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URGENT: Final draft GLOBAL ALERT: German Government censors dutch s

Forwarded message:
>From felipe@xs1.xs4all.nl  Sun Sep 15 14:25:36 1996
From: Felipe Rodriquez <felipe@xs4all.nl>
Message-Id: <199609151225.OAA16309@xs1.xs4all.nl>
Subject: URGENT: Final draft GLOBAL ALERT: German Government censors dutch site www.xs4all.nl (fwd)
To: rena@bionic.zer.de, padeluun@bionic.zer.de, andy@artcom.de, intern@ccc.de
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 1996 14:25:06 +0200 (MET DST)
Cc: tuamotu@duplox.wz-berlin.de, fight-censorship@vorlon.mit.edu
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This is a global action alert against German censorship. If you want
to sign it, send email to aried@xs4all.nl. Please don't distribute
in public until they officially release it:

> Subject: URGENT: Final draft GLOBAL ALERT: German Government censors dutch site www.xs4all.nl
> Uit db-nl:
>                       *** GLOBAL ALERT ***
> (not yet) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       SEPT. 18, 1996
> -  Please redistribute this document widely
>    with this banner intact
> -  Redistribute only in appropriate places
>    & only until 15 October 1996
> Global Alert: German Government Pushes Blockage of Netherlands Web Sites
>         At the behest of, and in response to legal threats from, the German 
> government, internet providers in Germany have blocked the Dutch Web site 
> Access For All (www.xs4all.nl), removing German users' access to the 
> entire xs4all system. The German government demanded this action because
> xs4all hosts a Web "home page" with so called left-wing political content
> that, though fully legal in the Netherlands, is allegedly illegal in
> Germany. (see: http://www.anwalt.de/ictf/p960901e.htm). As a result of this
> action, *all* xs4all web sites, including several thousand that have nothing
> to do with the offending home page, are unavailable to readers in Germany.
> Please send a letter of protest to the German ambassador in your country,
> ask your foreign minister to protest officially to the German government,
> and distribute this alert as widely as possible online and to the press.
>         Referring to article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil
> and Political rights, which Germany ratified in 1973, we, the undersigned
> organizations, consider this censorship an illegal act. Additionally, the
> value of attepting to ban content the German government finds offensive is
> highly questionable. The proper response to offensive expression is more and
> better expression, and prosecution of offending criminals, not censorship.
>         As a result of the overly broad censorship measure which targets and 
> entire Internet access provider instead of a specific user, all 3000 and 
> more Web site hosted by xs4all are virtually inaccessable in Germany.The
> loss of clients who market in Germany has resulted in economic damage to
> xs4all. The immeasurable harm of censoring thousands of other users for the 
> speech of one is even greater.
>         Access for All, though it has expressed willingness to assist the
> Dutch police in identifying online criminals abusing the xs4all system, has
> a policy against censoring its clients.
>         Mirroring this position, at least one German Net provider has
> responded to the government demands with skepticism, pointing out that their
> compliance with the censorship request may cause them to violate contracts
> with their own German users, and that the governments liability threats are 
> tatamount to holding a phone company liable for what users say on the 
> telephone.
>         Instead of the futile act of censorship that has simply drawn
> increased attention to the offending material and resulting in its
> widespread availability on other sites throughout the world, the German
> government should have acted through legal channels and asked that the
> authorities in the Netherlands take appropriate actions.
>         We are concerned that German internet providers have cooperated so
> easily with government censorship efforts. Some level of cooperation was
> probably assured by underhanded and rather questionable police threats of
> system operator liability for user content, but we must urge more resistance
> on that part of Net access providers to such online censorship schemes. As
> with libraries, there are many who would censor, but there is a
> responsibility on the part of providers of access to information, to work to
> protect that access, else libraries, and Internet service providers, lose
> the reason for their existence.
>         We demand that the German government refrain from further
> restrictive measures and intimidation of internet providers and recognize
> the free, democratic, world wide communications represented by the Internet.
> All governments must recognize that the Internet is not a local, or even 
> national, medium, but a global medium in which regional laws have little 
> useful effect. "Top-down" censorship efforts not only fail to prevent the 
> distribution of material to users in the local jurisdiction (material 
> attacked in this manner can simply be relocated to Italy or Antigua or 
> any other country), but constitutues a direct assault on the rights and 
> other interests of Internet users and service providers in other 
> jurisdictions, not subject to the censorship law in question.
>         For press contacts, and for more information about the Internet, see
> homepages for the signatories to this message:
> DB-NL (Digital Citizens Foundation in the Netherlands)
>         * http://www.xs4all.nl/~db.nl
> ALCEI - Electronic Frontiers Italy * http://www.nexus.it/alcei
> CITADEL-E F France *http://www.imaginet.fr/~mose/citadel
> CommUnity (UK) * http://www.community.org.uk
> Electronic Frontier Canada * http://www.efc.ca/
> Electronic Frontier Foundation (USA) * http://www.eff.org
> Other signatures:
>         Please send the signature of your organisation to aried@xs4all.nl 
> that I can add it to this alert.
> Arie Dirkzwager, Board member of DB-NL (Digital Citizens Foundation in the
> Netherlands).

 Felipe Rodriquez          -  XS4ALL Internet  - finger felipe@xs4all.nl for 
 http://xs4all.nl/~felipe/ - Managing Director - pub pgp-key 1024/A07C02F9 

  pgp Key fingerprint = 32 36 C3 D9 02 42 79 C6 D1 9F 63 EB A7 30 8B 1A

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