• Germany's news in English
 

Police raid paper HQ for forum user's details

Published: 29 Jan 2013 09:48 GMT+01:00

The anonymous reader of the Augsburger Allgemeinen newspaper left in vicious comments online directed at Volker Ullrich, an Augsburg conservative politician who had a hand in planned changes to handling street prostitution last autumn.

Deeming the comments libelous, Ullrich demanded the contact details of the user so he could press charges.

As comments on articles can be left anonymously, which the user had done, the politician couldn't sue his online opponent. But the paper said giving the details away was against readers' data protection rights.

So on Monday afternoon police arrived at the Augsburger Allgemeinen with a search warrant from court and demanded the editorial team hand over the files.

Outrage on Twitter and Facebook soon followed, then later that night Ullrich said he would not be pressing charges after all – as long as the anonymous commenter apologized to him.

DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:39 January 29, 2013 by lucksi
Seriously? A raid for libel? What do the fines for libel cost? 300 to 500 Euro? And a judge signed off on the search warrant?

Yeah, they would totally do the same for the average Joe, right?
10:46 January 29, 2013 by pepsionice
Before everyone jumps in to defend journalism....consider the fact that no matter who you are....if you go after and insult people in a harsh manner....you can be dragged into court. Pretending to be safe as "anonymous" and use some newspaper forum for such behavior....just doesn't work. In the next day or two....some guy is going to find the cops at his door and taking downtown to be interviewed. I will feel sorry for him....but the truth is....you can run around doing harsh insults on public people and think you are completely safe.
11:47 January 29, 2013 by simski
This is absolutely ridiculous. The judge should probably have consulted someone on the technical details. 1) It is very unlikely that the user can be found, even if they have his user records. 2) If the police seized the usage data, they probably took the whole database, or at least the whole table of user information instead of executing a neat MySQL-statement to just get the data the need. That would mean exposing the data of hundreds of innocent users to scrutiny. It would be like raiding a whole suburb to find a stolen teapot.

This is why we need judges and politicians who know what the f--k they are doing.
12:35 January 29, 2013 by michael4096
The webserver logs almost certainly have the IP address of the poster, so unless he was using a foreign proxy he can be traced easily in Germany.
12:36 January 29, 2013 by Olentangy
There was (or perhaps still is) an international school in Heiligenhaus (near Essen) where I live. Someone, a disgruntled former teacher I think, set up a website that has a lot of harsh things to say about the school. Anyway, the site is hosted in the United States specifically to be out of reach of German law. My point is, what will happen if they see the guy's IP address is in the States or even, I don't know, Austria? Or what if the guy making the rude comments was using a VPN? Big waste of time if you ask me. Politicians are in the public eye; they had better have a thick skin.
13:07 January 29, 2013 by raandy
Olentangy they have freedom of speech in the US ,if this persons IP address shows as US , they are going to run into a wall a big wall.

pepsionice .. I would agree with you in part, but if the person made threats or made statements that are proven slanders and untrue then ok, but if the person says he thinks U is a jerk off or A hole that is his opinion and he is entitled to it with out fear of prosecution in a criminal setting, That said ,I understand the difference here as apposed to the US when we say "Freedom of Speech"
20:50 January 29, 2013 by yourkeau
God bless CSU and Herr Volker Ullrich, thank you very much for allowing me to live in Bavaria and write comments on this forum. God bless Bavarian polizei for protecting us from all these serious crimes. Good job!
00:34 January 30, 2013 by chicagolive
Anybody notice how it is getting hard for the average person to speak out against politicians here lately.
08:35 January 30, 2013 by Englishted
Ah just like the good old days of 80 years ago .

First they came for ........

Hope you know the rest.
Today's headlines
Unemployment hovers at historic low
A construction worker in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Unemployment hovers at historic low

German unemployment stayed at 6.4 percent in July, the lowest level since reunification almost a quarter century ago, despite an unexpected rise of 9,000 jobless, the federal labour office said on Thursday. READ  

Lifted by cheap fuel, Lufthansa triples profit
Photo: DPA

Lifted by cheap fuel, Lufthansa triples profit

German airline Lufthansa, still reeling from the crash of one of its Germanwings planes in March over the French Alps, said on Thursday it tripled net profit in the second quarter, helped by cheap fuel. READ  

Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Manuel Neuer. Photo: DPA

Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe

World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has faced a wave of derision on social media since giving a cringe-worthy interview to football magazine Kicker explaining his choice of commercial partners. READ  

Shoot-out near Ku'damm leaves bystander injured
Photo: DPA

Shoot-out near Ku'damm leaves bystander injured

A shoot-out near Germany's most iconic shopping street, the Kurfürstendamm in west Berlin, left an apparently innocent bystander injured after she was shot in the leg on Wednesday evening. READ  

Refugees live in fear of German far-right
A Pegida demonstration in Dresden in May. Photo: DPA

Refugees live in fear of German far-right

It's an astonishing statement for a refugee from war-torn Syria, but Taher has had enough of the xenophobia he has experienced in Germany. READ  

Germany heightens travel warning for Turkey
A view of Istanbul. Photo: DPA.

Germany heightens travel warning for Turkey

The German government has issued more severe warnings about travelling to Turkey after a string of terror attacks in the south of the country, and as Ankara intensifies conflict against two militias in Syria and Iraq. READ  

Fireman turned arsonist jailed for 3 years
Fire services extinguish an unrelated fire in Hamburg in 2011. Photo: DPA

Fireman turned arsonist jailed for 3 years

After a series of arson attacks over several months, an ex-fireman has been sentenced to three years in jail without chance of bail. READ  

Mother slams IKEA for rejecting autistic son
Photo: DPA

Mother slams IKEA for rejecting autistic son

A mother from North Rhine-Westphalia has accused furniture chain IKEA of debasement, discrimination and marginalization – after employees in their Dortmund store refused to let her autistic son into the children's play area. READ  

Wallaby goes walkabout in Berlin outback
Photo: Gemeinde Nuthe-Urstromtal

Wallaby goes walkabout in Berlin outback

A woman in a village south of Berlin was shocked to find a rather unusual visitor in her garden on Tuesday. But by the time police got there he'd already bounced. READ  

Munich upholds ban on Jewish 'memory blocks'
A pedestrian walks by a group of Stolpersteine. Photo: DPA

Munich upholds ban on Jewish 'memory blocks'

The Munich City Council said on Wednesday that it had voted to continue banning the placement of blocks commemorating Jewish Holocaust victims in city streets - a ban that garnered surprising support from Jewish community leaders. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,175
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd