Ve hav vays of making you NOT talk

The German government presses ahead with internet censorship.   The pretext originally was to stop child pornography; now the controls are in place, the mask is dropped and large-scale censorship is envisaged.  This report from SlashDot.org:

“It’s only been a few weeks since the law dubbed Zugangserschwerungsgesetz (access impediment law) was passed in the German Parliament despite over 140,000 signatures of people opposed to it. The law will go into effect in mid-October 2009. Now Minister for Family Affairs Ursula von der Leyen implied in an interview that she is planning on extending the reach of the law, claiming ‘…or else the great Internet is in danger of turning into a lawless range of chaos, where you’re allowed to bully, insult, and deceive limitlessly.’ More on golem.de via Google translate (here is the German original).”

The best person to decide on what people must say is the German government? Dr Goebbels is proud of you, Frau von der Leyen.  Petty officials up and down Germany must be salivating at the chance to fine and imprison other Germans for being rude, or saying things which the state considers “untrue”. 

4 thoughts on “Ve hav vays of making you NOT talk

  1. I cannot help finding this a disappointing post. I do not support this new law, but I think you are unfair
    1. by representing the reform as a suppression of dissident opinions by an authoritarian state;
    2. by comparing this reform to Nazi practices — a bit distasteful, too.
    Crime and fraud are present at the internet, and are hard to amend these days, because of a lack of a legal framework. If this law can help, I do not know (rather not). But suggesting Germany is now again a Nazi-like suppressing state because they want to do something at some abuses, or out of some moral conservative motivations (not that I share these), that sounds like a cheap conspiracy theory. I am pretty sure no German official will track me down and pursue me if I am to say unpleasant things about Angela Merkel on the internet, but your prediction of ‘large censorship’, and imprisonment of dissidents seems to suggest such a thing.

  2. Thanks for your note, although I’m not sure that I quite understand the points made.

    You seem to suggest that I am unfair in representing this as the suppression of dissident opinion. Of course it isn’t suppression – yet. It’s putting in place the *mechanism* to suppress dissident opinion, and making it clear that the intention is to do just that; to suppress selected opinions. The pretext is that they are “rude”, or that people are doing what other people don’t want. Well, that’s the definition of freedom, folks.

    Possibly you don’t believe that you will be one of those affected, and you trust the state apparat not to interfere with you. I have no such certainty, myself. But whoever is in charge of the engine of censorship, I don’t want them there. We’re all adults; let’s be adult. We don’t need petty bureaucrats straining our brains.

    As for Nazi’s, if the German government act like Nazis I certainly propose to say so!

  3. The German state traditionally regulates EVERYTHING. Even things that are considered basic human rights and not subject to regulation in Anglo-Saxon or French style countries are considered fair game to the Germans. This is not as bad as it seems, it is simply the German way.

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