Today the German Parliament will vote on a new Censorship law to be put in place to block web content as decided by the German administration. Based on black listing web sites and blocking those at ISP level via DNS and the displaying of so-called Stop pages the planned law was originally been handed around and legislators were seeking public approval by false-flagging it as a solely preventive measure against child abuse / pornography.
While almost all experts heard on this matter (fighting such illegal material and use) have clearly demonstrated that the censoring of access is no way forward towards stopping such activities particularly as many of the web servers in question were even physically located in Germany and other means (take-down notice to providers) proofed that within shortest notice (often less than a day) the material was taken off the net, it became more and more clear that the German Government is seemingly following a completely different agenda. The latest text of the law not even contains a reference anymore to the previously so broadly used argument of fighting child abuse but provides the general right to block any Internet content as they see fit (for themselves).
While in other European countries and on EU level similar approaches are used or legalized / planned to be legalized soon mostly with the same false-flag arguments like child protection / IP rights etc. the case of Germany is special as due to the bad experiences with the Nazi regime in the 1930s the German constitution explicitly makes any type of censorship illegal. And today German and other historians are frequently blaming the last Weimar Republic’s government for their legislation creating such far reaching powers (for themselves and following governments) of being one of the key elements that made it possible for Hitler’s Nazi regime to immediately remove all civil-rights from anybody opposing their monstrous quest for totalitarian power, destroy opposition parties and putting their key members into concentration camps, and providing it with a pretense of legality that never would have been possible otherwise.
With Internet content today having a broader reach than most TV or printed publications it seems that such moves were the obvious next steps to get to a state of “Gleichschaltung” (alignment) of all media with the (political) powers / profiting parties within those societies. And with once highly reputable news sources like e.g. the BBC today more and more have become the sounding board for politically spin-doctored agendas and news, we can only fear what’s going to be the next step.
Not to be forgotten that on the back of such censorship most of the times moves towards adapted, changed content or even disinformation presented as if coming from trusted sources are becoming a common part of suppressing unwanted information. If the abilities to block content is provided it is often only a (very) small step to change other content before providing it to individual users – users that are left in the believe that this might be the original content. From a technical viewpoint – in a digital world – there is no major difference between changing or blocking content overall.
Keeping in consideration that most Internet users only visit around 10-20 web sites on a regular basis, it looks as if some forces are trying to turn the Internet into tomorrows TV. And how far this has already moved away from being an information source and has become an aligned “instrument” was recently shown to Germans when a “parody” of current German news shows was created in the format and “New-Speak” of the former autocratic (and communist) Eastern German News show “Aktuelle Kamera” on the so-called financial crisis. The difference between their “New-Speak” and current German news shows is vanishing.
1. Could someone please compile all the (European) political statements we had to listen to a few years ago condemning the Chinese Government for using the same means to censor Internet access.
2. It is certainly not astonishing anymore but very irritating that those people discussing the topic of censoring Internet content in more detail and pointing to some of the black lists created by Western countries have been recently arrested and their web sited taken off the Internet very quickly while the illegal content in question is still – with a few intermediate steps as experts explain – fully accessible.
A German web site gone on strike to protest against the censorship law (in German)
The parody on German news shows (in German)
Information on the V for Vendetta comics and movie
Wikipedia on Censorship
image created by combining images from Wikipedia visualizing today’s newspaper censorship in a Middle Eastern country and the censorship icon
- Civil Rights: Guantánamo Bay cell reconstruction
- Data Visualization: Internet Censorship
- UK women are now officially the fattest in Europe
- Internet: Wikileaks.org ordered offline by US court
This Monday Amnesty International started a tour to cities and regional towns in Australia with a full scale reconstruction of the cell in which Australian David Hicks and other detainees are being held at Guantánamo Bay. The cell is a reconstruction of the solitary confinement cells in Guantánamo Bay and measures 1.8 meters wide, 2.4 meters in length and 2.4 meters high. There is an Quicktime virtual reality panorama and additional images online (links below) that provide you with an understanding of the space where David Hicks and others are now being detained since 5 years…
A great visualization by Good Magazine and the Lifelong Friendship Society on Internet censorship around the world.
Based on the authoritative Eurostat yearbook British women are now leading the chart of obesity of the EU’s 27 member countries. Measured by the Body Mass Index that calculates a height to weight ratio – people are classified as obese if they weigh a fifth more than their ideal maximum weight. A quarter of women and a fifth of men in the UK are now so overweight that their health is at serious risk. The EU statisticians looked only at adult obesity, but previous studies have shown…
The BBC today has an article online about Wikileaks.org, a website that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously post government and corporate documents.
The “BBC reports” that “…following a California court ruling, the site been taken offline in the US…” Well seemingly that’s not completely true. You won’t get access to the site via wikileaks.org but that’s because the DNS server entries have been deleted.
But hey – there are other ways. You can access the site’s content at other servers on the Internet (see image below). We suggest searching for the web site’s name and DNS and you might find it yourself. Popular bookmarking sites might also turn out helpful.
While you can question the motives why people upload documents to this site or even question the content of some of them, Wikileaks.org definitely had a rough ride the last days.
Within days they endured a fire in their server room, massive DDoS attacks and censorship threats…