×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

German State Alters DNS To Censor Web Sites [updated]

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the unglaublich dept.

Censorship 261

Rabenwolf writes: "In the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the first ISP (ISIS Multimedia) has given in to pressure from the state government and has started to block foreign websites with supposedly "illegal content" by changing the corresponding DNS entries. ISIS customers trying to access these sites are redirected to the website of the local government. ISPs in North Rhine-Westphalia will have to pay a fine if they continue to provide access to sites with "illegal content" through their DNS servers. It's not as bad as China or Saudi-Arabia, but it makes you think... An article from the heise newsticker is here, and if you don't sprechen Deutsch, Google might help." Update: 11/22 15:23 GMT by T : As sqrt points out, this report is misleading: "A single technican altered the DNS Entries to demonstrate it is possible. His changes were already reversed. Heise already posted a new story about this today."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

261 comments

Well.. (2, Informative)

Captain Zion (33522) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600291)

Just use a different name server then.

Re:Well.. (1)

PaperTie (411784) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600298)

What about the people that can't (or don't know how to) change their nameserver?

Re:Well.. (1)

Kanon (152815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600309)

Make a fuss about it. Create webpages that tell people how to change their nameserver. With examples obviously.

If you're talking about home PCs why would they be unable to change their own DNS servers (Apart from a lack of knowledge)?

Re:Well.. (1)

david614 (10051) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600319)

If they don't know how to then will have to help them. After all, that's what friends are for.

If users can't (i.e., *AOL-HELL* users, they are probably a lost cause already.

Besides, a slashdot denizen just told *them* how to do it, if they are willing to take five minutes on google (or with the most basic internet book or magazine) to figure it out.

Failing either of these alternatives, they are a dead loss.

D

Re:Well.. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600329)

What about the people that can't (or don't know how to) change their nameserver?

Then they won't have the benefit of being part of the underground ;). At the end of the day anyone really wanting to access to that information will do their best to learn of the alternative solutions or compaign the government for their civil liberties - if they are not doing that then the information obvisually didn't mean much to them in the first place.

If someone had the need to access the information, then they could easily connect to another ISP in another country via phone lines if all routes via the local section of the internet are blocked - of course it would cost more, but it all depends on much that information means to them.

Re:Well.. (2)

kieran (20691) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600312)

Just use a different name server then.

The ISP could, however, transparently proxy DNS requests. Unlikely, admittedly - why bother propping up a measure that's as weak as DNS-fudging in the first place?

Re:Well.. (1)

The Real Andrew (321273) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600336)

It could be that they are using these weak measures to actually allow the brighter people to access the sites that they want to and just to make the goverment happy.

Re:Well.. (1)

yuggoth (85136) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600346)

The ISP could, however, transparently proxy DNS requests. Unlikely, admittedly - why bother propping up a measure that's as weak as DNS-fudging in the first place? According to the Heise article linked in another post, the technician responsible wanted to show that a DNS block would be possible but useless, since it could be circumvented easily. Seemingly, he acted on his own, not backed by the ISP management.

Re:Well.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600384)

Like almost all other port blocking and proxying, including even sniffing for packets that look like DNS queries and replies.. ssh tunneling and your favorite UNIX shell in the country with the laws you like the best are the answer.

Pathetic attempt (5, Informative)

kieran (20691) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600296)

Anyone finding themselves redirected can use any number of simple DNS tools to find out the real IP (by querying a root server, then the authorative server), then simply access the site by IP rather than FQDN. This may sound a little technical for Johann average, but not when simple instructions are made available to them.

(This would not work with sites that rely on HTTP1.1 to tell them the name of the site, so that many sites can be hosted on a single IP, but that is less widely used than it might be.)

Re:Pathetic attempt (1)

zerosignal (222614) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600303)

>(This would not work with sites that rely on
>HTTP1.1 to tell them the name of the site, so >that many sites can be hosted on a single IP, >but that is less widely used than it might be.)

Just add the server name to your local HOSTS file.

Re:Pathetic attempt (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600335)

Yeah, shame about the HTTP 1.1 thing. On the bright side IE already provides this service via MSN if a domain name doesn't resolve so this ruling could well mean all people have to do is click on 'GO'

Re:Pathetic attempt (1)

yooden (115278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600351)

Anyone finding themselves redirected can use any number of simple DNS tools to find out the real IP (by querying a root server, then the authorative server), then simply access the site by IP rather than FQDN. This may sound a little technical for Johann average, but not when simple instructions are made available to them.
Yeah, like the avarage T-Online user even knows what an IP address is.

Re:Pathetic attempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600542)

It's not an HTTP/1.1 thing. It will work with a HTTP/1.0 request, just put a Host: header in.

IP addresses? (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600302)

If this is based on DNS entries, tnen what is stopping people using the IP addresses instead?

Re:IP addresses? (3, Informative)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600334)

If this is based on DNS entries, tnen what is stopping people using the IP addresses instead?

Well, this one little thing: Virtual hosts... If there's multiple DNS names pointing on same server, the server hicups if it sees someone wanting just the page and not providing the host name in Host: header.

Re:IP addresses? (3, Informative)

platypus (18156) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600534)

Well, this one little thing: Virtual hosts... If there's multiple DNS names pointing on same server, the server hicups if it sees someone wanting just the page and not providing the host name in Host: header.

Well, two little things (one for *nix, one for windows nt):
  • /etc/hosts
  • $WINDIR\system32\drivers\etc\hosts

Re:IP addresses? (3, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600435)

"Virtual host by name" where you have many sites on one IP address (encouraged by the folks who bring you fewer than 4 billion addresses) identified by a "Host:" header in HTTP/1.1 is what is stopping them. It's a whole lot easier to just change the DNS server settings (Settings > Control Panel > Network > TCP/IP (your adapter) > Properties > DNS Configuration) to use a DNS server outside the country. Those with BSD/Linux/Unix/WinNT/Win2K/WinXPpro of course can run their own DNS server.

Re:IP addresses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600498)

Only if the ISP doesn't block access to DNS servers outside it's relm will this work. I also believe that some routers can block by content type so a name server on a non-standard port outside the network would still be unreachable.

Re:IP addresses? (1)

yooden (115278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600463)

If this is based on DNS entries, tnen what is stopping people using the IP addresses instead?
Ignorance about IP addresses.

I don't 'sprechen' GoogleDeutsch either :-( (5, Funny)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600304)

(From Google)
The entrance offerers had questioned thereby whether the entrance to unpleasant, abroad can be prevented gehosteten Websiten at all effectively.

I think I might as well just learn German ;-)

Re:I don't 'sprechen' GoogleDeutsch either :-( (1)

yooden (115278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600362)

(From Google)

The entrance offerers had questioned thereby ether the entrance to unpleasant, abroad can be prevented gehosteten Websiten at all effectively.

I think I might as well just learn German ;-)
Go right ahead:
Die Eingangsanbietenden hatten dadurch gefragt, ob der Eingang zu unangenehmem, auswärts verhindert werden kann gehosteten Websiten an allen effektiv.

(Boy, that is way above RSA.)

Re:I don't 'sprechen' GoogleDeutsch either :-( (1)

tgreiner (107912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600528)

It means "the technician tried to demonstrate that there is a simple technical solution to block web sites, which can be circumvented easily."

From what I understand the technician blocked the web sites on its own without consent by management. Another article [heise.de] states that several other german ISPs have also implemented blocks for web sites as requested by the local government.

Personally (being a german citizen) I perceive these actions as bad move towards censorship.

Site-Restriction Already retracted (5, Informative)

absolut_kurant (152888) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600305)

according to this [heise.de] article on heise, the restriction is no longer in effect. According to the press officer, a technician did it on his own and not in accordance with company policies.

Re:Site-Restriction Already retracted (2, Informative)

Cryus (538375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600358)

In this Press-Release [bezreg-due...orf.nrw.de] (german of course) the government claims that the ISPs efforts must have been effective because of all the e-mails they received from people complaining about this sort of censorship. I wonder how many consumers of Nazi-content are among those who (like me) protested against the governments course to violate some of our constitutional rights.

Re:Site-Restriction Already retracted (3, Informative)

hearingaid (216439) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600411)

Results of Babelfish on the Heise article:

Isis takes blocking back from Internet pages

The Duesseldorfer Internet provider Isis [altavista.com] took the blocking back of four [altavista.com] on-line supplies again. " the barrier decreased/went back to the initiative of an individual technician. It corresponded not to the policy of the enterprise ", said Isis speaker Thomas Werz. It concerned itself thereby around four pages with right-wing extremists as well as force-wonderful-ends to contents from the USA, which were attainable for the Isis customers for Monday no longer.

The technician had wanted to demonstrate on own fist that a technical solution for the blocking from Internet pages was possible, in addition, easily to be gone around can, avowed Werz opposite heise on-line. This should not have occurred however in all public; Werz apologized in the name of the company at the customers. Isis aims at a political solution with the Duesseldorfer district government.

From Monday to today one had gone out in the enterprise erroneously with it, the technician in arrangement with the management concerned, stressed Werz. Accordingly a Isis spokeswoman had justified the side blocking yesterday in relation to the public.

During his public demonstration the technician had followed arbitrarily a request of the district government Duesseldorf. This had before reminded the ACCESS Provider as North-Rhine/Westphalian supervision of Internet to lock four pages from the USA. Approximately ten Provider reacted according to specification of the authority country-wide so far to it [altavista.com]. The measures are strongly disputed in the Internet municipality. Thus the chaos computer club called [altavista.com] the attempts of the district government to let Internet pages lock censorship in the Internet. "this is a crucial step into the false direction."

The district government Duesseldorf [altavista.com] tries as country-wide Internet control instance for some time to let pages with illegal contents lock by the ACCESS Provider [altavista.com]. On 13 November a hearing with 90 Internet Providern took place for this reason. At that time the providers referred particularly to technical problems, in order to lock pages from the foreign country. According to estimations of the Federal Criminal Investigation Office (BKA [altavista.com]) approximately 90 per cent of the more than 1000 right-wing extremists German-language Internet supplies from the foreign country are fed into the network.

See to the topic also the contribution network barrier for Fritzchen stupid [altavista.com] in Telepolis. (anw [mailto] / c't)

Ah, good old machine translation. Yet, it's still Better than Nothing. "force-wonderful-ends" :)

Re:Site-Restriction Already retracted (3, Informative)

YKnot (181580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600449)

Several other providers, including at least one university, still block the sites. Some have more effective blocking than DNS redirection in place.

Will this teach slashdot editors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600487)

So their sensationalist article has now been debunked.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?
1. Post a skewed and misleading article with inflammatory headline claming "censorship" and "your rights".
2. Look like a complete fool 30 minutes later, when a reader who actually reads the article does a little checking and points out the truth.
3. Post a lame UPDATED tag, with no retraction or apology.

Hopefully, this should teach the editors to actually research and think before posting, but somehow I doubt it.

Re:Will this teach slashdot editors? (4, Informative)

YKnot (181580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600531)

The update needs an update: the blocking continues, just not ISIS but other providers, ISIS does not seem to be very open about what has really happened and according to our local government almost all who protested are are probably nazis.

what about hexadecimal? (0, Offtopic)

Derek Finch (538373) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600306)

Can I censor decimal numbers? They are far more stupid and dangerous than anything else.

Very encouraging. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600307)

I'm happy to see our german friends make up for their dismal record. Censorship is not only a fact of life, it is a necessary fact of life, and despite the fact that USians can only discern other people's censorship, USians are the most censorious bastards on the planet. USian government is a sinecure thanks to the individual USian's totalitarian tendencies.

S'true.

hey, that *is* true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600325)

I've noticed the American tendency to drown dissenting opinion while congratulating its government for making dissenting opinion a rhetorical right.

Linux continues to suck.

That is such bullshit (3, Insightful)

werdna (39029) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600515)

Sure, the US government is oppressive, except when compared to any other. No local magistrate has the power or ability to keep me from posting to this website, and should they try to do so, I have the power to sue them, undo the censorship, and get them to pay me for the exercise of that privilege.

Freedom of speech in the United States is not absolute, of course. But it is unparalleled elsewhere. In what other nation can you go to the nation's highest court and announce "Fuck the draft?" with absolute immunity?

FL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600308)

first load of the day

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600311)

FP!!! FEAR MOFO!!! HAHAHAH!@!! blah
lasdjflsakfjdlaskjdflkasdfjlaskjdflaskfjasdf
sdafljk
sadflkjsl
lkjlkdkdk skdf

Different places have different ideas (5, Insightful)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600322)

I really hope people actually think about this before replying about how this is simply wrong. Different countries have different ways of dealing with things. In America, for example, Freedom of Speech is enshrined in law - this gives an enormous amount of protection to citizens from their government, which is good, but also ensures the right of racists and others to say what they like, and recruit new members. In other countries, they frequently take a different approach, and for example consider protecting minorities from hate speech to be more important than letting everyone say whatever they like.

I wish people would understand that these are simply different ways of going about things, and certainly each has its own advantages and disadvatages. I don't honestly think, for example, that one groups is simply correct about gun ownership - perhaps America /is/ correct to claim that citizens need to be able to assert control, and not be powerless against their own government, but there are clear disadvatages. The same with speech - given no censorship, and no ability to assert local laws over internet content has major disadvantages, as well as the obvious advantages.

I odnt thnk its wrong. (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600360)

I've alwas been a big fan of thought control.

Re:I odnt thnk its wrong. (3, Insightful)

linca (314351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600391)

It is not "thought" control, it is "publication" control. Not the same thing. You can even speak about it with your friend, you know. The word Nazi hasn't been deleted. But of course, If you don't mind seeing Germany under Nazi rule again ( America has an history of supporting right-wing dictatorships in South America, after all...), Then let them speak. Then, ten years later, YOU go fighting them. Free Speech didn't work to avoid totalitarian regime, in the 30's. Because of that, in 1945, the Americans (along with others), have forbidden any German to promote Nazism. It seems the Germans want to keep this law.

Re:I odnt thnk its wrong. (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600443)

Because of that, in 1945, the Americans (along with others), have forbidden any German to promote Nazism. It seems the Germans want to keep this law.

Absolutely. It's not funny being blamed for things that happened when your father was so young he couldn't speek. I think we learned from our past.

BTW, this is why I personally am very happy that the US asked Germany for troops. It shows that the world is trusting us again, which is good for our self-confidence :-)

Re:I odnt thnk its wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600468)

BTW, this is why I personally am very happy that the US asked Germany for troops. It shows that the world is trusting us again, which is good for our self-confidence :-)

No, it showed the US was desperate for world approval for its' actions. Asking (and recieving) physical support was a way of proof.

Re:Different places have different ideas (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600369)

Actually, freedom of speech is also in the german law, but it has exceptions: you may not say things like "nobody was ever killed in Auschwitz" (because that would be a big fat lie) or similiar Nazi shit. It's like you said, it is important to say what you like, but there have to be limitations when it comes to hate speech, racist saying and simply false statements about our very sad history.

I personally think this is a Good Thing (tm), because normally you never have a problem with this, unless you're a Nazi. And we don't like to have Nazis any more (unfortunately there are still some left, especially in East Germany, but those are just a very stupid very small minority).

I also totally agree with you that there are simply different ways of doing things: our freedom of speech is limited because of our history, and as long as only hate speech and Nazi propaganda are banned, things are fine. You may still say "I think Gerhard Schroeder is an asshole" (which I don't think, but it's a fine example ;-) without getting any trouble.

Re:Different places have different ideas (1)

iworm (132527) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600383)

I agree. It's that old Catch-22 type of thing along the lines of "How much should we compromise our freedom in order to preserve our freedom?"

Re:Different places have different ideas (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600490)

and as long as only hate speech and Nazi propaganda are banned, things are fine.

But once you have the mechanism in place to enforce whatever is banned, it becomes easy to do so. Let some time pass and people are comfortable with it. Now something more can be banned and it will have a little resistance but with time that settles down. Wait for some troubling times, as Germany suffered right after World War ONE, and things are ripe ... and the mechanism is in place ... to let the Nazis or other ill-intent groups have their way.

Re:Different places have different ideas (1)

arkanes (521690) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600507)

So I can't say nobody was ever killed in Aushwitz, because thats a big fat lie, but I CAN say that no Japanese POWs were ever tortured, because thats a big fat lie thats not about Nazis? You guys need to get over this whole Nazi obsession already.

Re:Different places have different ideas (2, Insightful)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600371)

Well, since the speech in question (I don't read German so well-- so I'll assume this is mostly about Nazi propaganda, which is the main free speech issue I've seen talked about in Germany) is essentially anti-democratic and seeks to deprive others of their human rights, I don't see how it can be considered anything less than treasonous. I think the German government are taking this too far, though. By going to this sort of extreme, they are only feeding an us versus them situation, where what is needed is a shrug, a "huh. that sure is some stupid racist nonsense", and an effort to address any real issues that are causing the racists to think their problems are somehow going to be solved by scapegoating jews, blacks, Elbonians, whoever.

Of course, I'm an American who could care less about being able to advocate racist totalitarian governments, but I'm concerned that in their zeal to prevent further atrocities, the German and French (and others?) governments are likely to wipe out honest assessments and careful historical discourse. There is some real danger to whitewashing the problem, and in so doing allowing some deeper issues to go undiscussed and unsolved. This sort of repression (whether in individuals or in societies) seems to be linked to uncontrolled outbursts of bad behavior.

But in general the German government is doing at least as well as the USA in giving its citizens a land where liberty, freedom, and happiness are available to all on an equal basis. The German people affected by this elected their leaders in fair elections (as far as I know), so I assume if this really is against the will of the German people that they will vote their current government out in favor of one that will rewrite these laws.

Re:Different places have different ideas (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600535)

Is it not ironic that the current (not Nazi) German government is adopting some of the mechanisms that the Nazi government of the past used (and perhaps introduced) to promote their way of life and "discourage" others? Maybe they can bring back the concentration camps for the hate mongers. And the people might be inclined to accept that as long as it is just for the hate mongers.

Of course USA has problems, too. I think that if people want to be free (including being free to decide for themselves what evil ideas they want nothing to do with) from government control, they have to do so in unison throughout the world. I cannot just disregard the oppression in France or Germany just because it might not be as extreme as it has been in Afghanistan, or because there happens to also be some in the USA. To me it is consistency to speak out against it in any country (and vote against it in USA). And yes, I realize there is the risk that exercising my right to free speech can put me in violation of the law in certain places like The People's Republic of China and Saudi Arabia and subject me to arrest there even though the speech was done in America.

Re:Different places have different ideas (1)

yooden (115278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600374)

In America, for example, Freedom of Speech is enshrined in law - this gives an enormous amount of protection to citizens from their government
This is news to me. Could you provide some reliable sources for this claim?

YRO section is a piece of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600387)

and Michael Sims is responsible for that.

He posts all sorts of articles infringing on "Your Rights" even though most really don't. He seems to think that anything you ABLE to do should be a right. He needs to take some courses in politics and law before spouts off like that.

Bottom line: Michael Sims is a fucking moron.

anti-hate-speech laws focus on the wrong thing (5, Insightful)

fhwang (90412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600389)

Anti-hate-speech laws, whether in Germany or Francs or the U.S., seem to be predicated on the idea that the speech itself has some sort of magical power over people's minds. I think that's very wrong, and it distracts attention from where it's needed most.

A number of different groups would have you believe that the swastika was this magical symbol that automatically turned rational people into genocidal creatures: All you do is hide the swastikas and everything's okay. Remember that the Holocaust had a very specific economic and political context: For a number of reasons, the German people had endured one of the worst economic declines ever to be suffered by an industrialized nation, and they were terrified and desperate. This does not excuse what happens, but it gives a much more sensible explanation than what normally passes for historical analysis -- "We need to keep the images of swastikas away from impressionable white kids", or "Germans are just a racist people", or similar pap.

So now Germany has a problem with skinheads (though it tends to get blown way out of proportion because the rest of the world watches the country very carefully). So why is that? Is that because German teenagers can get their hands on albums by talentless oi-skinhead bands? Or maybe, just maybe, it's because the reunification of Germany has been fraught with all sorts of economic and political stresses, and there are too many scared, uneducated, hopeless Germans who are looking for a scapegoat.

Of course, when it comes to what a politician can do about it, there's really no option at all, is there? Either he can stand up and say "We should work hard to make sure that everybody has good economic opportunities" -- and be branded as some stuck-in-the-past Marxist -- or he can point fingers and say "Let's keep Nazi images off the internet!"

Re:anti-hate-speech laws focus on the wrong thing (3, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600553)

Anti-hate-speech laws, whether in Germany or Francs or the U.S., seem to be predicated on the idea that the speech itself has some sort of magical power over people's minds.

If the speech is "sanitized" by government laws and enforcement mechanisms, then people might be inclined to start thinking that what they do hear is somehow more acceptable. That is the danger when people stop deciding for themselves.

Nazis had different ideas, too (1, Flamebait)

Skapare (16644) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600390)

Of course there are different ways of thinking in different countries. Gassing 6 million people is a different way of thinking. Slamming airplanes into skyscrapers with thousands of people in and around them is a different way of thinking.

Indeed it is America's different way of thinking about freedom that ensure's we get to speak about different way's of thinking. Sure, we should understand that different parts of the world are different. But they also need to understand this, too ... but without freedom of speech they cannot achieve that.

In my way of thinking, though, I see these kinds of restrictions in Germany as a return to their Nazi past. While those putting in this law might not be intent on promoting the master race, those who do can certainly make use of it's uniform acceptance, should they come back to power.

Re:Nazis had different ideas, too (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600472)

Skinning alive native Americans is a different way of thinking, too buddy!

Re:Nazis had different ideas, too (1)

WalterSobchak (193686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600548)

I can see the "Flamebait" rating...
"Indeed it is America's(emphasis added) different way of thinking about freedom that ensure... but without freedom of speech they cannot achieve that"
Don't get me wrong: I am an real anglophile, I loved to live in the US, and I would like to live there again. But exactly this "it is AMERICA that keeps the world going, and the rest of the world has to follow OUR ways to live in happyness" that drives me up the wall. I doubt that the US is paradise on earth, and there surely are some quirks in American society. And are things like slander really OK in the US? Are there NO laws infringing my right to say WHATEVER I want. Again, I think the way the local authorities acted in this case is plain wrong, but please, I refuse to simply follow the American way of live just because.

Alex

Re:Different places have different ideas (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600393)

Well. my usual sermon..
The internet is not a 'government network'. It's a bunch of networks hooked together using a common protocol. When a government wants to step in and tell a bunch of private entities what they can and cannot look at, over hardware they own.. I have a problem with it.

Censorship isn't a "different idea" (1, Insightful)

Karl Cocknozzle (514413) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600450)

In America, for example, Freedom of Speech is enshrined in law - this gives an enormous amount of protection to citizens from their government, which is good, but also ensures the right of racists and others to say what they like, and recruit new members.

Actually, this has nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with the freedom to assemble peacably.

Maybe we should ban that too?

The same with speech - given no censorship, and no ability to assert local laws over internet content has major disadvantages, as well as the obvious advantages.

I have a hard time seeing the "major disadvantages" of an uncensored internet. Please document these disadvantages so we can all understand how censorship is good.

In fact, I also want to know what benefit does any citizen (not government agency) get from censorship of the internet? What are these alleged "advantages" to citizens whose net access is being filtered by the government? Who knows, if the advantages are good enough, maybe I'll start writing to congress to have my internet censored.

Germany may be protecting its citizens from hate speech, but remember this: All persons are entitled to equal protection under the law. Just because you're saying "nigger" and I'm saying "potato salad" should not affect our protection by the first amendment.

I mean, if I hate potatoes, wouldn't talking badly about potato salad be "hate speech"?

Re:Censorship isn't a "different idea" (4, Flamebait)

SmileyBen (56580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600476)

Could someone tell me, does this guy *actually* not understand that the first amendment doesn't cover Germany, or, er, did he just vote for Bush?

Re:Different places have different ideas (2)

j7953 (457666) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600469)

That's not the point. The point is that was is happening here is not that the government takes a specific publication, sues the publisher, and the court decides that further publication of this material should be illegal.

What is happening here is:

  • The goverment did, as far as I know, not sue anyone, so no court was involved in this case. It's the government who decides what sites are to be blocked.
  • The government is asking for a complete domain to be blocked. It's very questionable if you can view an entire domain as a single publication. Take Slashdot as an example -- should all of Slashdot's articles be blocked if there is a single "hate speech" article or comment?
  • The government asks for blocking nazi websites. This is a smart move, as the great majority of Germans is in favor of making the distribution of such material illegal. At least some providers, especially smaller ones, will block the content as soon as the goverment threatens to sue them, since not doing so would result in bad PR. The question is, will they stop here? I'm quite sure the next thing to be blocked will be content that is "not appropriate for children." Will they stop there?

I'd say that especially the first and the second point make the goverment's request unconstitutional, even though the German constitution does permit laws that make "hate speech" illegal.

Re:Different places have different ideas (1)

yooden (115278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600510)

I'd say that especially the first and the second point make the goverment's request unconstitutional, eventhough the German constitution does permit laws that make "hate speech" illegal.
Unconstitutional? Which constitution are you talking about? Which part of this constitution?
This is law enforcement, nothing else. Nazi stuff is illegal by law, so no judge needs to be involved. All this is based on the very first and most important article of the Grundgesetz.

(It's wrong and stupid anyway.)

Re:Different places have different ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600474)

Bullshit. The consituitional commitment to free speech, trial
by jury, and ... er, I can't think of any others, are the things
the US of A will be remembered for thousands of years from now.
Every other nation on God's earth could and should learn from the
States in regard to these two. The US has led the way and we should
follow; period, end of story, stop. This "different strokes for
different folks" stuff is just bullshit. Freedom of speech should
be a fundamental human right, and speaking as someone who lives in
Germany, I'm glad that at least some /. readers see the situation
here to be as bad as it is -- even without this fucking crap the ISP
pulled (or may have pulled or their employee pulled or whatever),
there is no free speech in Germany.

FBI Internet-tap plus unsecured DNS = trouble (3, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600323)

As I commented [slashdot.org] on Nov. 14:

A [problem threatening free speech in the U.S.] is the FBI Wiretap of the entire Internet [foxnews.com]

The new FBI plans would give the agency a technical backdoor to the networks of Internet service providers' like AOL and Earthlink and Web hosting companies, Baker said. It would concentrate Internet traffic in several central locations where e-mail and other web activity could be wiretapped.
coupled with the Internet's unsecured DNS [slashdot.org]. The FBI could surreptitiously censor subtly or DOS sites that criticize the government, for example.

Redirected to local government? (1)

rde (17364) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600332)

That could be interesting. A german types in thenazipartyarentthatbadafterall.de (or its German equivalent), and they get their local government website.

Could be worse, I suppose. We might see the rarest of conditions, when politicians don't want the people's votes, after their picture seems to appear on amianaziornot.de

Curious... (2, Interesting)

mESSDan (302670) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600338)

They mention "illegal content" quite a bit, but I don't see where they define it. Then again, the Google translation left much to be desired and I did not read to the end of the article. Can anyone elaborate on it?

Side note: It would be most strange if the "illegal content" was pornography, from what I understand, prostitution is legal in Germany. Most would say that is morally worse than a little pr0n. (Me, I could care less).

I guess its all moot anyway.

Re:Curious... (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600402)

By "illegal content" they mean Nazi propaganda and violence glamorizing content.

Pr0n is legal in germany, with the only exception of child pornography, of course... banning pr0n would be like banning beer, people wouldn't accept that ;-)

Germany is rather progressive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600407)

Often "illegal content" in German speaking countries refers to neo Nazi material. In the states you can say "I am a Nazi and proud of it, I wish Hitler had finished his job", and have no problems. In Germany, you would land in jail.

So, is preventing this kind of speech a good thing or not? There are no simple answers, as you see.

Also, before any knee-jerk reactions, you should take a close look at how the German computer industry and government deals with electronic privacy issues. They are one of the best countries worldwide in this area. Too many folks think "Germany-Nazis-Bad". Germany was the country that managed to put enough pressure on M$ to get the $cientology "disk defragmenter" code out of Windows 98 (which, by the way, is back in XP again, but no one seems to care).

Re:Curious... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600412)

"illegal content" in this context refers to anything nazi related. For obvious historical reasons, any such material, groups and even toughts :) are illegal.

Not as bad??? (2, Insightful)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600343)


Why is this not as bad as China or Saudi-Arabia? Censorship is censorship, and governments trying to restrict their peoples access to information on the Internet is equally despicable regardless of the information or the method with which it is attempted.

The world has suffered too much already to the German people's willingness to allow their governments to manipulate and control them. I say shame on all those who are allowing it to continue...

Re:Not as bad??? (1)

linca (314351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600367)

Thanks for the troll. Do you know what the (democratically-elected, unlike Saudi Arabia or China) German government is censoring, according to (approved by most Germans) law? Nazi sites. Those that promote the government that "manipulate and control" the German people. Not counting that those laws, forbidding to promote Nazism in Germany, was in 1945 promoted by the American Government (that certainly never censor anything).

Re:Not as bad??? (2)

Hobbex (41473) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600398)


Yes, I did know all that, and it does not change a thing. What part of "censorship is censorship" do you fail to comprehend?

Evil almost never comes into the world because of evil intentions, but rather when fundamental freedoms are trampled upon in the name of utilitarian reward, short term benefit, and an illusion of safety.

Re:Not as bad??? (1)

linca (314351) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600434)

Because for 50 years (quite long term),Germany hasn't tried to invade another country, causing millions of deaths, unlike what it used to beforehand. Even with free speech. Because in Rwanda, the radio 1000 hills had free speech, and that caused millions of deaths. Because some sources of free speech are inherently dangerous, have consistently proven to be so, I don't believe absolute free speech, without any censorship, in mass media, to be that much of a necessity, especially when the government is controlled by the people, such as it is the case in Germany. Considering also that Neo-Nazi group recurrently call for murder, and, in Germany as much as in other countries, often commit them. Free Speech is a fundamental liberty, an axiom, in the US only. The fundamental liberties are not the same in Europe.

Re:Not as bad??? (2)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600370)

Censorship is censorship

All are not the same.

Example of manipulation: China blocks news sites.

Example of value censorship: Saudi-Arabia blocks porn. (To them skin=porn, but that is nitpicking.)

Some libraries in the USA block porn.

We can argue over censorship, but we can probably agree that some censorship is worse than others. Blocking news is the most evil and manipulative I can think of.

Re:Not as bad??? (1)

pi radians (170660) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600373)

>> I say shame on all those who are allowing it to continue...

And what are you doing?

I don't know where you live, but I am going to assume your country has censorship laws too. And if "Censorship is censorship" then the government is just as bad in your country too.

What makes the internet free for all in your eyes, yet simple things like television, movies, newspapers and magazines are allowed to be censored?

Please just explain to me why some media should be censored and others should not. How do YOU know when to draw the line?

DN-its-slow-acting? (2)

cperciva (102828) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600347)

Already in Monday the Duesseldorfer offerer Isis Multimedia Net changed appropriate DN-its-slow-acting on its name server.

Can someone who speaks german please explain what a DN-its-slow-acting is?

Re:DN-its-slow-acting? (1)

klitze (122322) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600392)

in the german text it's "DNS-Einträge" which means "DNS records". Didn't know how creative Google can act.. :)

Re:DN-its-slow-acting? (3, Funny)

pafrusurewa (524731) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600404)

Can someone who speaks german please explain what a DN-its-slow-acting is?


Ok, it took me a while to figure that out, but here we go:

The German original of the sentence is "Bereits am Montag änderte der Düsseldorfer Anbieter Isis Multimedia Net entsprechende DNS-Einträge auf seinem Nameserver."

"DNS-Einträge" means DNS entries. The Google engine obviously chopped "S-Einträge" off of the rest. "Sein" means "its" and "träge" "sluggish" or, as it's translated here, "slow-acting".

Re:DN-its-slow-acting? (1)

IngoSchi (467242) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600422)

Ok this is a bit complicated. :-)
Ok, I'm German and I've read the original article.

The German origin is "DNS-Eintraege",
which just means DNS-entry.

The translator arranged it as DN-seintraege,
"seintraege" or correctly "traege sein" could
be translated as "its slow acting".

It's a pity that maybe someday the entertaining part of machine translation would be lost.

Re:DN-its-slow-acting? (1)

yooden (115278) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600479)

Already in Monday the Duesseldorfer offerer Isis Multimedia Net changed appropriate DN-its-slow-acting on its name server.

Can someone who speaks german please explain what a DN-its-slow-acting is?
What is this, Googlish? How about providing the German text if you want a German-English translation?

Let me get this straight... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600352)

Only 2 hours ago, a Mrs. Edna Keppel (54) of Montana was almost hit by a truck and badly scared in the process and all you people can go on about is German DNS entries. My *god* GET SOME PERSPECTIVE.

You think you're funny .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600359)

but you're not.

Site content anyone? (1)

imrdkl (302224) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600354)

Anyone know what type of sites they were attempting to filter? Even if it was just another fascist sysadmin, he must have had a list from somewhere.

This is a Good Approach (2)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600355)

Rather than sue websites (like France has done to Yahoo) Germany is attempting to address content issues within their own borders through technical means. I may or may not agree with what they are attempting to keep out, but I respect their right to try and I respect the fact their solution is lawyer free.

Of course, anyone with a phone number to an out-of-country ISP and a modem will have no trouble getting around this weak blockade, but that is a seperate issue.

Another example (4, Insightful)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600356)

Hopefully, the folks who kneejerk respond to stories about similar abuses in the US with "hah hah, the US sucks, come live in a real country" will keep this and similar problems (such as the French encryption policies and Yahoo lawsuit) in mind.

The Internet is shaking up the status quo globally, and the assaults on our freedom of speech to stop it are similarly global. If the US removes it's citizens' freedom, it affects you, whether you're in Georgia the state or Georgia the country.

My Rights in North Rhine-Westphalia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600364)

gee, this article is so relevant to all of us slashdotters living in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Well I guess for those that don't live there (99.99999% of readers), we should just avoid going there than.

My Rights in in North Rhine-Westphalia are being violated! Help!

Additional Info (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600375)

There is googlized additional link [google.com] about the situation from the magazine Telepolis

Google gives the translated title as "Net barrier for Fritzchen stupid", with somehow somes it up nicely

It's so fucktarded, it's laughable (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600378)

Just install a DNS server (as provided on any *nix distrib), and have it not connect to the ISP's (default setting), et voila, forget that shit.

I read in the paper that they not only want to censor "nazi" sites, but also Rotten [rotten.com], which displays very bad taste, but bad taste has never killed anyone, has it?

It's always the same problem with censorship: they claim to only target extremist groups, but there's always collateral damages.

List of blocked sites. (5, Informative)

Cryus (538375) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600401)

The Caos Computer Club has a transcript [www.ccc.de] of the letters sent to the ISPs by the Government. They demanded the blocking of: front14.org, stormfront.org, nazi-lauck-nsdapao.com for illegal nazi-content (which is illegal in Germany for historical reasons) and rotten.com As a site that uses pictures undermining the dignity of man and endangering the youth. I'd personaly - as a german citizen - prefer to see more money spent on media-education so people could make an informed decision about good and bad links to follow than on this campaign that opens doors to censorship (which is against our constitution btw.)

Why is censorship bad? (1)

burts_here (529713) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600408)

OK so everybody says it is but i can't really work out how many people have actually thought about it themselves. The main aurguement seems to be that once your an adult it's your own resonsibility about what you see, belive and say. However judging by what some people do say belive and say thiers quite a big aruguement for cencorship... i gues the question allways comes down to who gets to do the cencorship. I persnoally belivve that their is a certain point where cencorship is a good thing. It's just a questions of finding that point, and agreeing on it.
Apologies for the spelling.
--
Burt "Out of my mind back in 5 minutes"

Sites NOT blocked anymore (4, Informative)

Rabenwolf (155378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600410)

As somebody else said already, the story was retracted after I submitted it. Apparently a technician changed the DNS entries without authorization from his superiors to demonstrate how easily it could be circumvented. But the state government is still trying to get the ISPs to adapt these measures. Read more about it here [google.com].

Re:Sites NOT blocked anymore (2)

YKnot (181580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600475)

Apparently, that is now what happened. Several other providers are still blocking the sites and the local government claims that ISIS just gave in to pressure from racists.

Re:Sites NOT blocked anymore (2)

YKnot (181580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600516)

"that is NOT what happened". Damn, some typos are really dangerous.

Fragmenting the namespace? (5, Interesting)

fhwang (90412) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600420)

It looks like this has already been retracted. Still, it's interesting to imagine the possible ramifications.

If a country implemented DNS blocking like this as a long-standing policy, it's easy to imagine people trying all sorts of technical fixes to get around it. People would set up their own "All Hate DNS", or maybe they'd distribute .hosts files with lists of blocked domains ...

But once you're doing that, why even use the old domain name? If you had www.killalljews.com resolving through the "All Hate DNS", wouldn't you also want www.killalljews.hate, and www.finalsolution.now, and everything else?

It introduces the possibility of a conflicting, though smaller, namespace, being overlaid on the DNS -- one more step towards fragmenting the namespace [fhwang.net]. Not that such fragmentation is necessarily a good thing, but it sure would be interesting to watch ...

It gets worse (5, Informative)

YKnot (181580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600439)

Now that ISIS has stopped blocking the sites under massive objection from free speech advocates, the local government has released a press statement in which they claim that ISIS gave in to racist pressure. Guess we're all nazis now because we didn't want to allow our government to take the easy route to complete content control.
The statement is here: Pressemitteilung 467/2001 der Bezirksregierung Düsseldorf vom 22.11.2001 [bezreg-due...orf.nrw.de]

Isolated case (5, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600444)

This is only an isolated case. Till now, there is *NO* consensus between the ISPs and the law enforcers.

I had a lot of meetings with the BKA (something like the german FBI) about fighting criminality in the internet. And they underestimate scale and complexity of the net.

I give you one example. There is a software called PERKEO. PERKEO is able to checksum files quickly and has an internal database of known checksums of child pornography images. They argued, that most child pornography images (which are exchanged through the internet) are well known. Somewhat like 95+% shell be in the database.

In the discussion with the ISPs they argued, that it would be easy to add PERKEO to the proxy server. For every image accessed, the checksum is created and compared with the database. In case the checksum matches, the access is blocked.

When i tried to explain, that the introduction would only result in countermeasure (automatic modification of images), it was taken as unwillingness.

Every meeting (i know about) ended with the same results: Everyone is willing to fight criminals, but the is no modus operandi. The law enforcement agencies have wishes the ISPs do not consider compatible with the law and constitution.

Some politicians and law enforcers are growing more and more frustrated. So a state (Nordrhein- Westfalen) tries to work with laws that put more responisbility on the shoulders of the ISPs.

This generates confusion and the confusion results in such events like the one discussed.

CU, Martin

Actually, this is clever.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2600486)

If you are ISP and you are being forced by the government to block sites, and you have a problem with that government censorship, I'd call this a clever way of objecting. It is trival to totally circumvent, yet with a bit of luck should satisfy facist government officials...

Still, it is really disheartening to see wide attempts by governments to gradually restrict our freedoms in just about every country in the so called 'free world'.

Against the German constitution? (3, Informative)

BlueGecko (109058) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600499)

I'm an American, not a German, but I thought that Germany's constitution forbade this. In particular, quoting from Article 5:

(1) Jeder hat das Recht, seine Meinung in Wort, Schrift und Bild frei zu äußern und zu verbreiten und sich aus allgemein zugänglichen Quellen ungehindert zu unterrichten. Die Pressefreiheit und die Freiheit der Berichterstattung durch Rundfunk und Film werden gewährleistet. Eine Zensur findet nicht statt.

Or, in English:

(1) Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate his opinion in speech, writing, and pictures and to freely inform himself from generally accessible sources. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting by means of broadcasts and films are guaranteed. There will be no censorship.

Could someone who is German or who has studied German law please clarify?

Re:Against the German constitution? (2, Informative)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 12 years ago | (#2600525)

There is the exception that you may not express hate speech, deny the Nazi cruelties or use racist expressions.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...