "offensive" or politically incorrect material. Here in Norway, we've had a similar filter[1] in place for a few years now, and it hasn't been extended in any degree to include anything other than what has been deemed as child porn. It's efficiency in combating the distribution of child porn can be questioned, but I don't think you'll ever find it being used for other purposes. [1] http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Norwegian_secret_internet_censorship_blacklist%2C_3518_domains%2C_18_Mar_2009 [wikileaks.org]

Re:Inc. China (5, Insightful)

spankyofoz (445751) | about 5 years ago | (#27684077)

But look at what ended up on our blacklist here in Australia (it's also on wikileaks). It too was set up to counter the scourge of child porn.

But we ended up with blocked sites containing
euthanasia
abortion
malware
online gambling

It's not much of a stretch to see other politically sensitive topics being blocked.

Re:Inc. China (1, Interesting)

RotHorseKid (239899) | about 5 years ago | (#27684267)

But look at what ended up on our blacklist here in Australia (it's also on wikileaks). It too was set up to counter the scourge of child porn.

But we ended up with blocked sites containing euthanasia abortion malware online gambling

It's not much of a stretch to see other politically sensitive topics being blocked.

But we ended up with blocked sites containing euthanasia abortion malware online gambling

You forgot gay porn. You had gay porn on that list. Someone you elected a ruler really hates gays.
BTW, we Germans won't get gambling blocked. The brother of the politician that has started this madness is BIG in the online gambling industry. But as we already put our national wikileaker behind bars, you can easily imagine what they will do with that list.

Re:Inc. China (1, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#27684823)

I can't speak for Germany, but in many leadership functions in the U.S., the very people who speak the loudest against any particular moral crime are the same ones who are actively engaged in such activity. This includes drugs, prostitution, child porn, being gay and just about anything else you might be able to think of. We've had just about every type at all levels of government, religious and social leadership out here and I can't imagine that this is anything but human behavior and that Germany is somehow less hypocritical than other humans in the world.

These constant pushes in these directions make me wonder what people are thinking? And by "these directions" I mean censorship, thought control, and 'victimless crimes' of all sorts. The fact that "things exist" in the world never screwed me up as a child nor as an adult. (Although, I really have to give my mother credit for not letting me use a knife or a fork until I was at least 8 to 10 years old... who knows how many eyes or fingers I would have lost through eating accidents!)

It doesn't prevent anyone from getting screwed up -- it just reminds them that their desires are perverse and gives them yet another reason not to seek help with their problems, often making them worse. (And no, I am not saying that gay people should "seek help" either... except, perhaps, when it comes to certain displays.)

Is it that our leadership is simply too immature to handle the facts that things they don't agree with happen in the world? Perhaps labelling various legislators as emotionally or mentally immature might be a useful approach to condemning such action.

What is it they say about systems and entropy? (3, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | about 5 years ago | (#27684339)

Systems (political systems), because they're created by man are inherently corruptible (thanks to that man is not perfect dictum). Which is why in the US for instance the old conservatives used to argue for small government, and the founders tried to limit the federal government.

Re:Inc. China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684677)

You also forgot LOLcats. Yes, there was a completely innocent LOLcats site blocked by the filter.

Steganography (2, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | about 5 years ago | (#27684825)

The government "detected child pornography steganographically concealed in those innocent images".

Actually, I, like you, think they just made a mistake. But since steganography exists, the government can justify blocking any website using the above excuse.

One more reason this is a very, very bad idea.

Re:Inc. China (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 5 years ago | (#27684691)

Thanks to Wikileaks posting lists of banned sites, including the Australian one, we can now get at least a partial list of sites that are banned in the UK and soon in Germany.

Simply download the list, check that the sites are up using a proxy in a free country or Tor and then check to see if they are up in your country. Obviously it would be best to do this in some untraceable way, such as on a free Wifi service with a random MAC on your wifi card. Any site which is available elsewhere but not in your country is likely being blocked by the secret list.

Re:Inc. China (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684137)

it hasn't been extended in any degree to include anything other than what has been deemed as child porn.

It's impossible to know that.

Re:Inc. China (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#27684827)

Not entirely impossible, if you get told when you've reached a blocked IP you can verify whether that IP is actually CP or not.

Re:Inc. China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684273)

Problem is, the German government regularly shows that it's morally and financially corrupt. There WILL be other stuff on that filter list. Lobby groups WILL have their way and add non-CP related stuff on that list.

Re:Inc. China (3, Insightful)

tommyhj (944468) | about 5 years ago | (#27684293)

Problem is that the list is SECRET, and the selecting of offensive sites isn't up for discussion. You have no way of controlling the censorship.

Re:Inc. China (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#27684443)

Even worse [heise.de] [link target in German]: According to the linked page,

Der Entwurf sehe daher vor, dass es für die Strafverfolger mÃglich sei, "in Echtzeit" direkt beim Provider auf die IP-Adressen der "Nutzer" des virtuellen Warnschilds zuzugreifen. Eine Strafbarkeit liege schon in dem Moment vor, wenn nicht nachgewiesen werden kÃnne, dass es sich um ein Versehen oder eine automatische Weiterleitung gehandelt habe.

Translation (emphasis by me):

The draft therefore allows that it's possible for criminal prosecutors to access "in real time" directly at the provider the IP addresses of the "users" of the virtual warning sign. Criminal liability already exists a when it cannot be proven that it was a mistake or an automatic redirection."

That is, if you happen to access a blocked page (for whatever reason) you have to prove that you were in error. This may be quite hard.

As a concrete example how you might get problems: There was once an Open Source project to implement a free OS (AllianceOS). At one time I decided to check what happened with that project, and therefore typed the URL of their home page (which I remembered). To my great surprise what opened was not the home page of the project, but a porn site. Googling around taught me that the domain had expired and then taken by some porn provider. Now imagine it had been a blocked child porn site: I would have had a very hard time to prove that I reached the site in error. After all I explicitly typed in the URL!

Re:Inc. China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684365)

As far as i know, several people did find hundreds of non-childporn sites on the swedish list.

Re:Inc. China (3, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | about 5 years ago | (#27684375)

Norway must have a very tame Government then because here in the UK the IWF (a quasi governmental body answerable to just about nobody) has been making a serious grab for power over the last year. It started off with hidden lists of child porn sites and now is spreading / has spread to include "terrorist" material and "violent" pornography and they want to block more material.

Of course because the list is completely secret and it's not strictly a government body there is no accountability, they are free to do pretty much anything they want. My problem with this situation is not that they want to block access to some material it's the way the system is set up. It's so ripe for abuse it's untrue.

For a start the list should be open for review along with the reason for the block and a review period. There should also be an appeals process against a block which can come from either the site owner or a user (can't see this getting used all that often but it should be available).

Also, since it is essentially a Government body it should be accountable like a Government body not hiding behind some "we're a business / charity / trust and therefore not accountable" wall.

Re:Inc. China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684519)

and now is spreading / has spread to include "terrorist" material

How do you know this? There is no indication of capability (based on the laws quoted) of reporting any political material for blocking in the IWF website.

Re:Inc. China (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | about 5 years ago | (#27684389)

I don't believe that this necessary will lead to censorship of other "offensive" or politically incorrect material. Here in Norway, we've had a similar filter[1] in place for a few years now, and it hasn't been extended in any degree to include anything other than what has been deemed as child porn.

How do you know? You can't get to it, so how could you possibly know if it's child porn or if anything that isn't child porn has been censored??? How hard would it be to twist that rule without your knowledge that it's been twisted?

Re:Inc. China (2, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | about 5 years ago | (#27684437)

politically incorrect material. Here in Norway, we've had a similar filter[1] in place for a few years now, and it hasn't been extended in any degree to include anything other than what has been deemed as child porn.

The article you reference contradicts that claim: "Many of the sites on the list have no obvious connection to child pornography."

Re:Inc. China (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | about 5 years ago | (#27684643)

So in the name of reducing the distribution of child porn they have created a publicly accessible list of all the child porn sites they've managed to find.

*slow clap* well done.

Re:Inc. China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684871)

"Many of the sites on the list have no obvious connection to child pornography. Some have clearly changed owners while others were possibly even wrongly placed on the list in the first instance."

From the very Wikileaks article you yourself cite.

Re:Inc. China (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684197)

2009: child porn
2010: youth porn, nazi propaganda
2011: online gambling
2012: copyright violations (piratebay, etc.)
2015: all illegal conent

STOP (Your IP has just been logged) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27683907)

From Article: "They will not have their personal details or IP addressed recorded."

Suuuure they won't.

Re:STOP (Your IP has just been logged) (4, Informative)

dafdaf (319484) | about 5 years ago | (#27684009)

Which is plain wrong. - As the current law even states that of course the IP will be logged ! (The initial proposition of ~1 week ago didn't include that. They quickly 'fixed' that one. ;-)

Swiztzerland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27683911)

A similar system already exists in Switzerland. I once got the warning page checking a link in a spam message on my blog... (as in "this can't be what it says it is") I guess I'm on a list now.

RickRoll Germany (3, Interesting)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | about 5 years ago | (#27683913)

So the time has come to Rick Roll the entire population of Germany, but with links to banned IP's?
If every breach is logged a huge percentage of Germans will be found out as perverts.

Re:RickRoll Germany (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#27683951)

huge percentage of Germans will be found out as perverts.

huge percentage of German will be confirmed to be perverts.

There fixed it for you.

I'm not trolling here either :) German porn is legendary . Can make you hard and sick at the same time :)

Re:RickRoll Germany (4, Funny)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 5 years ago | (#27684279)

it is also known for great dialogues [youtube.com] :

- So that's the power box that we've been having problems with, if you could take a look...
- Sure, but why is this straw lying around here?"
- Hm, and why are you wearing a mask?
- Hmmm... well, give me a blowjob then.

Re:RickRoll Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684659)

That was not a porn movie, it was a workplace training video for pizza (with the extra sausage) deliverers, plumbers, electricians and cable installers!

Re:RickRoll Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684381)

Can make you hard and sick at the same time
So just like goatse?

Re:RickRoll Germany (2, Funny)

WeirdCat (1136961) | about 5 years ago | (#27684169)

You will laugh, but this could be exactly the solution to stop this stupid idea. Wait till the first politician has to explain why the number of people looking at those addresses are sky rocketing! :-)

Re:RickRoll Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684171)

That will make for a nice April Fool's joke. Just send a TinyURL linking to some child porn (or better yet, to a page that opens multiple child porn sites, just for sure) to all your co-workers/buddies/relatives and sit back.

A good thing (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | about 5 years ago | (#27683927)

So... i2p2.de is getting a lot of press as an anonymous network in which to proxy your traffic.......

and...

The German BKA is planning to put up actual "STOP SIGNS" on the Internet?

If this does not force the average German to start participating, or at least thinking about way around this, I don't what will. Hopefully, you will see a ridiculously huge level of participation in this new networks and we can see on of these networks operate on something other than developer levels of participation.

There could be a silver lining in this after all...

Re:A good thing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27683975)

the thing is, that the average german person things, these laws help preventing childrin from being raped...
its just to rediculus, but the people wont notice anything until it has to do with gasprices beeing increased or cars getting more expensive -_-

Re:A good thing (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#27684859)

Maybe a better solution would be to dress politicians up like kids so they get raped instead.

Re:A good thing (1)

tommyhj (944468) | about 5 years ago | (#27684329)

We've had STOP signs and censorship in Scandinavia for a few years, along with logging of all connections made to/from your personal computers, phones and mobile phones.

There has been lots of resistance, but the politician didn't care (in the name of fighting terror).

Now, the people around me almost dont believe when i tell them that the state censors and watches them almost as bad as China...

Re:A good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684421)

The problem is that the average population never really cares that much until it is too late.
They won't install i2p to get child porn.
They won't install i2p to visit sites of terrorist groups or Nazis either.
They won't install i2p to visit sites of small political groups, because they don't know them.

I personally am not that opposed to blocking certain sites. But the whole mechanism is not acceptable. There must to be some checking mechanism. There must be some way to legally and independently report about who is on the list of blocked sites and for what reason. With the current law a few people in the BKA have total control over what is blocked and can jail everyone who is reporting about that. That is as close to fascism and totalitarism as you can get.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

-- Martin NiemÃller

Re:A good thing (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 years ago | (#27684447)

I2P will only connect to the WWW through exitproxies. If Germany gets this law, all of the German exitproxies will shut to prevent their IPs' being connected to this kind of traffic.

I2P will lose out because of this. It'll become another darknet.

/facepalm (2, Interesting)

Thermionix (1473355) | about 5 years ago | (#27683931)

Whats with all the governments jumping on the censorship bandwagon? I for one do not welcome our new censoring overlords

Re:/facepalm (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#27684001)

Whats with all the governments jumping on the censorship bandwagon? I for one do not welcome our new censoring overlords

Governments always want to subdue and control. They see lack of control as the problem. Citing childporn/hatespeech/_______ is but a means to an end.

Re:/facepalm (1)

wdef (1050680) | about 5 years ago | (#27684429)

It is particularly interesting that governments are all trying to do it *now*, within months of each other. The UK is on its second try, isn't it? Australia's just failed.

I think it isn't just that they think blocking to now be technologically feasible (because it isn't easy to implement effectively). It's other powerful forces in play. Just as Obama and Hollywood are trying to clamp down on the free movement of entertainment data (after DRM and Vista's failure). I tend to agree with those who think this aimed in the short term at enforcing copyright and IP issues. Isn't that the only thing worth enough money to move politicians? But in the long term, who knows ..

To repeat the bleeding obvious, the twin bogies of terrorism and child pron are just the sale pitch and having nothing or little to do with this, since this will have little impact on either.

Oh please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27683979)

...everybody vote something else than CDU/CSU or SPD this time. Yes we can! ;)

Don't worry (4, Insightful)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 5 years ago | (#27684005)

It will only be used to block sites with child porn

and terrorism sites

and sites with info on building bombs

and "pro-ana" sites

and bestiality sites

and sites critical of the government

and copyright violating sites

and sites with violent images

and sites with malware

and porn sites

and sites with content that is considered to be offensive by some

and ...
ok, maybe you should worry

Re:Don't worry (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 5 years ago | (#27684053)

and "pro-ana" sites

I'm pretty hip, but I don't know what that means.

Re:Don't worry (1)

redhog (15207) | about 5 years ago | (#27684061)

Worry by participating in, and voting for your local Pirate Party (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Party).

Re:Don't worry (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 5 years ago | (#27684217)

Hmm, more like vote for your libertarian or local equivalent party http://www.lp.org/issues/freedom-of-speech [lp.org] The pirate party thing is about copyright, not censorship, right?

Re:Don't worry (3, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#27684113)

and sites critical of the government

Germany's "Meinungsfreiheit":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_by_country#Germany [wikipedia.org]

Under criminal code, some things you can't say:
"Disparagement of
        * the Federal President (Section 90).
        * the State and its Symbols (Section 90a).
Insult to Organs and Representatives of Foreign States (Section 103).
Rewarding and Approving Crimes (Section 140). ...
Dissemination of Pornographic Writings (Section 184)."

There are others, but Gerhard Shroder, former Chancellor, actually got a court order banning the media from mentioning his hair:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerhard_Schr%C3%B6der#Freedom_of_the_press [wikipedia.org]

Oh, and if you curse at a bureaucrat, those worthless sacks of shit of which there are way too many, that's "Beamten Beleidigung" and you can get fined 5000 Euro on their word. Germany has Freedom of Speech like Iran has freedom of religion. Some people will undoubtedly point to it's recent past for legitimacy of some of the rules, but I maintain it's from people worshipping the concept of the state and having a strong central government.

Re:Don't worry (1)

hughk (248126) | about 5 years ago | (#27684311)

if you curse at a bureaucrat, those worthless sacks of shit of which there are way too many, that's "Beamten Beleidigung" and you can get fined 5000 Euro on their word.

Agreed. The literal English translation of Beamten is 'office holders'. but we call these people in the US or UK public/civil servants. Gives them a different level of expectation. Oh, and totally forget any kind of whistle-blowing website, it would have to be hosted offshore.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Teun (17872) | about 5 years ago | (#27684809)

Indeed offshore, as European commerce laws have already been abused to close sites in The Netherlands based on German dislikes:
http://www.spaink.net/english/osce_internetfreedom.html [spaink.net]
This particular issue started around 1996 and was in (Dutch) court in 2002.

Personally I don't particularly like the gang that published the magazine 'Radikal' but I'm more worried about the ways it was prosecuted here in The Netherlands.

Yet I can see reasons for incidental filtering, it needs to be transparent yet when you for obvious reasons can't publicise the list of blocked IP's there needs to be a system in place to oversee this list.
One option acceptable to me would be like the Dutch Parliamentary commission 'Stiekem' (Sneaky) that oversees the secret services.
And there needs to be an address to contact for quick remedying in case of errors.

Re:Don't worry (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 5 years ago | (#27684523)

Oh, and if you curse at a bureaucrat, those worthless sacks of shit of which there are way too many, that's "Beamten Beleidigung" and you can get fined 5000 Euro on their word.

That's a common myth. Indeed the German law doesn't know "Beamtenbeleidigung" (insult of officials), but only "Beleidigung" (insult). That is, in principle it doesn't make a difference if you insult an official or a random person. It's just that insulting an official is much more likely to get you sued.

(IANAL, but I read this in a book written by a lawyer, therefore I consider it correct).

Re:Don't worry (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 years ago | (#27684147)

and sites with violent images

BTW, I'm not sure if this is still the case, but years ago video game makers couldn't show blood in games published there. Perhaps even the movies.

Because, well, the violence becomes okay if there is no blood resulting from it.

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684205)

I think that is the same reason why the USA is focusing so much on building drones and robots to fight wars.
It is much easier to sell "we must invade country X because they are evil" when you don't loose the children of your voters.

Re:Don't worry (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#27684881)

They had to cut out the humans in the games back in the day. Half-Life had robot soldiers, C&C had "cyborgs" (which got funnier with C&C2 (called 3 here) which had a dedicated cyborg unit). Maybe we should make a game showing that noone was actually hurt in the Iraq war because the people down there aren't humans...

Miserable failure in Finland (5, Informative)

grimJester (890090) | about 5 years ago | (#27684065)

Assuming the site still exists, here's [slashdot.org] a site explaining what's wrong with the finnish version of this list. I can't check the link for reasons that should be obvious.

Short list of problems:
- 98+% false positives, including the top 7 or 8 google hits for "gay porn"
- Majority of sites are in the EU or US, yet the sites are still up
- The law only allows non-finnish sites to be on that list, yet a finnish site critical of the list is blocked.

Idea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684103)

Of course if thousands of web sites in dozens of countries hosted simple proxy engines that worked like a browser-within-a-browser so that anyone anywhere could read wikileaks and the bbc then it'd be very difficult to block them all. Especially if they were otherwise legitimate sites that had a proxy page. We can't rely on the internet-routes-around-censorship adage without ensuring it's so.

Re: (1)

torvik (1518775) | about 5 years ago | (#27684115)

You can't censor only certain things. It's all or nothing in the censor game. The freedoms we have on the Internet are too well-established now to be removed. You think the government is the only entity that knows anything about the Internet? HA! They don't really know anything about it.

Re: (1)

3247 (161794) | about 5 years ago | (#27684215)

HA! They don't really know anything about it.

That's obvious.

However, it's not funny to have the Internet be taken away by people who access the Internet by reading a hardcopy made by their staff.

To all the germans out there (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 5 years ago | (#27684131)

When you vote in these elections mentioned in the summary, vote for someone who does not support censorship

Of course the problem with most modern "democracies" is that on many issues (including censorship, ridiculous IP laws, increased powers for the police etc) there is no-one to vote for who doesn't support it.

Oh and with all the crap the German government is trying to pull, it sounds like the German police may end up being Gestapo MK II in all but name.

Re:To all the germans out there (1)

Tom (822) | about 5 years ago | (#27684325)

When you vote in these elections mentioned in the summary, vote for someone who does not support censorship

They're already figuring that in.

Germany is currently ruled by a "large coalition", i.e. the two major parties rule together. Every time that has happened in the past, it has resulted in a) a crappy government (check) and b) less % in the next election for both of them (we'll see that soon).

They know this will very likely happen. Both parties are struggling to show that they were the "good" part of the large coalition and the others were the ones who made it all suck. I figure they hope to make the other lose more percentages so that they can form a coalition with one or two of the other parties after the election.

Which is actually, what this is all about. Anyone who thinks that this is about the children is an idiot. This is all about show activities because this year is election year.

Re:To all the germans out there (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 5 years ago | (#27684895)

I think it still doesn't compare with our minister of the interior attempting to rebuild the Reich...

Re:To all the germans out there (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 years ago | (#27684525)

The trouble is that while one side supports censorship, the other probably supports intelligent design in science lessons, or the introduction of a higher super-tax band on the rich, or some other legislation which will be unfavourable.

Too many people don't realise that there are more than two or three parties to vote for, so they pick the lesser of the evils. In many cases, unfortunately, it's censorship (under the guise of "thinking of the children", "stopping terr'rism" etc).

Hell, create your own party. You might not get into power yourself, but with enough people on your side you could sway decisions in your version of Parliament.

massive criticism (4, Informative)

Tom (822) | about 5 years ago | (#27684145)

There is massive criticism against this within Germany.

Pretty much everyone who knows anything is against it, this includes both the people who know something about the technical details (i.e. IT people) as well as those who know something about child pornography, and even people who were abused as kids.

The summary of the criticism is:

  • This will do nothing to stop child porn
  • It is extremely easy to avoid (it's just a DNS block, use a different DNS and you're good)
  • They block site instead of prosecuting them, including sites that are known to be in Germany
  • It's just a cheap show in election year
  • Sites linking to blocked sites will be blocked as well, which means sites like wikileaks. Since the blocklist is secret, you'll never know when you just put yourself on the list.

Re:massive criticism (2, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about 5 years ago | (#27684309)

Sources:

This article [heise.de] (in german) sums up most of the counter-arguments in an excellent way. It also includes a link to this interview [tagesspiegel.de] with someone who was abused as a child and opposes the new law very strongly.

Choice quote from the interview:

Because the government only wants to fight the pictures of child abuse, not the child abuse itself.

Re:massive criticism (1)

Deaddy (1090107) | about 5 years ago | (#27684739)

Pretty much everyone who knows anything is against it

And that's why the criticism is not really massive and there are many supporters.

Hiccup in logic. (2, Insightful)

senorpoco (1396603) | about 5 years ago | (#27684235)

These filters are based on the premise that sexual deviants are also idiots. There was child pornography before the internet there will be child pornography with a filtered internet. All this does is set a precedent for a government to censor what it deems harmful to the greater good.

Re:Hiccup in logic. (1)

hughk (248126) | about 5 years ago | (#27684249)

Some are.

How many times have we heard the defence "I downloaded it only for research purposes".

Re:Hiccup in logic. (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 5 years ago | (#27684261)

Some are.

Most people are. If you take a subset of the general population that doesn't have a criterium which excludes idiots, you'll end up with lots of idiots in the subset, too.

Re:Hiccup in logic. (4, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | about 5 years ago | (#27684377)

This has as much to do with child porn as WMD's had to do with the American invasion of Iraq.

I'd say that's a pretty damn accurate way to put it.

Re:Hiccup in logic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684453)

One of the things about being interested in child porn is that it has a very effective built in idiocy filter. Not that many idiots out there (not for long, anyway).

Re:Hiccup in logic. (1)

Xelios (822510) | about 5 years ago | (#27684779)

I think the people in charge know full well that this list will be largely useless at actually stopping anyone from getting to the content they want. There have been public debates within the government on TV here about it for weeks (similar to CSPAN in the US) and literally every expert brought in to give his opinion has said it'll have little or no effect. To which the government cronies reply "A little effect is better than nothing if it's for the children". You should see the derision they've aimed at ISP's who chose not to voluntarily participate. They're one step short of calling them closet child abusers.

The general feeling here in Germany is that this is nothing more than some political showboating before the election, which makes me even angrier. The thought that the country is being taken one step closer to what China has in place just so a few politicians can give the impression that they're doing something noble and useful is sickening.

All we can do is vote some other party into power in the next elections, which will be a hollow victory for the people considering this law will probably not be repealed once it's put in place. No politician will want to seem like he's soft on pedophiles, even if the system is totally useless in stopping them. Plus it gives them the power to block whatever they want, why would they give that up once they have it? Sure am glad I live in a democratic, free country...

The same in Denmark (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684257)

We have the same in Denmark, except here it is the police and "Red Barnet" (child protection NGO) that maintains the DNS blocklist. I think all ISPs uses it.

We have had one case where a legal local site had porn banners, and was blocked due to having banners for a perfectly legal "lolita porn" site. He was delisted again after a day or 2.

The big problem with this list here in Denmark, is that there is no court involved in determining if the content is legal or not. It is Red Barnet and the police that acts as court.

Since IFPI, the danish equivalnet of RIAA got a court order for ISPs to DNS blacklist thepiratebay.org, many danish users has switched nameservers to use opendns and others, so they are no longer protected or blocked from visiting the child porn sites.

This is the fallout of the music industry crusade. More people watching child porn.

Sweden has it (3, Informative)

isecore (132059) | about 5 years ago | (#27684291)

Sweden already has this policy. It's a blocklist implemented in the DNS structure of Swedish ISP's. Thus it's easily avoided by anyone with even basic computer skills.

Officially it's to block kiddie porn, but there's no public examination of what sites are on the list. Also, it's been demonstrated several times that there's a lot of rather odd choices when it comes to blocking - i.e. a korean site about Bonsai trees is on the list.

There's been quite a lot of controversy surrounding this list, and it's been accused of being the start of a slippery slide towards censorship.

Also, it's essentially useless since it's easily avoided.

Re:Sweden has it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684367)

i.e. a korean site about Bonsai trees is on the list.

God I hate these Bonsai-lovin-perverts. Make me sick.

Re:Sweden has it (1)

uffe_nordholm (1187961) | about 5 years ago | (#27684773)

Very true, and not all that long ago, there were discussions whether this list should be used to block access to foreign online gambling sites. I can't remember what the reasoning behind the suggestion was, but it indicates a very poor understanding of internet technology and (what I would call) acceptable censoring.

The worst thing about this... (0, Flamebait)

AlgorithMan (937244) | about 5 years ago | (#27684351)

The worst thing about this is, that they want to log all blocked dns requests AND after you get on the list YOU have to prove your innocence (and still german politicians call this a constitutional state)!

also they want to put sites on the list, that have links to a site on the list... recursively this will lead to the whole freakin internet to be on that list within a day and EVERYONE to be subjected to child-pornography-raids! (Kristallnacht, anyone?)

PLUS the brainwashed mob supports the NSDAP 2.0 (a.k.a. CDU/CSU), recent surveys say they'll get around 45% in the upcoming election...)

fucking shitfaced neonazi-politicians! this is the worst law since 1945! I want to emigrate from this totalitarian fascist plutocracy!

Re:The worst thing about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684769)

You know, Google links to porn sites all the time.
And sites with blood on them.
Oh god, and furry forums too!
And vore..

We had better fucking block Google before someone gets molested!

At long last (1)

Mr. Conrad (1461097) | about 5 years ago | (#27684359)

There's finally a good reason to dig up Reagan.

"Mr. Kohler, open this gateway. Mr. Kohler, tear down this firewall!"

This law is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684371)

http://www.bundestag.de/parlament/funktion/gesetze/Grundgesetz/gg_01.html [bundestag.de]
Artikel 5: Eine Zensur findet nicht statt. (no censorship)
Artikel 10: Das Briefgeheimnis sowie das Post- und Fernmeldegeheimnis sind unverletzlich. (privacy of letters)

http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Html/005.htm [coe.int]
Article 6 - Right to a fair trial: Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

It's not. Re:This law is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684745)

Because you did not read anything around your quotations. It says: ~whatever we allow you to say or read, will be free of censorship~ but in lawyer-speak.

Secret IPs my ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684477)

As this mechanism uses DNS you can do the following:

Step 1: Get a hold of all Root Zone Files
Step 2: Do the following:

for every domain in all zonefiles
          make a dns lookup on a german dns server
          make a dns lookup on a us dns server
          if both resulting ips are identical, continue
          if not:
                  add german ip to your own list // this is the IP of the "stop page"
                  add domain to your own list // this is the blocked domain

Voila! You now have not only all the IPs of the BKA servers (which you can now block), but you also have the list of sites which are to be blocked. Stupid mechanism.

Step 3: ?
Step 4: Profit

Literal quote of the constitution (1)

headqtrs (467875) | about 5 years ago | (#27684515)

"Eine Zensur findet nicht statt".

Translated: "There will not be censorship". All ministers and parliamentarians swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Although not a German, I never knew that there were two Constitutions here in Germany. One for the populace and the real one for the ruling classes....

Wrong. Re:Literal quote of the constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684793)

You did not read anything around that sentence. The famous Art 5 says in lawyer-speak: ~whatever we allow you to say or read, will be free of censorship~. It says nothing that they cannot block whatever they don't like.

READ THIS! There is no protest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684577)

I'm currently living in Germany. There is no protest. There is no criticism.
250 people were present at the last "Mahnwache" (sth like a demo), thats pathetic.
99% of the retarded Germans (yes, the Volk) don't care or don't understand or both.

There are however some bloggers that try to gain attention with stupid "protests" like the one above.

(How retarded is that? Put your marker on the map, if you object. That really might change things. "zomg, so many markers, we politicians are doing something wrong.". Any yes, people tend to think "well I have set my marker, I have done everything I can to change the system")

They crap into each others blogs how bad the government is, how everything is going to shit, but they
are not DOING SHIT about it. just lamenting, whining.

Get out there and fight for your rights (no, violence is ultimate ratio, try changing the system first), but nobody
actually tries.

Re:READ THIS! There is no protest! (1)

lukas84 (912874) | about 5 years ago | (#27684641)

Changing the system is largely impossible if you're a normal person.

If you have the appropriate connections to change the system, you won't have a need to do so, because the rules won't apply to you either way.

And if you weren't born in the right environment, getting there may require an immense effort or will be downright impossible.

I have a job - i don't have time for political activism. Slashdot, i can do in short breaks while working. Real political activism would eat up the little spare time i have, and probably would start to eat into my work time, leaving me without a job.

Re:READ THIS! There is no protest! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27684763)

yes, all I hear is excuses why and why not.
"I would, but I can't, because random reason".

Pick your side (either one is okay), but stop whining.

Re:READ THIS! There is no protest! (1)

lukas84 (912874) | about 5 years ago | (#27684783)

Yes, as you can see i already decided what to do.

Doesn't mean i have to like it.

Re:READ THIS! There is no protest! (2, Insightful)

ImdatS (958642) | about 5 years ago | (#27684831)

You're right.

I am also living in Germany, but the problem is that it's really difficult to do anything against these things.

I tried to be politically active, and even joined a party. But since I have a fulltime job, I don't have as much as time for political activism as I would like to and as others have. There are so many going-to-become-professional-politicians in those parties with really enough time (some of them have fulltime jobs, but in civil service or such, where they have enough time for politics), that you don't really get the slightest chance to get to the upper levels of the party.

You have to invest so much time that it's really nearly impossible to have a fulltime job and become a politician, who has the people's interest in his mind first and foremost.

In order to get to the top, you have to become a "Political Man", a Homo Politicus. You have to brown-nose, become a real a**hole to get there... And I decided that the price is not worth paying for changing a system which most people seem to accept as "well, good enough" and about which most people don't even give a shit...

And provided you reach the top, you have either become one of "them" or you can't really change anything because there are so many particular-interests, you have to keep brown-nosing so much, do horse-trading, tit-for-tat, that you really lose contact with the people...

Sorry for the rant, but saying "change the system" is easy, doing so is not. And as you said: Since most of the people don't care as long as they get something to eat and some entertainment (Panem et Circenses), they are happy and they don't want to change the system.

My suggestion? Try changing your "small world environment", i.e. help your friends, neighbours and relatives in circumventing such censorships, help them express their anger and inacceptance of the system and help them start to think...

Why not get those sites on the list closed? (2, Insightful)

ImdatS (958642) | about 5 years ago | (#27684749)

What I don't understand is that they put the URL on this list, meaning the BKA knows
So my question is: Why don't they get those sites closed?

There was an article in c't, the German IT magazine. I'm citing from the online version [heise.de]

Vor diesem Hintergrund machte jüngst die Kinderschutzorganisation Carechild ein aufschlussreiches Experiment. Sie verwendete dazu 20 Adressen aus der im Netz aufgetauchten dÃnischen Sperrliste. 17 der Seiten waren in den USA gehostet, jeweils eine in den Niederlanden, Südkorea und England. Carechild schrieb an die Abuse-Mail-Adressen der Hostingprovider und bat um Entfernung der Inhalte. Das Ergebnis: acht US-amerikanische Provider haben die Domains innerhalb der ersten drei Stunden nach Versand der Mitteilung abgeschaltet. Innerhalb eines Tages waren 16 Adressen nicht mehr erreichbar, bei drei Websites teilte der jeweilige Provider laut Carechild glaubhaft mit, dass die Inhalte nach augenscheinlicher Prüfung keine Gesetze verletzen oder der Betreiber für die abgebildeten Personen entsprechende Altersnachweise vorlegen konnte.

Short sumary: The child proteciton organization Carechild did an interesting experiment: They used 20 of the entries from the Danish blocklist. 17 of those URLs were in the US, one each in Netherlands, South Korea, and UK. They contacted the hosters via the abuse-mail adresses and asked them to close down those child porn sites. Eight of the US hosters closed the sites within three hours of contact, 16 of the sites were closed within one day. Three sites were reported (truthfully) by hosters (after checking) to not contain child porn and not against any laws.

My question now is: If Childcare can do it, why not the mighty BKA (FBI of Germany)? I thought closing down might be more effective than trying to block them, which won't work anyway...

*sigh* - politicians really drive me crazy...

P2P browser by Cult of the Dead Cow? (1)

affenhund (1371117) | about 5 years ago | (#27684775)

Wasn't there a project by Cult of the Dead Cow a few years back that should be a p2p browser? So if you are in a country where some site is blocked you can access it via other users from other countries? I remember something like Freebird. Here it says it was called Peekabooty. https://training.hackinthebox.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=2027 [hackinthebox.org] Maybe something like this could be really useful in the future.
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