Germany’s #1 blog Spreeblick has entered a demonstrative strike against the online censorship legislation that was just passed by the federal government. Notably, the strike is not against the cause, which is to prevent people from entering child pornography websites, but rather against the amateurish belief that a simple list with URLs and IPs to be blocked will actually prevent the proliferation of such abominable content, and also against the very real possibility that the small effect such a blockade might have will be used politically in the future. Here is the original statement from Spreeblick:
Spreeblick.com, a german weblog, is on a demonstrative strike today.
The reason: Today, the german federal cabinet passed a new law to filter websites based on a secret list compiled by the Federal Criminal Police Office. The Federal Ministry for Family Affairs communicates the law as a remedy for the prevention of child pornography. While we strongly support any attempt to stop the abuse of humans and children in particular, we doubt that this is the real reason for the law.
For months, experts of all fields have impeached the facts and figures that were communicated by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs as well as the technical implementation of the filtering process. We mistrust the planned non-transparent process, we regard it as ineffective and amateurish and we believe it is counterproductive and a possible thread to democracy.
Since illegal sites on a list must be known beforehand, we urge the government to shut those sites down and prosecute the operators of those sites.
In times of a nationwide election campaign, we regard political populism as highly inappropriate when it should be about the fight against the abuse of minors.
Time Magazine has an article about a similar approach that backfired on the Australian Government a few months ago.