Kategorie: Englisch  

A year ago, the German regulation on Internet filtering was enacted. The law obliges ISPs to block sites with alleged content containing child pornography that are listed by the German Federal Police on a secret list. The AK Zensur fiercely opposed the law as it is neither appropriate nor does it really contribute to a solution of child abuse representations on the Web. The group has demanded and proven the possibility of removing such content from the Net without filtering.

On 22 February 2011 the AK Zensur has therefore submitted a complaint for unconstitutional content against the Internet filtering law before the German Federal Constitutional Court. This was already announced when the law was enacted. Four selected plaintiffs from the AK Zensur are represented by Attorneys at law Thomas Stadler and Dominik Boecker. 

For press enquiries, please contact:
presse@ak-zensur.de
+49 8161 93906-0 (Thomas Stadler)

Blocked for two years, then taken down in just 30 minutes – a disastrous result of Internet Blocking policy

Internet blocking is advocated as an allegedly effective measure against the proliferation of child abuse images. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark have been using this technology for years. But a practical test by the German Working Group against Access Blocking and Censorship (AK Zensur) in cooperation with European civil rights advocacy groups has shown: Internet blocking does not fight abuse, in practice it only serves to conceal the failures of politics and police. Websites can remain on blocking lists for years even though they have either been deleted or could be deleted easily and quickly.

After the German elections on the 27th of September, the conservative and liberal parties, CDU/CSU and FDP have started negotiations to form a coalition government and define their political agenda for the next 4 years. In the last months, public awareness for topics like retention of communications data, internet censorship and the constant destruction of civil rights and liberties had been raised by German civil rights groups and activists. More than in any previous election, these became vote-deciding issues in the campaign.

The FDP had a very clear position towards internet censorship, data retention, and the use of spyware - but the important question was: How much of their position would they be able to uphold in the negotiations? Will Germany continue down the road towards surveillance and total control?

The most important result is about the internet censorship law (Zugangserschwerungsgesetz) passed by parliament this June. Under that law, the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) would compile secret blacklists of websites related to child pornography. These lists were to be passed on to German ISPs who would then have to block access to the sites. The coalition negotiators agreed to put the law under a one-year moratorium. During that year, the BKA will not compile those blacklists or send any such lists to ISPs.

     

This leads to a weird situation since the ISPs already implemented the infrastructure that is necessary to receive and implement the censorship lists from the BKA. The Federal President might sign the law into force exactly at the moment when the new government decide that they don’t want to use it any more.

Many questions are left open, and we will have to monitor closely whether and how they will be answered. The BKA will have a 1 year “trial period” during which the priority will be to remove illegal content, based on already existing laws. When the moratorium runs out, the results will be evaluated and the question of internet censorship will return to the political agenda.

This is undoubtedly good news and a success of the anti-censorship movement that was formed in the last months by many individuals and organisations. It is proof that dangerous laws and decisions can be fought, and it should encourage all of you to continue the fight!

 

 

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