Censorship and scareware in Germany

I found Terence's HTTP code for censorship post and especially the comments interesting.

Without entering the debate, I'm against censorship since I think it's a slippery slope, though I find recently observed German way of doing things most disturbing. i.e. the subversive way "media control" is conducted Germany.

For example you are free to use site like TPB, however your ISP is liable to identify you IIUC. I'm not sure how they do this, I guess there are "honey traps" commissioned by lawyers in Germany and then once they know your (German) IP, the lawyers then contact you with scareware. The scareware is a letter basically claiming you were using illegally file sharing and tells you to pay ~1000EUR. An admission of guilt, gets the charge dropped to ~300EUR.

The consequences if you do not pay, is that you will be sued. Many Germans have been subjected to this "scam" (empty threat) and find it difficult to talk about. Perhaps I'm too biased using the word "scam", since I really don't see how you can realistically prove this in a court of law. Of course, their letter is carefully crafted to make you confess.

I'm starting to think Cleanfeed's blocking TPB in England is a much more "transparent" (ironically) way of blocking access. I prefer this simple block this over being later threatened, which is far more scary. Worse is when you are not aware you are being censored. UK's Cleanfeed IMO should disclose their blacklist, so society can scrutinise it, like Google does in their transparency report.

The workaround Germans are using is surprisingly reminiscent of the way Iranians I found were circumventing censorship. Iranians IIRC use Canadian VPN providers and I've heard of Germans using Slovakian ones. Worryingly inefficient use of bandwidth!

Another interesting aspect to politics is how surprisingly well the Pirate party fare in Germany.

There is definitely an issue worthy of discussion here.


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