Germany is on the verge of censoring its Internet: The government – a grand coalition between the German social democrats and conservative party – seems united in its decision: On Thursday the parliament is to vote on the erection of an internet censorship architecture.
The Minister for Family Affairs Ursula von der Leyen kicked off and lead the discussions within the German Federal Government to block Internet sites in order to fight child pornography. The general idea is to build a censorship architecture enabling the government to block content containing child pornography. The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) is to administer the lists of sites to be blocked and the internet providers obliged to erect the secret censorship architecture for the government.
A strong and still growing network opposing these ideas quickly formed within the German internet community. The protest has not been limited to hackers and digital activist but rather a mainstreamed effort widely supported by bloggers and twitter-users. The HashTag used by the protesters is #zensursula – a German mesh up of the Ministers name and the word censorship equivalent to #censursula.
As part of the public’s protest an official e-Petition directed at the German parliament was launched. Within three days 50,000 persons signed the petition – – the number required for the petition titled „No indexing and blocking of Internet sites” to be heard by the parliament. The running time of an e-Petition in Germany is 6 weeks – within this time over 130,000 people signed making this e-Petition the most signed and most successful ever.
During the past weeks, protests became more and more creative – countless blogs and twitter-users followed and commented the discussions within governments and opposing arguments. Many mainstream media picked up on this and reported about the protest taking place on-line. A working group on censorship was founded and the protest coordinated with a wiki, mailing lists, chats and of course employing twitter and blogs. One website „Zeichnemit.de” created a landing page explaining the complicated petitioning system and making signing the petition easier and more accessible for non net-experts. Continue reading »
Changes proposed to the law governing Germany’s federal criminal police operations would allow investigators to use wire taps and surveillance cameras in homes of innocent citizens to keep tabs on terror suspects.
Under the government proposals, federal police would be permitted to install “hidden technical equipment, that is to say bugs or cameras inside or outside apartments … if there is a pressing danger for state security,” interior ministry spokesman Stefan Paris said at a news conference on Friday, April 18.
“I would urgently like to stress that there are very, very strict conditions … and it is not the case that everywhere in this country secret cameras or listening devices will be installed in living spaces,” he said. “It is about terrorist threats that would be averted through preventative measures by the federal police.”
Be careful what you — and your friends — say at home
He added that such methods were already allowed in several German states. Continue reading »