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German Parliament Enacts Internet Censorship Law 273

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

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  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Friday June 19, 2009 @01:52AM (#28385813)

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

    #####
    #

    Eew... Think of the children!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by agw (6387)

      Some German magazine was quicker. Latest cover:

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

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

      ###
      #

      Tetris pieces (Tetrinos?) have only 4 blocks.

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ihlosi (895663)

        Tetris pieces (Tetrinos?) have only 4 blocks.

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

    • Extend it to notepad and Microsoft Word!

      (_(_)#####D~ and illegal.
  • Living in Australia I have the joy of having games censored for the localised version. Violent movies are still widely available in comparison, why is it that the games are always targeted and not the movies. There has been plenty of films i've watched over the years I wouldn't suggest to under 18's but for them it is suprisingly easy to hire said movies from the local video shop.
    • by headLITE (171240)

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

  • by HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) on Friday June 19, 2009 @01:56AM (#28385845)
    "Once the legislation passes, police officials will have to draw up a list of web sites that feature child pornography and send the list to all telecommunications companies." Might as well just make the list public knowledge. Anyone with the inclination to view the material will be able to find it easier with any list made.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by noidentity (188756)
      Except that the list will contain websites that contain anything objectionable to those making the list.
    • by gweihir (88907) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:49AM (#28386157)

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

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

      • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:57AM (#28386211)

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

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:55AM (#28386195)

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • by Tom (822) on Friday June 19, 2009 @05:09AM (#28386921) Homepage Journal

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

        No, she doesn't. If anything outside of scientific experiments was ever strongly proven, then the fact that Ursula von der Leyen has no clue whatsoever about this topic she's been pushing.

        She's stupid and/or mallicious, and very likely both. She should be forced to resign, and stripped of her pension.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Elrac (314784)

          I agree completely with Tom. von der Leyen is an idiot who has been hitched to the cart of Big Music. She's also known for her pro-Christian nutjob tendencies.

          Nobody would mind if she ended up being sacrificed. The music industry, who had been among the first to congratulate her on this move, are giddy with glee about the fact that the kiddie porn wedge has deflated the formerly simple argument about Internet surveillance and blocking being too expensive. Now that the apparatus is in place, it's available t

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Please don't let the response be "nobody cares about tru

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

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

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

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

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

    • by gweihir (88907)

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

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

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

      Maybe because the last thing they want is the voter to

      • by Thanshin (1188877)

        That was indeed my thought.

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

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

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Opportunist (166417)

          I'm fairly sure there is. But do you think he survives long in that shark pool? More over, do you think he gets elected (yes, that essentially leads to 'people are stupid')?

          Also, rest assured that even the most honest politician will be caught in that "you lied" trap. Even the most honest man "lies", at least from an objective point of view, if he has incomplete information. Ask a person from times medieval whether the Earth is the center of the universe and he will, objectively, lie to you. If you held ele

          • by Thanshin (1188877)

            If you held elections in 2006, even a honest politician would probably have promised you wealth and growth because he didn't forsee the economy crisis.

            Then politics should be more scientific. To be able to only say what is known.

            Using your 2006 elections example, the honest politician could promise wealth based on a number of believed data (and make it public or encrypt and release) and then, when asked about the crisis, reply with the data that was believed but false and actually do something about why it was false, who is really responsible, etc.

            But that would probably make a politician only voted by geeks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pinky99 (741036)
      because the first politician to state that is blamed as being PRO-child-porn, "most likely he is also having that at home"!
  • by adavies42 (746183)
    If only Germany had protected its citizens from violent video games in the 1930's, imagine how many lives would have been saved!
    • by node 3 (115640) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:38AM (#28386091)

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

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

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

      • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Friday June 19, 2009 @04:46AM (#28386795) Journal
        I don't wether to agree or disagree with your point. Rather I'll try to complement it.
        "violent fantasies of power and grandeur" is, indeed, a natural wish that probably lurks into our reptilian brain. It is a natural inclination of humans and the cause of many evils. I can understand that the government tries to tune it down, but unless we do brain surgery on every newborn, it will fail.

        It can, however, provide ways to fullfill "violent fantasies of power and grandeur" that harms no one, that doesn't require to invent ennemies in the population or to run in the streets with a crowbar. Games provide such a way. In a game I can kill hundreds of ennemies per second, I can manage a kingdom, I can wage a war, I can do kung fu, without hurting anyone. The government does not want less violent games, it wants more.

        But some unfortunate people have a hard time discerning the border between reality and fiction. More frequently, some people will think that the self-image of power and grandeur that they build in games can be transposed in reality, leading to various violent behavior. What the government wants, in complement with violent games, is a mandatory psychology class for all students that explains the basics of human behavior. How ego works, the various bias we have when perceiving others and ourselves, the values we transpose from fantasies to the real world, and yes, what we tend to crave for: "power and grandeur" and how almost every media play on that desire to addict us.
      • by Tom (822)

        Quite frankly, this is dishonest to the extreme.

        If people were really, honestly interested in fighting fanatic ideologies, they'd start with, you know, the fanatic ideologies. Start with religion. Heck, if you're a wussie, start with cults and leave the mainstream religions alone for the moment. There are several cults still in existence, unchallenged, who have single-handedly and directly killed more people than you can attribute to "killer games" even if you stick every school shooting on them that has a

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by adavies42 (746183)
        two-fold, really: germany gets absolutely no benefit of the doubt on censorship, and there are much more important things to worry about than video games.
    • by Swanktastic (109747) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:47AM (#28386541)

      Did you know that there's a direct correlation between the decline of Spirograph and the rise in gang activity?

      Think about it.

  • by freedom_india (780002) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:09AM (#28385901) Homepage Journal

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fex303 (557896)

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

      Because those are the only two possible options...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

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

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SecondaryOak (1342441)
          I don't know any place in which the freedom of expression is absolute. There are always restrictions - to prevent libel, because of national security, to avoid incitement to violence, etc. Yet I'd still say freedom of expression exists with those limitations.
    • The line between liberty and Hitler is a thin one, located in a small strip between the nose and the upper lip.
    • by node 3 (115640) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:44AM (#28386123)

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

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by freedom_india (780002)

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

        • by node 3 (115640)

          How do you ban video games on certain criteria?

          Easy, we do it right now in the US, except instead of banning them, we rate them and do ban sales to minors of some games. The only difference is the scope of the ban, which is a clerical issue.

          What prevents you from banning books, newspapers and and meetings based on same criteria?

          By saying it only applies to games.

          If video games are banned because of violence in them, then books also need to be banned. So do newspapers. So do meetings which discuss such newspapers

          That is not an inherent requirement. There's no fundamental reason you can't ban games, but allow books, or vice versa.

          Where do start and where do we end?

          Right now, in the US, certain media are banned. Somehow we are able to stop the ban-wagon at some point. There's no reason the Germans can't do the same.

          Because while Germans as individuals are the best of the human race, as a group they are capable of the worst behavior. And no, i didn't say this.

          That can be

      • by silanea (1241518)

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

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

        But in this case I am not too worried. The censorship law will be struck down by our Bundesverfassungsgericht (equivalent to US Supreme Court) for unconstitutionality on various count

        • by Ihlosi (895663)
          The censorship law will be struck down by our Bundesverfassungsgericht (equivalent to US Supreme Court) for unconstitutionality on various counts.

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

          • An excellent suggestion.
            Best is if a sponsor proposes a law that is struck down by the courts, he/she must subject herself to waterboarding for 3 days for first offense, 6 days for 2md offense and 12 days for every subsequent offense.
            This enables the lawmakers to be more careful and also provides valuable employment to the ex-waterboarders in Gitmo.

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

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

      • by Tom (822) on Friday June 19, 2009 @05:06AM (#28386913) Homepage Journal

        You've not read your history books, it seems.

        Hitler's first steps in power were not to start war. It took him six years to attack Poland, even though he had always planned to do that.

        What he did during those six years was consolidate his power by silencing dissenting voices. Censorship was one of the methods. Control of the media was another one.

        Our german parliament has revived both of these yesterday.

        Which means that no, we're not yet in a totalitarian state, but yes, the groundworks are being laid (again).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
        They don't need to kill you for real anymore. They can just make you unemployable by having you breach some obscure child protection law tacked on to this internet filtering legislation.

        Virtual death is now more serious, as you have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

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

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

  • by Phurge (1112105) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:22AM (#28385975)
    "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation"

    I'll leave you to guess who I'm quoting.
    • by node 3 (115640)

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

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

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

    • I eman, let us have a look at COPA and other similar dumb stuff, or gay mariage law. it is all about politic making something useless but targeted at their audience to look as if they did something useful. Since most people don't look past the face value... But here I think this is mostly because people did not even knew about that law. I talked about my colleagues on this in germany. None KNEW about that law. But even when I talked about it to them, they could not care less. Why ? They never use child porn
    • by xlotlu (1395639) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:11AM (#28386303)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Honestly (Score:3, Funny)

    by acehole (174372) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:30AM (#28386025) Homepage

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

    • Re:Honestly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gweihir (88907) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:46AM (#28386133)

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

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

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

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

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

      • Re:Honestly (Score:5, Informative)

        by Tom (822) on Friday June 19, 2009 @04:58AM (#28386871) Homepage Journal

        The way the government (left-right coalition) just ignored all expert testimony and all citicism could well loose them the younger generations completely.

        It already did. So, by politician logic, they stopped caring about us at all.

        The SPD (one of the two major parties) recently formed a technical consulting committee which helped the party leaders understand Internet and other modern technologies, and helped them campaign in these new mediums, etc.

        Most of the committee walked out on them in disgust after yesterday's vote.

      • by jeti (105266)

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

        You're probably thinking about the decision the Landesgericht Hamburg published on 11/12/2008 (http://www.telemedicus.info/article/1304-LG-Hamburg-bestaetigt-Wirkungslosigkeit-von-DNS-Sperren.html). The owners of a video rental service sued an ISP over not blocking access web sites providing unauthorized video downloads. This decision is highly problematic because it claims that if an effective way to block websites existed, the ISP would have to block the pages. You should also be aware that the new law is

    • Re:Honestly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:43AM (#28386521)

      This takes a while to explain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by Tom (822) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:31AM (#28386029) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by drDugan (219551) on Friday June 19, 2009 @02:33AM (#28386051) Homepage

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by polle404 (727386)

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

  • 3 days? One week?

    And it's only DNS based AFAIK.

    • by Tom (822)

      Yes, it is.

      We need instructions on using OpenDNS posted to the daily evening news. If someone can accomplish that, in whatever way, he'll be my personal hero.

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

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

  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:13AM (#28386319)

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

  • by Xelios (822510) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:15AM (#28386329)
    "With 389 yes, 128 no and 18 withheld votes the government passed the so called "Zensursula" bill today with 535 politicians voting in total. Now the plans to repeal on grounds of unconstitutionality begin.

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

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

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

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

    I'd do the rest but my translation skills aren't the best and it's already time for me to be getting to class. It's a great article though.
    • Our group has grown incredibly, so why doesn't anyone seem to understand us?

      They do understand you. They just choose to ignore you.

      Let's be honest here: Did you vote CDU/CSU before? Or SPD? Unlikely. Most tech savvy people I know don't really go for the mass parties. Most are fairly liberal, maybe with a tough of a social angle on the side, but few are hard core conservative or socialist. Moreover, they have a very different "importance scale" than the average voter. If they talk about the importance of sec

  • by asifyoucare (302582) on Friday June 19, 2009 @03:20AM (#28386371)

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

    Yeah, makes sense.

    • Sure makes sense! If I can run around with an M16 at home without first going through months of grunt training to polish the ego of a dufus, why should I join the military? And there you don't even get to use that rifle sensibly! I, on the other hand, shot more people than any soldier at any time ever!

      Sure, I also died a lot more often... Try to beat that, army!

      Now, if people can't do that at home anymore, they may have to bite the bullet (no pun intended) and sign up.

  • hahaha (Score:2, Interesting)

    by noric (1203882)
    I was trying to think of an analogy for dns-based censorship that would resonate with politicians. Got it =D

    It's like paying millions of dollars to keep prostitutes out of the phone book.
  • As an organisation convicted of serial child abuse affecting thousands of children over decades by a government largely sympathetic to it, the Roman Catholic Church will obviously be a large feature on any blacklist intending to protect children.

    source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8060442.stm [bbc.co.uk] amongst others.

    But, clearly, it won't. Until it does, there is nothing in any of these laws that is protecting children and any proponents of them are clearly immorally using 'think of the children' as a cover.

  • Actually the president has to sign it before it becomes official (which he refused to do in a prior case). Plus the german Supreme Court is already on it too. They sacked quite a few earlier atempts of this government to build a police state (of course to protect us from terrorism and whatnot). It's kind of sad to see these laws stopped only at the last chance.

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