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IRIS 2009-4:Extra

Germany

Internet Block on Child Pornography

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Christian M. Bron

Institute of European Media Law (EMR), Saarbrücken/Brussels

In the battle against child pornography on the Internet, the Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Young People (BMFSFJ) is calling on Germany's largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to enter into voluntary agreements.

According to the BMFSFJ, the ISPs should sign voluntary agreements promising to block foreign child pornography sites by the end of February 2009. For this purpose, the Bundeskriminalamt (Federal Criminal Police Office - BKA) would give the ISPs a "blocking list". The ISPs could then use the list to block web servers from countries in which either child pornography was not prohibited or its perpetrators were not prosecuted. In addition, the coming months should see an amendment of the Telemediengesetz (Telemedia Act), which would make it possible to force the ISPs to block the relevant sites.

However, the Ministry's plans have been criticised: for example, a recent report by the scientific department of the German Bundestag (lower house of Parliament) concerning blocking orders against Internet providers explains the technical flaws inherent in the plan. Critics also fear the gradual expansion of Internet censorship.

References
Gutachten des Wissenschaftlichen Dienstes des Deutschen Bundestages DE
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=11639
 
  Report by the scientific department of the German Bundestag