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Censorship Your Rights Online

Germany Wants To Put Time Limits On Porn 356

Posted by timothy
from the land-woman-manners dept.
nappster writes: "According to this article (sorry, it's in German), Germany thinks it can control the Internet, so now it's considering requiring that porn sites restrict their hours to 11pm to 6am. Exactly how they will coerce sites operating outside Germany is not explained, hence the term 'imbecility' that some have used to describe this proposal." Swim through the German with the Fish.
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Germany Wants To Put Time Limits On Porn

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  • Time zones? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by carpe_noctem (457178)
    So, will american porn sites be required to shut down outside of Germany's specified "porn times"? Or just filter all traffic into Germany Communist-China-style?
    • by J.C.B. (141141)
      The only way they could ever possibly do this is with communist-china-style filters. I could see American/etc porn sites just giving Germany a big fuck you if they try to make them shut down during the day. Porn sites are just far too numerous for Germany to put the kind of pressure on them like France did to Yahoo & (correct be if I'm wrong) ebay.
    • Re:Time zones? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thebigbadme (194140)
      As far as filtering and time zones go:
      The world has twenty-four timezones; if, by some messed up sort of complete world agreement, Germany begot enforcement from other countries would it be enforced on a continual twenty-four basis? Or would everyone need to filter access at their different, local, times (five hours earlier with eastern standard time, etc)?
      This is of course all hypothetical as we all know all world countries interested in filtering pr0n will insist on world enforcement of their own, unique, anti-freedom laws. I mean come on, can anyone see the French in agreance with any law that the United States would ever try to persue?
      /philosophy
      • Re:Time zones? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mpe (36238) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @06:52AM (#2678097)
        The world has twenty-four timezones

        Actually a few more. Some are centred about longitude which is not a multiple of 15 degrees. (e.g. Afganistan.)
      • There are also the places that are on 30 minute or even 15 minute boundaries. As well as a few places in the Pacific that shifted their time-zone ahead 23 hours or so to be "first into the new millenium" as a tourist gimick. (Probably ignored at the time, and long forgotten now.) Time zones are good. Railroads used to keep their own time standards for each company -- which meant making a tight connection in Chicago .. interesting.

        But to get back on topic, I think the German government needs to hire a child of five to explain the Internet and the concept of "global communications" to them. They've obviously missed their connection with the Clue Train.
    • This is such a self-centered proposal, assuming that they can tell everyone everywhere what they can and cannot put on their web site, based on what time it is in Germany! There is no reason to support such legislation in other countries, especially those across the Atlantic, because those hours here don't mean anything.

      If for some reason these types of laws DO take off, you'll end up with a situation where everybody's porn servers go down during the daytime hours of the country they're hosted in, and everyone gets used to looking at foreign porn sites. That, or there'll be a new-found interest in the soveriegnty struggle of "Sealand"... :)
  • by blonde rser (253047) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @04:55AM (#2677942) Homepage
    I mean Germany trying to take control beyond its borders... that's sooo twentieth century. Next we're going to here that France is going to "surrender" to this.
  • Which is worse? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JTinMSP (136923) <bigbearjt@gmail.com> on Sunday December 09, 2001 @04:56AM (#2677943) Homepage
    Dunno, at least it's not the "we're saving the kids, so you have to fork over your credit card" scam that the U.S. Congress enabled.
  • by nil5 (538942) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @04:56AM (#2677945) Homepage
    What difference will this make? Now you can't jerk off until midnight?

    Not to mention that this will be practically impossible to implement.
  • by TheEviscerator (240966) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @04:58AM (#2677949) Homepage
    My great fear is that every country in the world is going to pass its own version of a "decency" law, then attempt to require the conformance of every other country in the world. Soon enough, the Internet will have been watered down to contain only that content which is deemed acceptable, world-wide.

    One of the great challenges our world faces over the next century is our ability to accept a global Internet/marketplace, and yet maintain some semblance of independent societies, complete with our own mores and values.
    • by gnovos (447128) <gnovos.chipped@net> on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:04AM (#2677958) Homepage Journal
      Soon enough, the Internet will have been watered down to contain only that content which is deemed acceptable, world-wide.

      Acceptible to EVERYONE at the same time? So your saying the internet will eventually consist of a single bit... I wonder if it will be a "1" or if the "0" faction will try to pass a law against that...
      • by QuickFox (311231) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @07:07AM (#2678121)
        A bit? How dare you! That's disgusting! It's far too indecent!

        You're saying it yourself. A bit has to be a 1 or a 0.

        Look at a 1! See what it resembles! Look at a 0! See what it resembles!

        Give a man a fish and you have fed him for one day. Teach him how to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime, all the while calling you a miser for not giving him your fish.
    • Re:My great fear... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Spy Hunter (317220) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:10AM (#2677962) Journal
      My great fear is that every country in the world is going to pass its own version of a "decency" law, then attempt to require the conformance of every other country in the world. Soon enough, the Internet will have been watered down to contain only that content which is deemed acceptable, world-wide.

      No, I don't think that will happen. That would require every country in the world to bow to every other country's wishes. That will never, ever happen in a million years. Instead, I fear that countries will start fragmenting the Internet by establishing national firewalls or the like. The Internet may become segregated, split into different pieces by the meddling of misguided politicians. That would be unfortunate.

      • I don't think that will happen. That would require every country in the world to bow to every other country's wishes.

        Well, for now that seems to be true. But if the US keeps writing its laws by way of treaty rather than through a democratic legislative process, there will only be one Corpor^H^H^H^Huntry anyway.
    • My great fear is that every country in the world is going to pass its own version of a "decency" law, then attempt to require the conformance of every other country in the world. Soon enough, the Internet will have been watered down to contain only that content which is deemed acceptable, worldwide.

      Either or that, or people start using location based IP filters. Not really that hard to do. (Although it would still suck)
      • by HeUnique (187)
        1. Use Squid from another country...

        2. I'm pretty sure that if Germany will do that, then many porn web sites will simply move their servers to another country (and with today's situation, I'm sure that many ISP will be happy to host those sites)
    • Re:My great fear... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Weh (219305)
      I think the essence of what is going on here is on the character of the internet. Is it a broadcast type medium like tv? or is more like a book or a video which you can buy/rent personally?

      I think the internet can be regarded as both which is why there are so many problems with decency legislation.

      If one would regard the internet as a broadcast medium such as tv it would make sense to try and restrict it's content like on tv; for example "adult" material can only be shown late at night.

      However someone that would regard the internet more like a book would feel like some freedom is taken away from him, since right now he has the freedom to read his playboy anytime he wants too.

      I am all for freedom of speech etc. but I don't think the German government is doing something strange by trying to impose decency laws on the internet(only from a technological viewpoint maybe) Every media (apart) from the internet has been subject to decency laws so what's so different about the internet?

      The essence is what kind of laws to impose. The type of laws we have for books, videos etc. (ie. age checks etc.) or the type of laws for tv (ie. hours)? The us govt. tried to impose some sort of age law for porn sites, (with the cc number thing) which shows they regard the internet more as a personal media type thing wheras the German government is trying to impose the hours type legislation, which shows they regard the internet more like a tv type medium.

      I don't think the German government is stupid enough to demand the shutdown of sites outside their country at certain hours like so many people seem to suggest here. More likely it will be some kind of filtering device.
    • by brunes69 (86786)

      It is far more likely that over the next century, the vast majority of the world will share a common view of what is deemed "acceptable". Look realisticly at the trends in globalization, and look at how amazingly homogenous the worls has become in only a VERY short time of world trade (since say, the 50's). I believe we are progressing to a global society much faster than most people realize, and the laws of any one particular nation (with the exception of the United States, whose laws apply everywhere in the world, merely because of its military and economic might) have become increasingly irrelivant as distances and time zones mean nothing in terms of technology. I believe that we are rapidly approaching the need for a true world govenment. Now, weather this means that in the end the US will dictate world policy, or weather the UN will gain alot more power, I am unsure of.

  • Considering that it is *always* 11-6 somehwere any the world, I wonder how they expect this to change the way porn web-sites work? Maybe they'll be able to stop the rampant porn in Antartica for six months out of the year...
  • by Silver222 (452093) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:05AM (#2677959)
    The number of German bukkake addicts frantically checking what time zone Japan is in and planning their day accordingly?

  • by Matt2000 (29624) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:07AM (#2677960) Homepage

    The german parliament should remember to notify all search engines that cache images to shut off access to those images during those hours.

    Are these hours affected by daylight savings time? It is important that the German farmers have a chance to get their porn during darkness like the rest of the entire German nation.

    If a webserver is put in a balloon and is sent to different timezones where it is always day, should the site still be shut down during German nighttime?

    They should also remind German porn kings not to move their sites to a different country.

    What happens if the text of the website is educational, and is served from a German server, but there happens to be one picture of a sweet nude lady, but the image is on a foreign server?

    These are serious issues that the parliament must deal with from the hours of 9 AM to 11 PM only.
    • AFAIK, the people who are suggesting to implement something like this want to take the time at the client machine into account, although this can't really work. There prototype implementations in Java (or JavaScript), but they are easy to bypass.
  • Star Trek (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Kris_J (10111) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:14AM (#2677969) Journal
    This reminds me of Star Trek where they arrive at a planet and decide to wait so they can beam down "at night". The show makes it sound like planets only have a single time zone, or that the whole globe goes dark at once. It all sounds very Flat Earth, but then most of the recent tech legislation sounds like it comes from the Dark Ages.

    "They didn't call it the Dark Ages because it was dark." -- Daniel Jackson, Stargate SG-1.

  • by tRoll with Butter (542444) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:17AM (#2677974)
    The English are known for Tea Time, and now the Germans will be known for Porn Time. What a thing to be associated with! Over here in the states, we simply call it "happy time".
  • Here's the reason (Score:2, Informative)

    by batobin (10158)
    Although I don't agree with their decision, I can see where they are coming from.

    I was in Germany last summer, and was quite surprised as to what material showed up on my TV. After coming home from a beer garden one night, I flipped on the TV and saw raw porn right before my eyes. I changed the channel, and found more. Public TV, no joke.

    The reason for this was that Germany has a kind of "everything goes" rule after 11 PM. TV stations found serving perverts at night was more profitable than merely going off-line.

    I think Germany's new proposal is silly, merely because of the vast differences between TV and the Internet. On TV, there are a limited amount of channels, and setting restrictions on what they can display is legitimate. Setting those same restrictions on the much more open Internet just doesn't make sense.
    • by Teun (17872)
      That's where we Europeans as a whole differ from North Americans; what German TV is showing at night time is not realy concidered porn over here, OK, the label Soft-Porn is often used but say in Holland, Italy or Denmark you could possible air a minute of that stuff at prime time without getting complaints.
    • Re:Here's the reason (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What you saw is NOT porn by Germany's legal standards.
      The definition is AFAIK: porn contains images of sexually aroused genitals.
      That means: penis bird is porn, biology books are not, I'm not sure if goatse even counts as porn.
      The films you saw count as "erotic", the means they show sexual actions but not beaver shots etc.
      The main brackground for this fuss is that making porn aviable to minors (below age 18) is illegal in Germany (you might get into prison, no joke). In this sense the time retriction is rather braindead, because the porn sites won't be allowed to show porn to minors anyway (at the whole day).
      As you correctly noted, the restriction comes from the TV regulations, where erotic content should be only show after 11 PM. AFAIK there isn't even a clear law for this, because some private TV channels show discussions with sex themes even in the afternoon, but they usually get bashed (only verbal) by the official youth protectors afterwards.

      But before you whine all along there is something I must point out: Germany and Europe in general are much more tolerant to these things than the US, what they usually sets off is violence, not porn. I must remind you that the US is a country where "fuck" is beeped out in some US shows. These regulations on the internet for Germany are pretty retarded, but never forget that the US have their own retardness in many other respects.

      - Posting AC due to NAZI bitchslapping.

      • What does that make the drawing on the insert in the package of condoms? Definitely an image (line drawing) of fully aroused male genitals.

        (Trying to imagine the insert with a drawing showing how to put a condom on a banana, to avoid violating porn laws when a minor gets lucky, and the pregnancies that result while the hausfrau is trying to figure out the shrinkwrapped fruit in the kitchen....)
    • Re:Here's the reason (Score:2, Informative)

      by alhague (127665)

      The reason for this was that Germany has a kind "everything goes" rule after 11 PM.

      It's really only "a kind of", because "everything" means the same as FSK18. FSK18 means the "Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle" (this is supposed to mean: "there is no such thing as censorship, only voluntary restrictions") says you must not see this unless you're 18.

      FSK18-rated movies my be shown in Cinemas, on Public TV from 11pm to 6 am, on encrypted digital TV from 8pm to 6 am (FAQ de.rec.tv.misc [pardesoka.de]). They must not be made accessible to children by anybody (in public) apart from their parents (but only in private).

      FSK18 is the least restricted class of ratings that is available, but it doesn't cover everything. So there remain certain films,comics,games etc. which may neither be mentioned, nor be made commercials for, nor be broadcast in any media. They may be legaly sold "under the shelf", however, which distinguishes them from still another class, which is actually prohibited material (h*rdc*r* pron, hate speech ...)

    • by hughk (248126) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @07:34AM (#2678148) Journal
      Yes, there is a lot of bonking going on during straight (as in non-sattelite, non-encrypted) late night TV, however, it is usally easy to find a channel that you can watch with your 16-year old daughter without blushing (The kids can stay up late at weekends).

      Then come the commercials that get me. They are ubiquitous and leave absolutely nothing to the imagination for what you get calling the 0190 (extra-toll) and 00 (international) telephone numbers. Btw, I know what the original poster means about "perverted", it seems that the qualification to appear as a model on one of these ads is to be anything but normal looking!!!

      I don't object to porn on the net because it doesn't interrupt 'normal viewing' you have to click the URL and it is usually clear what you are getting (apart from Goatsex [goatse.cx], don't click this one). Well maybe if VA Software get desperate and start some pop-ups in slashdot for extra funding - then we could be worried.

      The last point is why restrict the time slots, many kids over the age of 14 have a computer in their room and I don't want to give them another reason to break curfew and stay up late. It is bad enough with them playing computer games until all hours!!!

      Moderators Please Note: The above goatsex link is actually on topic for once!!!!

    • Are you Brian Tobin, the next Prime Minister of Canada?
      (Yes, the next PM will either be Brian Tobin or Paul Martin)
      I hope our next Prime Minister reads Slashdot. That would just be too cool.
  • First DNS manipulation [slashdot.org] in an attempt to block nazi sites, and now this. I guess they have good intentions, but it's just tilting at windmills, imho.
    • by sholton (85051) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @09:40AM (#2678297)
      All of you "...they're just tilting at windmills..." and "...this can never happen..." types need to spend a few minutes thinking about a world in which it already has happened.

      The Internet is a human construction. It can be built or rebuilt to suit whatever criteria its builders choose.

      The 'Net we are heading for has no anonymity, is zoned on a per-country and per culture basis, has routers blocking every port but 80 (you can use the others, too, for a price) and only allows "approved publishers" to create content.

      - The rage in the router world right now is 'intelligent content sensitive blocking' which would allow, for example' your cable ISP to block H.323 packets (voice over IP) unless you've paid for the service.

      - Right behind this is the ability to QOS their routers to "encourage" their customers to use preferred services (== companies with which they've formed a partnership) over competitors. (If you don't like your current ISP, but the competitors home page takes 5 minutes to load and doesn't render right, are you going to switch? Surprise, it may have nothing to do how fast the competing ISP is, or how well they've designed their home page.)

      - As previous slashdot stories have pointed out, whole countries (like Saudi Arabia) are firewalling off the rest of the world. AOL does this, too, but their 'zone' is paying customers. Products like SurfWatch allow anyone to do this for themselves and those they "represent".

      - We've already lost port 25 (SMTP) because of the spammers. Don't kid yourself into believing the ISP were anything but estatic about being able to take that away, for "anti-spamming" reasons, and now charge us extra for our email accounts.

      In the new 'Net world, you won't even get onto the internet without "the 'Net" knowing exactly who you are, what you're allowed to access, and who to charge for every piece of content you view. And BTW, they'll also know what you're likely to buy, how much you can afford, and whether they can charge you for it (because you're already hooked) or have to give it to you for free.

      (Just to keep ontopic; once they figure out that you prefer tits to ass, they'll charge you for tits, but ass will be free.)

      Imagine an internet no bigger than AOL, or MSN. Imagine an Internet ab bland and braindead as broadcast television is today.

      You'll be allowed to create your own home page (for a price), but if there's anything contraversial (== not profitable to the 'Nets owner) you won't be allowed to post it.

      If you rest on your laurels, confident that it can never happen, you lose your vote in how you want the Internet to be built. It can be built differently, but you'll have to do it yourself.
  • As a german citizen (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kong the Medium (232629) <kongstew&googlemail,com> on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:44AM (#2678007) Homepage

    I read this piece of "NEWS" (ix.de [www.ix.de] reported this item last week [www.ix.de](Use the fish)), and promplty filled my nose with coffee.

    To clarify: the main reason for this so called "Sendezeitbegrenzung" from 11 pm to 6am is the childrens protection act. ( Will somebody please think about the children :-)). It seems some of our politicians haven't greeped the fact that Germany isn't the navel of the world anymore.

    In essence this new Law the "Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (JMStV)," proposes to extend the youth protection laws allready in place for Radio and TV to the Internet. ( Think FCC for Internet for the North-Americans on /.). So this will be another try, to censor content or to restrict the access to information on the internet. But we all know, how effectfull the earlier tries have been.

    I'm sure everybody knews how resourcefull 6-18 year olds can be at getting the po^H^Hinformation one wants.

  • by Atrax (249401) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @05:44AM (#2678008) Homepage Journal
    what with time zones being all different and that. however, I have a solution.

    We flatten the earth. yup. flatten it. With German industrial ingenuity it shouldn't be a big problem. then we all have roughly the same sunrise and sunset times, therefore allowing germany to restrict opening times in line with other net-opressive nations (Australia - Richard Alston take note)

    Of course, how exactly are they going to define "porn", and then how are they going to patrol the net to enforce the whole thing?

    It could, of course, be the end to World Unemployment - just give every unemployed person a net connection and ask them to rate porn sites for the German government. SIGN ME UP! I'll quit my job now.
    • If we build a large reflector that encompasses half the earth, with pivot points on the poles, we could turn it to face away from the sun when we all want it to be dark and turn it toward the sun when we want it to be light. Then the entire planet would be affected at once. That seems more feasible. I'll make out an invoice for Germany tomorrow. Let them foot the bill for their anti-porn measures.
    • We could build a huge atom smasher using all of germany's wealth with enough power to open up a wormhole into the forth spacial dimention and shove all the under 18 year old germans into it. It would seem to be easier than flattening the earth and more benificial to science at the same time.
  • Now I'm not a german and have never been to germany, but do they have laws governing when strip clubs can be open? I ask this because at least in the US you have to be 18 to get into a strip club, just like the porn sites. Now with that supposing to cover the minors (which it really doesn't... "Please be honest, are you 18?", how is that fair if strip clubs being open whenever they want and porn sites not? I mean in both places you can't really touch the girls anyway (supposedly). Now I've been to strip clubs (I'm not so proud to admit) and to be entirely honest the effect ultimatly isn't that much different from looking at porn. Now on a technical point of view, you could probably make a script in an hour and cover all of this under a crond job for relatively weak enforcement. Basically the front page isn't supposed to have porn on it anyway, so that be freedom of speech should stay up with the rest of the site being chmod 700 when its supposed to be down or chmod 744 when its supposed to up.
  • Sorry , becuase of Germany the internet will be closed for the next 12 hours. Please check about again at 11pm CET. ;-)
  • by tempfile (528337) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @06:06AM (#2678039)
    I agree that the idea is a joke, but first I want to clarify something that probably got lost in all the babelfishification (I'm German). The article says that "content not suitable for minors may only be made accessible between 11pm and 6am, if there are no access-control facilities installed". First, Germany's laws about erotica are rather lax. Softcore is rated "16 years" per se, so it's not even affected. Second, the law would only affect sites that freely distribute their content without stuff like adult content.

    So the bottom line is that the only sites affected would be free-access hard core porn sites. Of course, controlling all this is technically impossible, and the very arising of the idea is due to technically illiterate German politicians. Several of ideas like this were turned down over the past few years when the people who know what they're talking about basically told them that they would be either technically impossible or extremely expensive.

  • by mESSDan (302670) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @06:07AM (#2678045) Homepage
    www.germanpr0n.com

    login:h0rnyN4zi
    password:xxxxx*x
    .......
    Gutentag!
    I am being very sorry, but it is currently only 3:30 PM where you are being located. This is meaning that we are not able to be serving you any pr0n until it is being 11 PM your time. Please, it is still early, so going out and trying to get laid, if you are unable to being laid, you may visit us at 11 PM where we will serving you many a good pr0n!
  • Why is it that government officials aren't paid based on performance, like the rest of us are? If you give the greedy bastards the option of either being an idiot and making $100,000 per year, or being halfway intelligent and making $250,000, which do you think they'd choose.

    This reminds me of that official that said masturbation should be taught in the schools. I believe she exceeded the red line on the stupidity gauge and got fired.
    • This reminds me of that official that said masturbation should be taught in the schools. I believe she exceeded the red line on the stupidity gauge and got fired.

      Why is that idea so stupid?

      It was a suggestion by the Surgeon General [whom no one ever listens to] [surgeongeneral.gov] because of AIDS [etc] and teenage pregnancy. I still believe that it was a great idea, but no one really knew why she had suggested it.

      She didn't want to teach techniques [we all figured it out on our own] she wanted to remove stigma and simply give the idea up for an alternative to fucking the person who sat in front of you when you were board.

      This type of law would keep boys from beating it [or girls from swirling it] and leave them no other choice but to either go for the [family pet here] or their friends.
  • by JohanV (536228) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @06:12AM (#2678055) Homepage
    My German isn't that good, but I believe that the fragment falls keine "Vor- und Freisperrtechniken" installiert sind translates roughly to if no access controls are implemented (please correct me if I am wrong, but Babel Fish is as useless as usual).

    Bypassing the technical/political/legal issues (I think we all agree on the feasibility of this proposition) I believe that it is a good thing if a country limits access to sexual oriented online content in accordence with the law IRL. And as I say in accordance with the law IRL this naturally implies that the law should not have any extraterritorial effects.
    If the Germans wish to limit uncontrolled daytime access to sexually oriented content located on servers on German territory they have my blessing.

  • My Pr0n Network is out on International Waters, sattelite-uplinked from a fixed-up Taiwanese Cannery Boat! Take that, decency laws! No one can stop me... unless... oh no, the dolphins! They're... Noooo!


    *transmission lost @ source*

  • Stupidity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whanau (315267)
    You gotta admit this is the ultimate in stupidity - I can have sex
    24 hrs a day whenever I want, but I can't watch others between a
    certain time. WTF?
  • I admit that the headline sounds very infamatory, but we really don't know much about why they made such an obviously insane law. We must remember, every country has it's stupid laws.

    Here in the good ol' USA it's illegial to 'Link' to sites containing information about DeCSS. That doesn't mean you can't post the URLs... They just can't be in link form. Not to mention the narrow-ness of the ruling. It's still legal to link to sites which link to DeCSS, and css-auth is still perfectly legal as well.

    That's just the example off the top of my head. There's obviously tons of others that could be sited to show the stupidity of some laws.
  • Interesting how everyone is dissing Germany about this but fail to understand that the exact same thing is happening in most countries in the world when it comes to TV. All this really is, is that they are trying to extend existing laws to also cover the Internet, which totally makes sense if you already have laws like that in place! I mean, why would porn on TV at 6 in the evening (primetime for kids watching) be forbidden but porn on the Internet at the same time be ok? That's like having laws against speeding with cars but at the same time allowing speeding with motorcycles.

    So the question is really about censoring as a whole. Should you forbid porn on TV (or violence or whatever else that is censored) or should you be allowed to air it at any time you want? When the question is asked like this, I'm pretty sure a lot more people don't find it as obviously wrong anymore. I imagine the majority of all parents want restrictions on airing time of porn on TV.

    Then there's the whole issue about how you would do something like this from a technical perspective (you can't block kids from playing porn DVD's either, can you?) which is totally ridiculous.. But I guess if China and Singapore can pull it off technically then it should also be quite possible for Germany.

    Personally I'm against all kind of censoring on media *where it's your choice* to watch something. Nobody is forcing you to go to www.persiankitty.com. Nobody is forcing you to turn on the Playboy channel. Nobody is forcing you to buy the magazine or the porn DVD.
    • Um, let's think for a moment about why the Internet is different from TV:

      TV is a broadcast medium, meaning that if you have a receiver, it comes into your home whether you want it to or not. The Internet (Web, more precisely) is a client-server mechanism where you have to request content.

      TV is basically local (though there's some spillage across a country's borders, of course), so it's reasonable to expect local laws to apply. The Internet is fundamentally international.

      Think about it: Should a guy browsing a German Web site from Japan be blocked because it's not after 11pm? Is that client time or server time? What about the reverse, a German guy browsing a Japanese Web site? This whole idea is not internally consistent.

      • "Think about it: Should a guy browsing a German Web site from Japan be blocked because it's not after 11pm? Is that client time or server time? What about the reverse, a German guy browsing a Japanese Web site? This whole idea is not internally consistent"

        Just beacause it's hard doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Note that I'm not for blocking. I'm just saying that just because something (say, fighting drugs) is hard doesn't mean you should just let it happen.

        Obviously, it would be German time and client time. And for the case of the German guy browsing a Japanese web site, it would be no different than a German guy ordering drugs from Japan over the phone. Yes, it's very very tricky and technically just about impossible to control, but you can always make the law and then just leave it up to the companies with the servers to come up with a way to implement it so that they are within the law. You could have pages that ask what country you come from, just like there are these "You have to be above 18 to enter." type disclaimers. Of course you can get around it. You can also speed with your car and get away with it but that's not an excuse not to make a law like that.
    • Actually, the US supreme court has made an official stand on this. The internet is *not* like TV, it is like the press. Just as the press can publish anything it wants (even libel gets through these days, read a copy of Enquirer some time) the people on the 'net can publish anything they want. Of course, reasonable steps can be taken to allow parents to control what their children see (like not allowing Toy Stores to stock porno mags) but there is not a whole lot the government can do even in that direction.
  • Just goto t-online.de (the main german ISP) and look at all the porn ads on the side.

    Germans are in love with porn... just goto any local magazine shop, or just watch the tv here. Porn is everyware.

    There is also a reson for this, Germans population grouth is the only that is in the negative. More Germans die than are born. And Germans normany get maried around 30-40 years old. The goverment promotes you to have kids (kindergeld?) They pay the mother a large sum for every child they have.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @07:54AM (#2678168) Journal
    The United Nations Human Freedom Index (0 = least freedom, 40 = most freedom):

    Sweden 38
    Denmark 38
    Netherlands 37
    Austria 36
    Finland 36
    France 35
    Germany 35
    Canada 34
    Switzerland 34
    Australia 33
    United States 33
    Japan 32
    United Kingdom 32

    Ooops.. looks like Sweden is the best country on earth.. Um the UK.. er.. must have been pulled down because of err Wales.. yeah, if it was just England then we would be right up there. HA HA HA HA the US is crappier than Canada and Germany :)

    Source: http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/8Comparison.htm#Back 87 (does anyone know where the newer index is?)
    • Any index that tries to reduce a multidimensional variable to a single number is going to reflect the biases of the observer more than the "truth."

      What are some of the variables? How about state religion? On the extremes you have a country such as Saudi Arabia (where non-Islamic services are illegal) and the free-for-all of the US. On this axis, the UK and Germany are far from free (the UK has an official state religion with the monarch as secular head, but has dropped the civil service requirements; Germany (as I understand it) collects taxes for contribution to the church unless you explicitly document that you're a non-Christian) even if they current policies are far freer than at any other point in their respective histories.

      What about freedom of speech? The US is pretty free, DMCA and similar crap notwithstanding. The UK is scary because of its libel laws.

      What about freedom to peacefully possess firearms? (Nobody defends the right of violent criminals to be armed.) And don't forget that gun rights usually mirror all other questions around self-defense, e.g., whether you have an obligation to retreat.

      For that matter, what about the right to march down the street in a Nazi uniform shouting "Seig Heil!"? Isn't neo-Nazism a crime in Germany? It's not exactly popular here either, but the state will issue parade permits and even provide police protection to the dregs of the gene pool.

      I'm not saying that the US is perfect, far from it, but it's silly to reduce these complex issues to a single dimension.
  • Germany != China (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadDoggie (145310) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @08:11AM (#2678193) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that when Orrin Hatch or some other idiot Congressman wants to "Make The Internet Safe For Children (TM)", the story reads "Hatch's Latest Numbnuts Idea: Nekkid Chickflesh 10pm-5am Only", but when an equally synaptically-challenged German politician says something equally stupid and unworkable, the headline is "Germany Wants to Control Net"? The US does NOT have a monopoly on idiots in government.

    You also don't seem to realise that when they're talking about pr0n in Germany, they mean hardcore, as in "penetration". There's nekkid tits on all kinds of magazines, on TV ads, on billboards.

    Of course the idea is unworkable, as are most politicians' ideas whenever they wat to "protect" people from themselves. This too shall pass. Move along. Nothing to see here.

    woof.

    Have you ever noticed that when someone wants a restrictive law, it's always a restriction on someone else? The inevitable excuse is always that someone *else* is being "protected". You and I are smart enough and capable enough to take care of ourselvesand our families, but those other people need protection from themselves.

  • I have worked at a large German financial institution [exchange.de] and they have one of the web filters who I won't even to promote by naming it. Amongst other things it blocks the fish [altavista.com] because it can be used as a proxy. It is a pity because I sometimes need to translate info about the Russian markets into english.

    It is also pointless because the meta keyword checking doesn't recognise Russian. If I do a search on say, Google for "devochki", the latinised version of the Russian word for Girls, I can find some very interesting and explicit, which pass effortlessly through the filter.

    Another well-known US financial institution [gs.com] filter out yahoo and google amongst others to get around caching. I don't know what their employees do for web searches.

    The Pr0n business is a big one in Germany, please remember that some of these companies [beate-uhse.de] are listed at the exchange and have an investor relations page. Make a wrong turn near a major railway station and it is hard to avoid red-light areas.

    It has already been mentioned in another article about how useless national firewalls are and how easy it is to circumvent, particularly when they only run part-time as is proposed here.

    Also, has enyone told these idiots about http tunneling?

    Note that telephone sex lines are available 24Hrs the companies that run them split their take with the provider, usually Deutsche Telekom. Maybe those companies have been taking too much of a hit in their profits from unlimited access via the Internet? Ask not where the campaign contributions have come from?


  • "Germany thinks it can control the Internet, so now it's considering requiring that porn sites restrict their hours to 11pm to 6am"

    I don't have problem with something that is already in effect and hasn't affected anyone. You see, due to the cyclic nature of our planet and the global nature of the Internet, it is always between the hours of 11pm and 6am on the net!!!

    If stupidity were Gold, the whole of humanity would be quite rich ... er ah .. wait ... the value of Gold would drop quite a bit there, eh ... OK ... if stupidity were Gold all of humanity would have a plethora of soft shiny metallic paper-weights 8^}
  • So I'm playing devil's advocate here, and thinking of a way to get this to work. Here's my thought:

    Germany tells Microsoft they are going to unleash a BIG NASTY lawsuit unless MS makes a couple of changes in their browser, since browsers are country-dependant to some extent anyway, this isn't all that hard. MS adds code into the German version of IE that calls out to an external time server to grab the correct time. If it's not 11-6 wherever the person is they cannot view the X-rated sites. Repeat process for Netscape and Opera and you have 90-something percent of the browsers out there.

    But how to determine an X-rated site? Two options, one have the browser read the RSCA(?) rathing information for the site, if it's not there assume it's X-rated; two, have a state run server that the browsers talk to and a bunch of government workers finding the porn sites to enter in the server (I'm sure there's some religious zealots who would be GLAD to help). The first is userful if you know the web sites will conform, which, if more countries jump on the band wagon, they will for fear of losing customers. The second is a "start-up" plan until the idea gains traction.

    Will this stop all the porn? No. Many people will stick to a browser version that doesn't have the "locks" (but they'll be left out of new browser features) or change to a less-known browser, but that's doesn't matter, if the German gov't has the major players under it's belt it can claim a success.

    Seriously... if they hand some smart planners, they could pull it off...
    • ...calls out to an external time server to grab the correct time. If it's not 11-6 wherever the person is they cannot view the X-rated sites.

      And how do you know what the local time is? An external time server will tell you what UTC (Universal Coordinated Time, basically Greenwich Mean Time) is, but it can't tell where you physically *are*, so it can't know the offset to compute your local time. Oh, it's not past 11pm? I'll just temporarily reset the time zone on my computer so it says I'm in Japan.

  • A proper translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by TACD (514008) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @08:47AM (#2678229) Homepage
    Eeesh... you still use BabelFish? World Lingo [worldlingo.com] has always been a better machine-translator:

    Agreement with protection of children and young people in the Internet

    Federation and countries agreed after one year's negotiation on principles for the protection of children and young people in the InterNet. The measures to temporal limitations for youth-endangering contents encounter criticism. On the corner points the bosses of the state and Senatskanzleien of the countries and the boss of the Office of the Federal Chancellor, franc walter stone Meier agreed, on Thursday in Berlin. The paper is present the Financial Times Germany. Basically the countries are to be responsible for the protection of children and young people in the media. The federation reserves itself rights of codetermination. The introduction of a " positive Ratings for harmless supplies " is suggested, which rejects the economy as " vorzensur ". The paper is to become basis for a youth medium protectorate contract (JMStV). On portals such as T-Online on Erotik pages without sufficient acces protection one link, says peace man Schindler of the Mainzer authority protection of children and young people.net. It expects now a stronger printing on the contents contents of to banish references to Sex supplies in the virtual Hinterzimmer.

    Not youth-free contents only in certain times

    According to the paper youth-free contents might not be made common " or accessible " only between 23 o'clock and 6 o'clock, if no " pre and free check techniques " are installed. Such demands were not practicably called of experts so far. " we can check not all contents in the network ", said Arthur Waldenberger, Vorstand of the freiwilligen self-check Multimedia (FSM). That is in view of billions on the part of " imbecility ". The fact that the self-check is to be subject to a " sovereign certifying " by a " commission for the youth medium protection " is not acceptable " ".

    Experts reject sections

    Also InterNet experts of the Bundestag factions reject sections of the arrangement. " the youth medium protection is already monastery suited compared with other countries almost in Germany ", says the medium-political speaker of the FDP, Hans Joachim petrol. It is too simply, itself after land woman manners " bigott over the dirt " consumed by million Germans too ereifern. Erotik providers are the only on-line industry, which writes black numbers. Also the SPD wants to put " dinosaur discussions forward over transmitting time delimitations and license obligations " for the InterNet a latch plate, said Joerg Tauss, representative for new media of the SPD. The corner points are not consentable.

  • history repeats ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    uh oh ... it happened again , a bunch of mentally deficient ape-descendants trying to decrypt german
    law proposals
    with help of the almighty fish...
    i think after 4 trys you should have learned that babel sucks hard at translating whole articles (or is it just you that get things always wrong?).
    here is what you fin in the article:
    1. it is an extension of youth protecting laws
    2. this "from 11pm to 6am" stuff is just mentioned EXTREMLY shortly, its not a main point in the topic
    3. the law would only affect ISPs
    4. most stuff is being abolished anyways

    --> no need to exaggerate

    man... slashdot was once really mindfull and smart but it became another flame wars and misinformation site.
    three points on my shitlist.
  • Get a grip... (Score:5, Informative)

    by dillon_rinker (17944) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @11:11AM (#2678413) Homepage
    I am not a fan of porn &lt/understatement&gt), but folks, this is Germany. Ever been there? i have. I visited several small towns and one moderately large city. Every bookstore and newstand had a large selection of pornographic magazines. In the small town I stayed in, I noted one that featured people in sexual situations in the magazine rack at a toy and school supply store. Think about it - hardcore porn in a store for children in a small town. The newspaper featured frontal nudity most days - sometimes relevant to a story, sometimes not. MTV videos contained nudity.

    In short, I think the German politicians (or whoever) that are proposing this can't be taken seriously. I think it would be roughly analagous to US senators declaring that images of people in swimsuits should be outlawed. No one would take them seriously, in the sense that no one would think that it could actually happen. It would be a rhetorical ploy with some other political goal in mind.

    P.S. This is why you should travel..so you can spout inane drivel on slashdot and sound like you know what you're talking about :)
  • In Germany, movies with age restrictions may be shown on TV only on certain times. This means that, while nudity is genenrally acceptable, soft porn is not broadcast on the afternoon. Gory violence isn't either (unless it's a comic strip, but that's a different issue altogether).

    So what happened here was that some clueless bureaucrates/politicians made the suggestion that this scheme should be applied to internet content as well.

    If you read the acticle, you'll find that this suggestion is called everything from silly to unpractical to ridiculous from pretty much everyone else: (more clued) members of the government, the opposition, the businesses, etc.

    The short of it is: some people had a stupid idea, it's not gonna happen, have your good laught at it and move on with life.
  • by theKiyote (542132)
    If you think about it, time wouldnt really matter. A porn company from germany would be making the service available for people all around the world, the Internet isn't just located in Germany, and at one point or another it will BE 11:00pm - 6:00am somewhere in the world. It would be kind of narrow minded to think that the only people who look at German porn live in Germany. --theKiyote
  • I am still debating if this would have been good will I was in college. Would I have gotten more studying done and gotten better grades or would I have stayed up all night and skipped all my classes during the day.

    Let the debate rage.

    For me I was able to balance the two during the day just fine. Of course when I was in college porn was still genereally free.
  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Sunday December 09, 2001 @12:54PM (#2678618)
    If I don't have 24x7 access to top quality German porn, then the terrorists have won!
  • But people don't mind TV shows on cable, or movies, or web sites, which have some sort of violent content? (Or at least, they don't seem to mind it as much.) Any time during the day, I can turn on the TV and see a man get shot. I can go on the Internet to a mainstream site (like download.com, for example) and download a violent video game. But god forbid my kids get access to porn.

    Uh, am I on the only person on the face of the Earth who would rather get laid than shot?
    • It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why violience is more socially acceptable than porn (the world over, but especially in the puritanical US).

      BOTH serve to ensure our survival: Violence "prepares" our warriors, and Sex propogates the genes of the warriors who survived. BOTH are pleasurable, but the former in groups, and the latter privately (for reasons of feared inadequacy and religious indoctrination).

      Anyway, the "scientific" reason why porn takes a backseat to violence is because of "Bigger Dick Theory (BDT)." It states that porn embarrasses chicks and pencil dicks, but that violience (and cars!) increases dick length (gun!). :-)

    • According to an issue of "Ask Marilyn" that I really wish I had kept, violence is acceptable because "everyone knows it was faked," while sex is not because it's real.

      I initially thought she was refering to penetration, which is a bit hard to fake in quality porn, then I remembered that this was a Sunday supplement and she was probably refering to nudity in a mass market movie.

      Either way, it begs the question of why anyone would try to equate the reality of violence with sex. Call me crazy, but I actively seek to get laid (the "most extreme" sexual act) most days, but I can't think of the last time I tried to get punched (one of the "least extreme" violent acts). It really makes me wonder about her... yet that's a common perception out in Middle America.
      • According to an issue of "Ask Marilyn" that I really wish I had kept, violence is acceptable because "everyone knows it was faked," while sex is not because it's real.

        This is nonsense, of course, because the violence on the popular show "Cops" is not faked, and I have seen no evidence that people object to this show. (I object to it, because it presents violations of civil liberties as just fine, but most people don't see that.) Nor, for that matter, is the violence in boxing matches faked, and the violence in "tough guy" competitions isn't even stylized or controlled. Some people object to boxing, but not many.

        But then again, this is the same woman who said that the reason you can't see the wind is that you couldn't see air because air molecules were too small to see, so what do you expect?

        (FTR, the reason you can't see wind most of the time is that most of the time the air is visually homogeneous. When it isn't, such as with layers of heat over Florida blacktop during summer, let alone when there's actual condensation, you can see wind just fine.)

    • It's sad how blase we are about our kids watching people get shot, hacked up, beaten & abused on various TV programs, yet let two naked people make love on a television and OH MY GOD WHAT WILL THE CHILDREN THINK!

      It's just like everyone shitting themselves over a handful of anthrax deaths when thousands die in their cars on the way to work each morning. Like much else a matter of misplaced priorities and media-hyped threats to our society.

  • Misunderstanding (Score:3, Informative)

    by bow (300451) <bow.informatik@uni-kiel@de> on Sunday December 09, 2001 @01:07PM (#2678650) Journal
    There seems to be some kind of misunderstanding here.

    The article mentioned talks about a proposal to require large german portals (like t-online [t-online.de] or freenet [freenet.de]) to only link to pr0n sites during the hours specified.
    It is not about requiring those sites to only open during these hours.

    German politicians (at least most of them) understand quite well that the internet is a international medium that can not be controlled by a single country.


    Do not push the red button !

    • I know you're probably not a native English speaker, but I had to laugh at your phrasing. "Proposal to require portals to only link to pr0n sites during the hours specified" means the opposite of what you intended.

      "Only" modifies what follows it. So "only link" implies that portals can do something besides providing hyperlinks, e.g., providing the pr0n directly on their pages. Only now they have clean up the pages from 11-6, replacing the images with hyperlinks to the images!

      If we move the "only" to the first place it really makes sense, "require portals to link to only pr0n sites during the hours specified," the results are even more bizarre. "It is 11pm, now we will look at pr0n!"

      Ditto "... link to pr0n-only sites...."

      What you undoubtably meant was "require portals to link to pr0n sites only during the hours specified."

      I'm not trying to be the grammar police, but laws are one place where everyone really does need to be careful. As these examples show, misplacing a single word (especially "only") can easily reverse the meaning of the sentence! Unfortunately, this is something many legislators overlook... it's almost worth letting them pass the bill (if they made such a mistake) just to see their face when you point out that it is now compulsory to view pr0n in the evening.
  • Information theory proves that two sides that can transmit data to each other can transmit any information they want with any tunneling they want.

    As for shutting down servers... A gnutella-type network may replace the www for typical restricted things. Outlawing the use of software is quite a difficult problem, and 'solutions' will always be found.

    These two things above combined, mean that the Internet may never lose its information freedom, no matter how powerful or how badly some government wants.

    Information theory is on our side, stop worrying so much :)
  • Let's see... Germany is time zone +1, and CA is zone -8... So, if I run my pr0n server from 11PM to 6AM PST, that'll give me 8AM to 3PM German Time.

    Perfect for catching those Germans who surf for pr0n at work!
  • Tivo's here. I don't know or care when a TV program is on. And if that applies to me, it also applies to kids too. They're growing up with all this tech, and they know how to take advantage of it.

    Internet is no different. cron your wget.

    Instead of extending their TV rules to the Internet, they need to realize the futility of the original rules. Time-of-day isn't useful for determining when something should be available.

  • Yeah, I'm sure this'll accomplish a lot. Assuming that, unlike when I was their age, kids these days prefer to look at porn while their parents are still awake.
  • And I'm dead serious about this one. A potential reason they may want this is to increase productivity of people at work. Don't laugh, I'm not joking. Now, as to the implementation or whether it should be implemented... that's a different story.

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