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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