Internet censorship

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As Internet censorship different methods of are states or non-state groups designated whose aim is the publication of certain content over the Internet to control, suppress or control in their own sense. News and expressions of opinion are particularly affected, and in some countries websites with erotic or religious content are also affected . The censorship on the Internet is not fundamentally different from the censorship of other mass media .

Screenshot of the censorship site in the UAE

Legal environment

The fact that data can be transmitted across national borders on the Internet without any problems results in a high level of complexity in legal issues, as incompatibilities between legal systems cannot be resolved. Governments and state organs can also block the citizens of other states from this information by switching off or otherwise sanctioning websites that are within their legal area, but they cannot prevent the citizens from gaining access to illegal information that is located abroad .

In Germany , for example, the glorification of Nazi war crimes or the denial of the Holocaust are prohibited. On the other hand, on servers in the USA , these things can be distributed with impunity, since they are covered by freedom of expression under US law . At the end of the 1990s, the conservative side of the Bundestag Media Enquete Commission demanded that "an editorial team be placed in front of the Internet to select what goes online". Another push towards censorship was made in 2001 by the Düsseldorf district government (see Jürgen Büssow ), which could be circumvented with little technical knowledge, but was held up in court by several instances. As early as 2000, the Federal Court of Justice ruled in a landmark ruling that, for example, an Australian citizen could be held liable in Germany for a holocaust-denying website that is hosted in Australia . The website also had to be closed in Germany in May 2002 due to the depiction of scenes glorifying violence from films indexed or confiscated in Germany. Since then, it has been available at and is located on an Austrian server. Since both the owner of the domain and the tenant of the server are of Austrian nationality, the site is now only subject to Austrian law . Also in 2002 the BMEzine site was declared illegal in Germany and was not available via German search engines. BME is considered the main medium of the international body modification scene .

In October 2007, for reasons of competition law , the regional court in Frankfurt am Main obliged the German Internet access provider Arcor to prevent its customers from accessing the foreign website YouPorn . In the further course of the proceedings, this decision was overturned by another chamber of the regional court.

Government censorship


In the European Union , with the support of Europol, websites that contain images of child abuse and of which the authority has gained knowledge are being used with the CIRCAMP project's "Child Sexual Abuse Anti Distribution Filter" (CSAADF), a domain name system - Blocking list (DNS), blocked. Blocking the website is intended to prevent abused children from being abused again by the fact that pictures or films of their abuse continue to circulate on the Internet (“re- victimization ”). In March 2010, the CSAADF will be deployed in Denmark , Finland , Italy , New Zealand , Norway , Sweden and Switzerland . The UK blocks these websites using the Cleanfeed content filtering system .

In October 2009, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) laid down an obligation for Internet service providers to have access to sites that document the sexual abuse of children in the draft framework decision on combating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children to block and to harmonize the approach of all 27 member states. This new legislative proposal is intended to replace an existing document from 2004, which has not been fully implemented by all member states and in which no harmonization has been achieved on some key issues either. The European Commission believes that this will prevent direct access to commercial child pornography. Extra-territorial measures should also be taken to delete websites. The statements in the Commission's Communication of June 2009 to “ create an area for freedom, security and justice that serves the citizen” also take up this content “in order to [create] mechanisms to track down the IP address of criminal ISPs and to simplify the rapid blocking of non-European websites ”.

The Council of the European Union intended, according to an unofficial published position paper in March 2010, with an action plan for EU-wide fight against cybercrime to develop a filter to block websites promoting.

The expansion of the blocking measures to other Internet content such as gambling offers, websites that glorify violence, right-wing extremist or copyright questionable websites and file sharing networks have already been called for several times , as France is already implementing with its own special laws.

Matti Nikki, the operator of the Finnish website, which reports on internet censorship, is of the opinion that the majority of the sites on the blockade list do not offer child pornography. After the publication of the Finnish blacklist, his own website was added to the same and has not been accessible in Finland from February 2008 until today (March 2009) without circumvention measures. Leena Romppainen from the Finnish civil rights organization Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI) notes that no action will be taken against the sites affected by the blocking and their operators. In Finland, an Internet service provider already uses a transparent proxy server . In Finland it is criticized that political material has also been banned. After four years of experience with Internet blocking, the Swedish police came to the conclusion: "Unfortunately, our blocking measures do not help to reduce the production of web pornography."

In April 2011 the Clean IT project was started at the European level . It is based on the concept of a public private partnership between European security authorities and a wide variety of IT companies. The aim is to develop guidelines for the IT industry, compliance with which is followed on a voluntary basis by corporate partners to prevent end-user access to terrorist content. The aim is to “restrict terrorist use of the Internet” and “fight illegal use of the Internet”. It explicitly takes a non-legislative approach. The consultation of national and supranational parliaments is expressly not intended. The aim of the measure is a comprehensive control of the network content, initially on a European level, and later, if possible, on a global level.


When the Ministry of Family Affairs, under the leadership of Ursula von der Leyen at the time, presented child pornography to Internet service providers and journalists, the German government presented its plan on April 22, 2009 to block access to Internet content containing child pornography through a change in the Telemedia Act ("Access Blocking") ). The Ministry of Education is also calling for elements that encourage violence to be contained in order to “improve protection and security” in connection with rampages . The Scientific Service of the Bundestag found in a study that the proposal to make problematic content invisible on the Internet by blocking orders is constitutionally questionable. Thilo Weichert , the state commissioner for data protection in Schleswig-Holstein, said on April 21, 2009: "The federal government would do well to submit its bills to a public discussion before making a decision," because rushed action could have an explosive effect. He sees the new draft law as a “frontal attack on free communication on the Internet” which “does not even begin to” create real legal certainty. Providers and lawyers from the Internet industry also criticized the initiative on a massive scale.

At the beginning of March 2009, a child protection organization succeeded in having 16 out of 20 selected Internet domains that were classified as child pornography by a Danish blacklist that was published on the Internet and classified as child pornography within eight hours. Four others contained legal content. The working group against Internet blocking and censorship (AK Zensur) analyzed various European blacklists with automatic procedures in May 2009 and wrote to the providers on whose servers there should be material with documented child abuse. He achieved the deletion of 60 previously accessible websites within 12 hours of sending the emails.

On June 18, 2009, the German Bundestag passed the Access Restriction Act , which was later suspended for a year , in order to oblige all major German Internet providers to block them accordingly. However, users still have the option of circumventing blocks implemented by DNS spoofing using alternative DNS or proxy servers . An online petition was set up against the legislative initiative in this regard, in which over 134,000 people spoke out against blocking websites. In April 2011 the federal government decided to repeal the law that had already been passed but never applied; on December 1, 2011, it was finally repealed by a large majority in the Bundestag.


So far, there have only been a few judicial network blocks in Switzerland. In 2007, for example, the examining magistrate's office in Vaud ordered Swiss internet access providers to block the websites that are critical of justice , , and , as well as to modify the domain name in such a way that the site uses geotargeting to display the following text in four languages:

"Access to this page is blocked due to the court order of the examining magistrate of the canton of Vaud on December 18, 2007."

Switzerland also relies on the voluntary blocking of alleged child pornographic content by major Internet access providers. For this purpose, the Federal Office of Police provides a blacklist containing around 1100 entries with URLs to be blocked . When you access one of these Internet addresses, you are forwarded to the address .

With the Federal Law on Money Games ( Geldspielgesetz , BGS) passed by Parliament on September 29, 2017 , which was passed in the referendum of June 10, 2018 with 72.9% yes-votes, there is a law in Switzerland for the first time that telecommunications providers forcing network blocks. The BGS is about the fact that only land-based casinos in Switzerland should be entitled to online gaming offers, which is why access to foreign online competitors should be blocked. The definition of these network blocks is formulated very openly in the legal text, although most of the debates referred to DNS blocks. Further network blocks are planned in the revised Telecommunications Act (FMG) and are also required for the revised Copyright Act (URG).

Access via non-censored, mostly foreign DNS servers and mirror sites is still possible in Switzerland.


The Open Net Initiative (ONI), composed of groups of researchers from the Universities of Toronto, Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard Law School, is observing a worldwide increase in censorship on the Internet.

In March 2009, Freedom House , an organization funded by the US government, came to the conclusion in its 15-country study Freedom on the Net that internet content was regulated or censored in all of the countries examined. With the exception of Great Britain, however, the Internet is generally less regulated than the press . According to the organization, some governments also employ so-called cyber claqueurs to manipulate content in online discussions . With many users she found a “civic activism” to develop more active countermeasures. However, in their opinion, as technical developments advance, so will censorship in authoritarian and democratic states. The increasing outsourcing of censorship measures to Internet service providers was rated as alarming.

On March 12, 2011, Reporters Without Borders stated in a report on the World Day Against Internet Censorship that every third Internet user worldwide was denied free access to the Internet, and called ten countries "enemies of the Internet" because of their rigid network policies. An updated list appeared a year later, on March 12, 2012.

According to Freedom House and the OpenNet Initiative, content filters have been implemented across the country in Ethiopia , although the government denies censorship.
  • AfghanistanAfghanistan Afghanistan : In Afghanistan, Facebook , YouTube , Twitter , Gmail and websites dealing with alcohol , dating / social networks , gambling and pornography have been blocked since June 2010 .
  • AustraliaAustralia Australia : With the Plan for Cyber-Safety in 2008, the Australian government intended to block all Internet access to websites that are on a government-specified, non-public blacklist . An internet petition against the plan to block “undesirable” and “inadequate” websites was signed by over 120,000 people. On May 25, 2009, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced at a hearing before the Senate Estimates Committee in the Australian Parliament that the Australian blocked list on April 30, 2009 contained 977 entries. According to Nerida O'Loughlin, general manager of the Industry Outputs Division at ACMA, 32 percent of the blocked URLs were related to documentation of child abuse or child sexual abuse. According to communications minister Stephen Conroy, the ACMA has been holding talks with the Internet Watch Foundation in Great Britain and corresponding bodies in the USA about exchanging blacklists since May 2009 and is considering options for more transparency and accountability in keeping the negative list.
In a joint statement in July 2009 , the Australian children's rights organizations Save the Children Australia and the National Children's & Youth Law Center criticized these measures. They regard them as a bad investment and suggest what they consider to be a more efficient use of the funds provided for this purpose in the area of child protection . This could, for example, be a joint media education for parents and children.
  • MyanmarMyanmar Myanmar (Burma): In recent years, Internet censorship has been greatly reduced in Myanmar. More and more citizens can afford access to the Internet thanks to cheap offers from various cell phone companies. Access to social networks, international e-mail providers and news sites is now unrestricted.
Until a few years ago the situation was very different: Since most of the country's citizens could not afford computers for financial reasons, the censorship measures of the military government mainly affect Internet cafes . Access to opposition websites has been systematically blocked, the technology provides, according to Reporters Without Borders and the OpenNet Initiative (2005), the US company Fortinet . Yahoo or Hotmail web-based e-mail programs cannot be used. The computers in the internet cafés save the pages visited every five minutes in order to provide an overview of the activities of the customers. During the demonstrations in 2007 , all internet connections were temporarily switched off in order to prevent messages, pictures and films of the protests from reaching abroad.
The country currently has around 300 million Internet users. The government censors the Internet with a mix of censorship techniques (such as filters), spying and intimidation of users, and demands against foreign Internet companies. "China is the world's largest prison for cyber dissidents with 62 people currently in custody for online publications," said Reporters Without Borders . With the Golden Shield project, the People's Republic of China is the best-known example of strong censorship on the Internet. In addition to pornographic sites, the appearances of religious and political groups that the Chinese government considers harmful, as well as renowned news services are blocked. This concerns u. a. the BBC and, since October 18, 2005, Wikipedia (update: BBC and Wikipedia are now accessible again in China. Very popular sites such as YouTube , Twitter and Facebook are blocked). Wikipedia had refused to block political entries for a Chinese version. According to a report by the Internet newspaper , the Chinese government was probably offended by the entry on the protests on Tiananmen Square in 1989 ( Tian'anmen massacre ). It mentions the 200–300 dead students announced by the government, as well as the estimated 2,000–3,000 dead by the Red Cross. Microsoft , Yahoo and Google, on the other hand, censored the content according to the wishes of the Chinese government, according to the network newspaper (update: Google no longer offers search in China. The website refers to Google search in Hong Kong.). On January 23, 2006 it became known that, after many other search engines, Google China was also manipulating the search . In consultation with the Chinese authorities, sites on topics such as Tibet or Taiwan are not shown to the Chinese public .
  • KazakhstanKazakhstan Kazakhstan : Opinion posts in blogs and chats are placed under special state control for fear of criticism from government opponents and to prevent those who think differently from meeting for protest actions over the Internet. The pages of large blog operators such as Wordpress or Livejournal are blocked, and Facebook reports are also being blocked from time to time.
  • CubaCuba Cuba : Basic internet access is only possible with restrictions for the local population. Cubans can now also use tourist hotels regularly, but have to pay for them in foreign currency. Most of these tourist hotels have slow internet access, which can be accessed without any further control against payment of a ticket in foreign currency. The active bans affect system-critical websites primarily from the USA (e.g. from Cubans in exile). In addition, you need a special permit for private Internet access, which is only granted very restrictively. However, private Internet access via the wired telephone network without a permit is widespread, but this is associated with high telephone costs, but a massive increase in data transmission rates and a reduction in prices is currently imminent due to an Internet submarine cable from Venezuela. The further development of access barriers for further areas remains to be seen.
  • IranIran Iran :
Based on European standard surveillance technology (" Lawful Interception "), one of the world's most extensive technical filter and surveillance systems is operated by the Internet service providers. The Ministry of Information says it is currently blocking hundreds of thousands of websites. This affects sex sites or news sites. An unknown number of bloggers were arrested between fall 2004 and summer 2005. One of them was sentenced in June 2005 to two years' imprisonment for insulting the head of state of the chief Islamic legal scholar Ayatollah Seyyed Alī Chāmene'ī . As Spiegel online announced (July 23, 2006), the Internet was increasingly censored under President Mahmud Ahmadinejad . A central office for filtering , which started its work in the summer of 2006, continues to fight sex sites and sites with undesirable political content. Pages with certain keywords would be blocked. In addition, the employees of the central office specifically searched the web for content that they could censor. In the course of the protests in 2009 , internet censorship was tightened again.
  • MaldivesMaldives Maldives : Reporters Without Borders describes the situation as a “nightmare for cyber dissidents” . The regime under President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom harshly suppressed freedom of expression. The British IT company Cable & Wireless controls Internet access in the Maldives.
  • NepalNepal Nepal : When King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev came to power in February 2005, he was the first to cut all Internet connections. In the meantime, the regime has moved from shutdown to control, with most of the opposition websites being blocked.
  • New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand : Since 2007, tests have been carried out by the Ministry of the Interior with the national telecommunications providers TelstraClear, Watchdog, Maxnet and Ihug in accordance with the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 for setting up network filters against child pornographic websites without public notification . In early 2009, Communications Secretary Steven Joyce declined to install filters and recommended that parents educate themselves to control their children's online access. Since February 2010, unspecified internet providers have been blocking problematic content voluntarily without statutory regulation.
  • Korea NorthNorth Korea North Korea : Only a few thousand privileged people have access to a heavily censored version of the Internet. In this, however, you will find around 30 websites.
  • Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia Saudi Arabia : According to the state authority responsible for the Internet, 400,000 websites are currently blocked because they violate Islamic principles. Mostly these are pages with the content sex, politics or religion. Islamic sites that are compatible with the government's religious views are permitted. Blogger websites are also particularly affected .
  • Korea SouthSouth Korea South Korea : Some websites are blocked, especially pornographic sites, content of North Korean origin (e.g. Uriminzokkiri ), and online services that the authorities consider to be disturbing " public order ".
  • SyriaSyria Syria : Internet access is restricted to a privileged minority. Unpopular websites are filtered out. A Kurdish journalism student is in custody for posting photos of a demonstration in Damascus on a website abroad. Another was imprisoned from 2003 to 2005 for emailing a foreign newspaper. Both were tortured , according to Reporters Without Borders . In December 2007, Syrian internet censorship was tightened. Popular portals such as YouTube , blogspot and Facebook are on the index, as are the homepages of critical newspapers and some political parties. Internet cafes are encouraged to spy on their customers, and since the summer, expressions of opinion have only been allowed to be published with the full name and e-mail address of the author.
  • ThailandThailand Thailand : Internet filtering is officially part of the fight against the spread of pornography. But there are also cases of censorship: In June 2005, the websites of two radio stations critical of the government were closed after the government put pressure on Internet service providers to do so.
  • TunisiaTunisia Tunisia :
Before the 2010/2011 revolution , Internet censorship in Tunisia was among the toughest in the world. The centralized structure of the telecommunications network helped the government and the Internet authority ATI to control the Internet almost completely and to block unwanted sites. In addition to politically critical sites and worldwide news portals, portals such as YouTube and Flickr were also inaccessible. In August 2008 and during the revolution, there were also attempts to block or restrict Facebook . Censored pages appeared as a dead link , there was no reference to the blocking. Several people have been detained for bypassing the internet bans and posting critical content on the internet.
Most of the bans have now been lifted, but pornographic sites are still banned.
  • TurkeyTurkey Turkey : Since 2007, the country's local criminal courts have been able to block websites across the country for pedophile or pornographic content, glorification of drugs, but also insults against the founder of the state Ataturk . The video website YouTube was blocked several times for weeks , but Indymedia, Google Groups and the blog provider Wordpress were also affected by the censorship. In February 2014, censorship was tightened in Turkey. In the future, authorities will be able to block websites without a court order. So was z. B. in March 2014 the Internet service Twitter affected. In addition, the authorities should be given the right to record the surfing behavior of Internet users and to store it for two years without informing those affected. The passage of the new law sparked violent protests in Turkey. On April 29, 2017, access to all Wikipedia language versions in Turkey was blocked due to a preliminary court order. The government justified this with the fact that texts were published on this platform that equate Turkey with terrorists and propagate terror.
  • TurkmenistanTurkmenistan Turkmenistan : It is very difficult to apply for a private internet connection. Since there are only a few internet cafés and only certain companies and international organizations have internet access, most Turkmens are in fact excluded from the internet. "Mobile Internet" has been offered in Turkmenistan via USB modem since 2009. [As of June 2010]
  • UzbekistanUzbekistan Uzbekistan : The situation is similar to that in China: with the rapid spread of Internet connections, so too has censorship. The Uzbek state security often asks providers to block access to opposition websites. Some Internet cafes point out that visiting porn sites with the equivalent of four euros fine, which is punished by unpopular political sites with eight euros fine.
  • United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates : The Internet connections in the Emirates are controlled by ecompany, a subsidiary of the state-owned Etisalat . Websites containing pornography, "Jewish propaganda", scriptures and media inconsistent with the UAE's religious, cultural, political and moral values ​​will be blocked. Instructions on computer sabotage, circumvention of ecompany censorship, internet telephony (providers other than ecompany) and content that apparently advertises drugs are also affected. It will also block websites that the government believes contain undesirable information. In November 2012, the President, Khalifa bin Zayid Al Nahyan , issued a decree threatening various activities on the Internet, including the derision of state institutions or Islam, with prison terms. The decree also includes calls for unauthorized demonstrations or protest rallies. In addition to detention, it provides for the seizure of information technology equipment and a ban on Internet use as a possible sanction.
  • United StatesUnited States United States : Various media outlets reported US government efforts to restrict access to WikiLeaks information, and public employees and students seeking public employment were instructed not to access or link to it. The warning to students was later withdrawn, stating that it came from an overzealous employee. The Guardian reported that access to WikiLeaks was blocked for federal employees, as well as in the Library of Congress , the Department of Commerce and other government institutions. Employees of the Department of Homeland Security complained that their work is affected by and more damage will done, in that they could not see what information see the rest of the world now. An employee said that private computers were also affected.
The New York Times reported that the United States Air Force is banning its employees from accessing media websites that cover WikiLeaks extensively, including the New York Times itself, the Guardian , Le Monde , El País, and Der Spiegel .
The Bank of America stopped bank transfers to WikiLeaks and also locked their employees access to web pages.
The Monterey Herald revealed in June 2013 that the United States Army had blocked its employees from accessing the British Guardian after revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden about global surveillance by the NSA as part of the PRISM program.
  • United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom : In 2013, David Cameron's government introduced filters against sites related to pornography, violence, extremism, anorexia and eating disorders, suicide, alcohol, smoking, "web forums" and esotericism, internet blocking, contraception, abortion, venereal diseases, sex education and "respect for the partner". Homosexual lifestyles were removed from the list following protests. The filters can be turned off.
  • VietnamVietnam Vietnam : A dedicated Internet police force filters politically unpopular content from the Internet and controls the Internet cafés. Three cyber dissidents have been jailed for more than three years for speaking out for more democracy online.
  • BelarusBelarus Belarus : The government is using the state monopoly in communications to block access to opposition websites at will, this is used primarily during election times. On January 6, 2012, a law (“317-3”) came into force, which implemented a decree by Aljaksandr Lukashenka from 2010 and is seen as a reaction to anti -government protests organized through the Internet in 2011. Since then, foreign Internet services are no longer allowed to be used for e-mails, financial transactions, the distribution of goods and services. Providers must implement content censorship, and users of shared computers, for example in Internet cafés, must identify themselves; their activities are recorded.

Legally questionable practices and intentions

In addition to open censorship, there are legally or internationally questionable practices and projects in connection with freedom of expression on the web .

  • European UnionEuropean Union European Union : The EU Directive 2000/31 / EC of June 8, 2000 on e-commerce makes providers responsible for the content of the websites they host and requires them to block them if they are aware of their existence and they classify them as illegal. According to the organization Reporters Without Borders , this creates a kind of private legal system in which the providers and their technicians exercise the judicial office.
  • The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have in 2003 a continuation of the action plan for the safe use of the Internet approved. More action should be taken against illegal and harmful content.
  • The American Project for the New American Century , whose members were in the Bush administration (since 2001), published a document in September in which the Internet is of great importance in modern warfare and information policy and procurement (“ the creation of 'US Space Forces', to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent 'enemies' using the internet against the US ”).
  • At the ministerial meeting of the G8 interior and justice ministers at the end of May 2009, the countries agreed on a G8-wide international negative list to block websites that contain documentation of the sexual abuse of children.
  • At the 38th European Regional Conference of the ICPO- Interpol at the end of May 2009, in order to send a clear signal at international level in the fight against child pornography on the Internet and to take into account the fact that the Internet is playing an increasingly central role in the spread of Child pornography, the creation of a global "blacklist" of Internet addresses based on supplies from all Interpol member states is recommended. These recommendations were reaffirmed at the 78th General Assembly in Singapore in October 2009 .
  • In Israel, in July 2009, the Knesset's Legal Affairs Committee rejected a bill to control the Internet. The ministers rejected the bill with a majority of seven to one. Various legal experts protested against the proposal, arguing that such a law would restrict Israeli citizens' right to free information and privacy.

Censorship and Nongovernmental Groups and Corporations

According to human rights organizations, large Internet providers are aiding and abetting censorship in countries with restricted freedom of expression. In Myanmar, according to Reporters Without Borders, the US company Fortinet supplies the technology to block oppositional websites. Leading US Internet companies such as Yahoo , Cisco Systems , Microsoft and Google have been accused by Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International of collaborating with Chinese censorship agencies. There are no such accusations in connection with in Germany, but will inform the user if a search result is not displayed for “legal reasons”.

Even non-governmental groups try to prevent critical information by legal means, such as Scientology (see Scientology against the Internet ). Search engines like Google remove sites from the search results that are not in accordance with the terms and conditions are the search engine. Websites that were subject to a “Google penalty” can practically not be found by most users in view of Google's market power of over 90% in Germany. Opponents of this approach demand search neutrality . However, neither is censorship in the legal sense.

On April 17, 2009, five German Internet providers ( Deutsche Telekom , Vodafone Kabel Deutschland , O2 , Arcor and Alice ) signed voluntary contracts with the federal government to block websites in Germany , according to which they undertake to block pages with documentation on abused children . The contracts stipulate that the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) sends daily updated, secret and encrypted blacklists of websites with problematic content to the provider.


The effect of censorship measures is controversial, as the incriminated content is usually mirrored and made accessible outside the access area of ​​the censor in the course of the censorship critics becoming aware of the censorship . Through censorship and the associated media coverage, a larger group of people only gains knowledge of the censored content ( Streisand effect ).

The problem with blocking access to individual websites or IP addresses, e.g. B. by content filters , is that this usually also prevents access to additional content, websites and e-mail addresses.

The restriction of an access block exclusively to the content complained of by the censor is technically complex, costly and associated with a loss of performance.

Technical and legal countermeasures

In the event of blocks by the Internet provider - depending on the technical implementation of the access block - the original content can still be accessed without problems using DNS servers , proxy servers , Freenet , Picidae servers or VPNs , which may also be located abroad . Some services such as the Tor network and anonymizer , which were developed to protect anonymity on the Internet , can also be used like proxy servers to break access barriers.

The easiest way to access blocked pages is to access them not via the domain , but directly via the corresponding IP addresses in the web browser , which is not a major problem with Whois services. In possible practice, however, it is much more likely that circumvention by the user is not necessary if the provider regularly changes his domain name and notifies this via newsletters or lets the domain dynamically resolve using OpenDNS . This would completely cancel the blockage.

A project by the University of Toronto called Psiphon has made it possible to bypass internet censorship through so-called social networks since December 2006 .

The Global Online Freedom Act was intended to prevent US software companies like Google or Microsoft from participating in censorship as a means of repressive politics in certain countries.


The desire for censorship can also be aroused in the general public through appropriate reporting on web content perceived as immoral. An example is the case of Chester's guide to: Picking up little girls , in which an English newspaper initiated a moral campaign with false information, which readers and politicians followed uncritically.

Various providers of services to circumvent censorship on the Internet store and sell data that is suitable for user identification.

In 2012 there were extensive lockdown measures in connection with the YouTube video Innocence of Muslims , especially in the Arab region .

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Election campaign of the paragraph surfers . , September 24, 1998.
  2. Update: Denying the Holocaust on the Internet is punishable under German law . Heise online
  3. BGH extends jurisdiction of German courts., December 13, 2000, accessed October 11, 2012 .
  4. Arcor has to block YouPorn .
  5. Regional Court Frankfurt am Main, judgment of February 8, 2008 Az .: 3/12 O 171/07, Computer und Recht CR 2008, 536
  6. CIRCAMP - COSPOL Internet Related Child Abusive Material Project. ( Memento of November 3, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Europol , October 2008.
  7. Child porn bans in an international comparison . Heise online , February 20, 2009.
  8. a b EU pushes plans for Europe-wide web blocking . Heise online , March 24, 2010.
  9. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council - An area of ​​freedom, security and justice serving the citizen: Wider freedom in a safer environment. (PDF; 138 kB) , June 10, 2009.
  10. EDRi Newsletter European Digital Rights , October 8, 2009 in German translation., October 13, 2009.
  11. ^ Draft Council Conclusions on an Action Plan for the Implementation of the Concerted Strategy to Combat Cybercrime. (PDF; 123 kB) Draft Council Conclusions on an Action Plan to implement the Concerted Strategy to combat cybercrime. (PDF; 442 kB) Council of the European Union, March 8, 2010.
  12. Philipp Sümmermann: France imposes network block on "Copwatch" . Zeit Online , October 19, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2011. "In France there are three laws that provide for Internet blocks ..."
  13. in the English language Wikipedia
  14. Guilty until proven innocent. Telepolis , February 9, 2009.
  15. Finnish internet censorship critic blacklisted . Wikinews , February 12, 2008.
  16. ^ Fortress Europa - Erosion freedom of speech in Europe. See Technicalities .
  17. Sweden's police: child porn filters are not very effective. , March 28, 2009.
  18. Clean IT: The EU wants to keep the Internet “clean” and “healthy” ., February 24, 2012, accessed June 7, 2012.
  19. About the project , accessed June 7, 2012.
  20. Schäuble wants to internationalize the fight against child pornography . heise online, January 16, 2009.
  21. Internet providers demand clear legal regulations for access blocking . heise online, January 15, 2009.
  22. How to magic away encroachments on fundamental rights ., February 19, 2009.
  23. Schavan for blocking violent sites on the Internet . ( Memento of March 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) AFP, March 19, 2009.
  24. Hiding problematic content only protects the perpetrators . ( Memento from February 15, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Chaos Computer Club , February 12, 2009.
  25. Federal government wants Internet blocks with access controls - state data protection officers: clicking every unknown link becomes a risk ., April 21, 2009.
  26. Child porn bans: "Frontal attack on free communication" feared . heise online, April 21, 2009.
  27. Internet censorship: CareChild attempt embarrasses German politicians . CareChild e. V. March 2, 2009.
  28. Delete instead of hiding: It works! AK censorship , May 27, 2009.
  29. Web DNS blocking: Civil rights activists demand "Abolish instead of procrastinating". In: October 25, 2009, accessed February 23, 2015 .
  30. a b ab ( Memento from October 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  32. Child porn bans shortly with five providers ., April 11, 2009
  33. Petition: Internet - No indexing or blocking of Internet pages . ( Memento from May 25, 2012 in the web archive ) German Bundestag, April 22, 2009. Accessed on June 9, 2009.
  34. ^ Report ( memento of April 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) on, April 5, 2011
  35. Bundestag overturns internet blocks . In: Frankfurter Rundschau , December 1, 2011
  36. Screenshot of the blocked page for Swiss IP addresses
  37. ^ Campaign «Stop child pornography on the Internet!»: The horse is harnessed by the tail . ( Memento from December 18, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  38. Martin Steiger, Censorship on the Internet: What's Next with Network Blocking in Switzerland? , at: Steiger Legal, June 10, 2018
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  40. Mirror Link for
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