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Censorship The Internet

German Wikileaks Domain Suspended Without Warning 215

mb writes to mention that Germany has gone one step further in impeding access to Wikileaks. Germany's registration authority, DENIC, recently suspended without notice. "The action comes two weeks after the house of the German WikiLeaks domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by German authorities. Police documentation shows that the March 24, 2009 raid was triggered by WikiLeaks' publication of Australia's proposed secret internet censorship list. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) told Australian journalists that they did not request the intervention of the German government."
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German Wikileaks Domain Suspended Without Warning

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  • And.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:53PM (#27536821)

    .... this is why a decentralized Internet with no intelligence on the switches is important. Because of that, Wikileaks was able to have multiple hosts in multiple countries that are affected by very different sets of laws and busybodies. Even though two major players got together to knock Wikileaks off the Internet, it still is humming along quite nicely.

    Folks, fear the day that somebody requests control over who gets to have access to the Internet (Obama, I'm looking at you) and who gets routed where. Yes, QoS is technically going in that direction, but it is still difficult to abuse that for the purpose of knocking random offenders of the Internet. If that somebody happens to be The Government, you can be sure that a) all other governments will want the same control, and b) diplomacy and general government douchbaggery will only leave the blandest, least offensive and best lobbied/bribed sites up and running. Everything else will have moved underground, where again, you'll have to know the right people to get access to the good stuff.

  • by amn108 ( 1231606 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @05:55PM (#27536831)

    Lobbying - the 'unofficial' 'democracy'. Shaping societies since stone ages.

  • by lixee ( 863589 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:04PM (#27536901)
    Just because they didn't succeed, doesn't mean they didn't try.
  • by geekymachoman ( 1261484 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:10PM (#27536947)

    If you have some stuff on your site, that I don't want people to see, or I plan to do something, that you will somehow find out and post it on your site, and then I shut your domain name down - Censorship.
    At least a form of it.

    Or am I missing something here ?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:20PM (#27537039)

    If you do something we don't like, we come to your home and search every last corner of it. We'll take your domain and publicly link you to child pornography.

  • Yeah, right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:22PM (#27537059)

    I'd have a lot more sympathy for Wikileaks if they hadn't hosted a whole load of stuff that really should have remained secret and for good reason.

    If what they posted was embarrassing, censoring it would be one thing.

    When what they post undermines national security or criminal investigations or is otherwise normally considered privileged information for good reasons, and furthermore they go out of their way to keep contributors (who may well have obtained the information illegally) anonymous, and on top of that you have connections to organisations like TPB that are pretty blatantly trying to get away with breaking the law, then it's no surprise that the authorities take steps to close them down. Frankly, I'm not so sure that is a bad thing. A responsible free press is one thing, but Wikileaks is something else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:24PM (#27537073)

    You are against a site that provides raw information, because who knows, your name might end up in there without your vetting it first.

    There, I got to the point for you.

  • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:25PM (#27537081)

    You and I speaking about the same group chief?

    The group that published, among other things, leaked ACTA documents?

    Cause folk who are willing to play host to that sort of item are doing a far far greater service to us than a hundred Pirate Bays.

  • by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:26PM (#27537089)

    Compare them to a respectable site like the smoking gun which actually fact checks their material - and as a result has never been successfully sued.

    Wikileaks does not get in trouble for things which aren't true (or not solely due to untruths). It's the true things that people make the most fuss about. For example, the leaked Scientology OT documents were verified as genuine by the legal threats made by the COS, which were based on IP law, not defamation.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @06:30PM (#27537117)

    Transparency is transparency. List what items have they hosted that you felt shouldn't have been up? I can almost guareentee you that someone out there can give you a reason why they should have been.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @07:21PM (#27537505)

    OK, here's an ironic one: they posted a list of members of the British National Party.

    Now, I don't agree with the BNP's politics, and therefore I don't vote for them, but I also don't support rules that are prejudiced against people purely on account of their membership of a certain political party. Such rules are, IMHO, far more dangerous to the democratic process than anything they are likely to prevent.

    Wikileaks, supposedly proud of the way it helps the underdog to fight oppressive governments and the laws they use to silence dissent, outed an entire group of people, and cost several of them their jobs as a result.

    If that's not a clear enough case, then let me provide a hypothetical example to go with it. Let's suppose that you, personally, have been wrongfully accused of committing a heinous crime. Your country, having regard for due process, requires you to attend a court case to determine your innocence or guilt.

    Let us suppose that, mindful of the rule that one is innocent until proven guilty, the judge orders that your identity not be disclosed by the media until the case has concluded. However, anyone in open court can clearly see that you are there, and perhaps one of those people, knowing how heinous the crime you (might have) committed is, decides to post the case details, including your identity, on Wikileaks.

    The following day, you get home from court to find an angry mob waiting outside your home, which has been extensively vandalised because obviously if you're in court then you did something wrong and you deserved it. Think this couldn't happen to you? Try looking up what happened to the paediatrician who looked a bit like a low-res photo of a suspected paedophile that was published in a British newspaper.

    Sometimes, there are good reasons to keep things secret, and revealing those things publicly does real damage and has no redeeming value whatsoever. Were this not the case, there would be no need for classifications for official secrets, the law wouldn't allow confidentiality clauses in commercial agreements, people wouldn't care about privacy, no-one would have invented data protection laws... Any organisation that makes no attempt to distinguish legitimate cases where secrecy should be respected and repeats any information given to it no matter the implications is a danger to society, and I have no qualms whatsoever about squishing them with any laws and/or firearms that come to hand. That is, after all, no worse than the fate that such an organisation will inevitably inflict on someone innocent, sooner or later.

  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:06PM (#27537923)

    It's scary how many posters here apparently can't tell the difference between (a) censoring a list of links, mainly to child porn, that is, rightly or wrongly, illegal to redistribute in the country concerned; and (b) killing or incarcerating millions based only on racial/religious prejudice.

    The Nazis were putting people in prison for political reasons long before they created death camps. There is some historical relevance here, but unfortunately it has grown into a cliche and thus become mundane. In the 1930s people didn't care that it was Jews and homosexuals, and today people don't care that it is pedophiles. We all need something to hate.

    And really, it's all bullshit, FUD, lies and propaganda. The "child porn" on these lists isn't that of children being kidnapped and forced to be sex slaves, it is modeling sites and political sites like Wikileaks. The truth shall set you free. Censorship will always subvert the truth.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:16PM (#27537979) Homepage

    In order for anything to appear on Wikileaks its secrecy must already have been compromised. Wikileaks merely makes this fact public. Thus when one of the very few things that should legitimately be kept secret appears there it is evidence that someone is incompetent; not that Wikileaks is irresponsible.

  • by shadowbearer ( 554144 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:20PM (#27538001) Homepage Journal

    Blocking internet links is not going to solve the child pornography problem. Hunting down and imprisoning the people who make child porn, while a lot more difficult thing to do, and certainly a lot more expensive, is by far the better way to go about it and might actually produce real results.

      But this isn't about child pornography. It's about censoring a website which is dedicated to ensuring transparency in government - and yes, that is exactly the sort of thing that leads to the sort of atrocities that you mention. If you had been paying attention to the controversy over the Australian censorship list, you might have understood that and not posted something as ignorant as what you did.

      It amazes me that we're only a couple generations removed from WWII, and still have fascist and dictatorship governments all over the world, yet the very things that those governments are condemned for doing are permissible if it's western democracies doing them.

      The whole "godwin" thing irritates the hell out of me. Why shouldn't we make comparisons to the nazis (or Stalin or any of the other destructive dictatorships out there, recent or not?) How exactly is it bad to make comparisons to the worst of humanity's behavior over the last century? Is that not how we determine just how to recognize and stop such behavior before it gets a foothold?

      It's like another saying that still irritates me (and I'm not hardly young anymore) - "Judge ye not, lest ye be judged." - if we can't exercise judgement of others, then just how the hell are we supposed to solve the problems that evil sonsabitches bring to this world? Random guessing? (Wait, that'd be the US justice system, sorry)... the whole FUCKING CONCEPT OF HUMAN SENTIENCE demands that we judge the environment we live in at all times, including our fellow sentients, in order to survive...

      I suspect that particular saying was introduced to human culture by people who *didn't* want the average joe judging their actions, because of what they were doing...

    /rant and not sorry for it, flame me, mod me down, whattehfuckever



  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:26PM (#27538043) Homepage

    Everyone knows that if you get arrested then you must have done something wrong. Well, maybe not everyone, but everyone that watches American Idol. Or maybe Survivor. And certainly Survivor-watchers want to see the perp-walk so they know if they ever see someone that looks like that in the grocery store they can avoid them. And keep their kids away.

    Come on, it is just like reviewing the sex offender registry and making sure that people that looks like sex offenders are treated like criminals. Or lepers. So what does a sex offender look like? Obviously just like the pictures online of sex offenders.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:26PM (#27538423)

    Arguing the 'essential' nature of secrets with me is not likely a productive experience, which if you peruse my comment history concerning that, would be clear. I'm of the "secrets are a bad thing" camp. The only reason to keep secrets currently is the imbalance of power between those who have the most to hide and those who just think they do. And the only way to overcome that imbalance is to start exposing those at the top and working your way down to the bottom.

    Which is why I stated my request as "list the things that you don't think should be up there" rather than "explain to me why secrets should kept"

    In regards to your actual example, you will also remember I stated that for any item you listed, someone should be able to come up with a reason for it.

    Here is my world view. There may be secrets you'd like to keep about yourself. There may be ideas, fantasies, even events in your life that you don't want shared with the world.

    But a political party is by definition a public entity. You are attempting, by your membership, to guide public and government opinion. Your membership to a party should not be a secret. Not in Britain. There are countries in this world where that would be different. But Britain is not one of them. It is not a tyranny. It is not run by a government that is going to go and shove these people into internment camps. The BNP has a history of attempting to play the 'man in the shadows' of attempting to get people into position of authority while hiding their affiliation. This, IMO, is wrong. Even if they weren't the more legitimate sibling of the Nazi's and KKK.

    The McCarthy Era of America was a shame specifically because what happened after people were fingered as Communists then was wrong, not because people were outed in the first place.

  • by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:34PM (#27538453)
    Mod parent up. It's both sad and dangerous that people have already become so ignorant of history that some think the holocaust was 'based only on racial/religious prejudice'. Like the burning of the Reichstag never happened.
  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Friday April 10, 2009 @09:45PM (#27538497) Homepage

    How are we supposed to deal with the child-porn problem if we're not allowed to discuss it ? People revert to an apelike mental state the moment you mention pedophilia.

    Want to mess with that prick who cut you off on the highway ? Call 911 and tell them you saw him rape a 6 year old, he will be arrested and detained within the hour, and those lovely cops will make sure to tell everyone he's a pedophile before the day is done. Not a single neuron will fire, nobody will dare think about evidence or motive. It's like the term "kiddie porn" is the root password to society, with it you can get anything done to anyone.

    If they really want to combat child pornography, they need to attack the source: producers. Hiding links will not make it go away. Revoking domains will not make it go away. Shutting down servers wont' even make it go away. Our beloved Streisand effect ensures that any and all censorship is met with an even greater riposte.

  • by Requiem18th ( 742389 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:32PM (#27538757)

    I'm afraid (literally) that apelike mentality is a permanent feature of the population at large.

  • by witherstaff ( 713820 ) on Friday April 10, 2009 @10:49PM (#27538869) Homepage

    How is just having a website address to a child porn site illegal, if you didn't even visit the link? I wonder how any blacklisting filtering software would be legal in Germany if it filters out illegal content sites.

    If I post a link to Nuclear weapons [] am I going to be charged with being a terrorist? Oh wait, I voted for Ron Paul in the primaries, I probably already am somewhere [].

  • The EU is first and foremost an economic power, and as such, it wants to expand. Ideals don't matter.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wildclaw ( 15718 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @03:29AM (#27540195)

    There is a kind of meta exception to that reasoning.

    By being transparent about whistleblowers you decrease the transparency by eliminating the whistleblowers. It is the same reason why being tolerant toward intolerant people isn't really a good idea. Or why you shouldn't really feel a need to respect people that doesn't respect others.

    I do agree with your last sentence is good though. There is no reason for wikileaks to hide those providing them with services and other support. That is just the same lack of transparency that goverments and other organisations have.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 11, 2009 @07:42AM (#27541087)

    In Germany, simply greeting someone in public with, "sieg heil" ("hail victory") or the Roman salute [] (yes, whipper-snappers, its widespread use predates Hitler's Nazism) is punishable by up to three years in jail []. Think about that for a moment: saying hello in an unsavory way could get you locked up for three years.

    Perhaps certain Germans should watch their own excellent film production of the last days of Sophie Scholl, particularly the interrogation. 65 years ago a woman suffered humiliation for uttering the words "down with Hitler!" - today the German government s/down/up/ and does pretty much the same. And, no, locking you up until you stop speaking is not "better" than putting you to death, for there is no life in slavery.

    If your response is "but the Reich was bad, and the Bundesrepublik is good!" then you're no different to Scholl's interrogator: you combine a belief in absolutes with a desire to eliminate those who aren't absolutely in step with you. The threat of fascism today is much greater, not because we're "nearly there" - the new Weimar republic is only just coming to fruition - but because once we reach it, today's technology in the hands of government makes resistance almost impossible.

  • by lethargic8 ( 1179029 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @01:41PM (#27543143)

    Completely invalid reasoning on so many levels. Curtailing supply NEVER diminshes demand.

    Diminished supply does 2 things: it raises the cost of the item/service in question and it pushes buyers to other outlets to fuffill the demand.

    Look at the meteoric rise in the sale and use of prescription drugs. The war on cocaine, which used to be a prominent upper class drug has now been largely supplanted by the use of prescription Ritalin, which is chemically very similar. Constricting the supply of cocaine did no reduce demand or the use of drugs but pushed people onto a cheaper and easier to get product.

    Basically, you're wrong wrong wrong

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