German Minister Announces Plans for Mandatory Web Filtering

Says purpose is fighting child pornography, like Australia and elsewhere, but is sure to eventually expand to other illegal or offensive material, and perhaps even file-sharing of copyrighted material.

Germany’s Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced recently to that country’s legislative body that she was working with her colleagues Wolfgang Schäuble and Michael Glos to combat child pornography on the Internet.

By early March they intend to have a “binding agreement” with all the major German ISPs to prevent access to such material.

She prefers the term “blocking access” to filtering since it will be done through a list, updated daily by the country’s Federal Office of Criminal Investigations (BKA), and submitted to ISPs to be implemented.

Critics are rightly concerned that it’s a slippery slope towards “blocking” or filtering of other illegal or offensive material.

Australian citizens are also concerned by similar proposals being pushed in their country by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy. It began as an optional proposal to have so-called “clean feeds” that blocked access to pornography and child porn, but soon expanded to a mandatory filtering system that some elected officials have even expressed hopes to include gambling and sites and elusive “offensive” content for all.

“We must not dilute the issue,” she counters. “Child pornography is a problem issue and clearly identifiable. You can not consider what future government will or will not do and focus only on what needs to be done now.”

She introduced a Norwegian police investigator to assuage her critics being that Norway already uses as similar filter that blocks access to some 18,000 child pornography sites.

He said that the people of his country had similar censorship concerns, but that the debate was soon over once people realized they were unaffected by the block lists.

That may be so, but Norway and Germany have two deal ENTIRELY different track records on censorship.

Sadly enough, child porn always seems to be the buzzword elected officials try to use to insist on filtering the Internet, and considering the scourge remains, isn’t it plausible to hypothesize that filtering really doesn’t work?

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Jared Moya

I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates.


Well it took the censors only about twenty years to catch up with the Internet. Before that they were concerned only with books and movies. And it is true that they will succeed in this area about as well as they have with books and movies. Vladimir Norbekov's "Lolita" (from which most of the child porn sites borrow for their names) is still readily available in libraries and bookstores in spite of the self-righteous guardians of our morality. The tactics of these morality police are always the same: pick a position that no one in his/her right mind would disagree with lest s/he risks the wrath of society. In this case it's child pornography. In the United States in the 1950's it was the "communists". Sometime it's "family values" whatever. It is a "slippery slope." Is anyone actually that naive to believe that they will stop there? Would an alcoholic stop at only one beer? These people are controloholics. They'll go further and further guaranteed. The good news is that the medium which they are trying to control (the Internet) is ever-changing. Anarchy is its main characteristic. As soon as someone develops something to "control" its use along come others with some things to bypass those controls. These control clowns are not even that high tech. They're going to use "lists." Tell me who is going to surf the web to find these porn sites to add to the "list"? Sounds to me like the nuns and priests who--when I was a kid--used to go to movies and decide which could be on the "approved" list for good Catholics to watch. Somebody was watching a lot of dirty movies and it wasn't the parishioners!


Again easily defeated by OpenDNS VPNs and proxy websites. I mean if students can get around school web filters people can get around country's web filters. Can we please get these morons proposing these things educated on how the internet works? Because it's obvious they don't. They think the internet is just the web.

Totally Sad
Totally Sad

I think it's time for the Republic of Germany to change it's name to "The People's Republic of Germany" with a communist party ruling this country of the free.