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[iag/debate] Germany Bans Web Pages for Minors - and ALL

>From: taxbomber@taxbomber.com
>Newsgroups: alt.censorship,alt.privacy,alt.security,news.admin.censorship
>Subject: Germany Bans Web Pages for Minors - and ALL
>Date: Sat, 28 Sep 1996 06:46:58 GMT
>Message-ID: <324cc9c7.7567566@news.c2.net>
>NNTP-Posting-Host: md19-017.compuserve.com

According to Germany's leading tabloid paper "Bild" (Saturday
edition), Federal Minister for Familiy Affairs, Claudia Nolte
(Christian-Democrat), in an unprecedented decision
has formally had several Web pages banned
for being "X"-rated by the "Federal Office for the Evaluation
of Literature Hazardous to Minors".

These are pages featured by Ernst Zuendel, a leading political
revisionist located in Canada whose purportedly "Neo-Nazi"
views have been the subject of much controversy in Germany.

Ms Nolte is quoted as saying: "It is not tolerable that the
Internet should be an island with special privileges, on which
thoughtless or unscrupulous providers may pursue their infamous
activities  with impunity."

This effectively forces Internet providers to restrict minors' 
access to said pages - a technical impossibility since most
minors accessing the net are be using their parents' accounts.

No "Netwatch" or other self-censorship software will
suffice to conform with this provision, as it is THE PROVIDERS,
not the kids' legal guardians who have to comply with this

Following a recent decision by the State of Hamburg's Supreme
Constitutional Court to the effect that service providers cannot be
held responsible for possibly illegal contents of data transfers
via their networks (here, AOL was accused of disseminating 
child pornography),  this move must be regarded as a circumvention
tactics to put the thumbscrews on ISPs nevertheless by invoking
Minors Protection legislation instead. 

(Also note that the Hamburg decision ruled that email message were
protected by privacy laws as any snail mail letter - hence, providers
could not be expected to monitor their contents as this would
violate constitutional rights.)

This implies that German based ISPs (including AOL's and Compuserve's
local services) will actually have to ban ALL GENERAL  access to the
Zuendel pages from their systems unless they are willing to risk
running afault of the law.