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Germany backtracks on Internet porn law

Dec. 5, 2011 at 7:47 PM

BERLIN, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Germany's lower house of Parliament has lifted its ban of Web sites containing child pornography after criticism from Internet users, authorities said.

The Bundestag's 2009 proposal to have a list of dubious Web sites compiled by Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office blocked by their Internet providers created controversy.

For users looking to gain access to the sites, a red "stop" sign was to appear on the screen instead of the normal content.

Attempts to have such sites blocked was "ineffective, counterproductive and represented the beginning of Internet censorship," critics such as the Chaos Computer Club said.

"Internet blockings are pointless," computer programmer Stephan Urbach told Deutsche Welle. "I need around 5 minutes to reconfigure my browser if I want to view that material."

The only way to prevent such sites from being viewed is to delete them, Internet expert Jimmy Schulz said, by alerting the individual Internet service providers.

Urbach agreed, saying most would take action to delete such sites as quickly as possible.

"No provider would be able to stand being regarded as a disseminator of child pornography," said Urbach, suggesting the most effective way to curb child pornography is to fight the problem where it starts.

"Child pornography isn't an Internet issue," he said. "These pictures and videos have to come from somewhere. Children are being abused."

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