• 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
Greece crisis
Chorus grows for Grexit as midnight strikes
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras preparing for an interview on public television on Monday evening. Photo: DPA

Chorus grows for Grexit as midnight strikes

Hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel's announcement on Monday that she remained open to further talks with Greece, an increasing number of politicians in Germany were calling for Greece to be gently ushered out of the euro. READ  

Greece crisis
Germany's Greeks look anxiously homeward
Antonius Chantzaras in his kiosk. Photo: DPA

Germany's Greeks look anxiously homeward

As crisis engulfs their homeland, members of the Greek community in Germany look anxiously homeward and reflect on how the crisis is already traveling back to Germany. READ  

Women's World Cup
Semi-final clash with US 'like a final'
Germany coach Silvia Neid. Photo: DPA

Semi-final clash with US 'like a final'

Ahead of Tuesday's semi-final clash against the Unites States in the Women's World Cup, Germany coach Silvia Neid warned that her team would not be relinquishing their status as the world's number one team yet. READ  

Germanwings co-pilot buried in silence
A man walks past a makeshift memorial to the Germanwings flight 4U9525 victims in Düsseldorf airport. Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot buried in silence

As the co-pilot who steered Germanwings flight 4U9525 into the French Alps in March was buried on Monday, the authorities prepared to unveil the first steps they will take to improve air safety. READ  

Feisty mum attacks kids with pepperspray
Photo: DPA

Feisty mum attacks kids with pepperspray

A 20-year-old mother attacked a group of children with pepper-spray on Sunday believing they weren't being considerate enough with her own child. READ  

Tunisia terrorist attack
Second German confirmed among dead
Photo: DPA

Second German confirmed among dead

UPDATE: The Foreign Ministry confirmed on Monday that at least two Germans were killed in the terrorist attack in Tunisia which took the lives of nearly forty people. READ  

Boy sues classmate over sore bottom
Photo: DPA

Boy sues classmate over sore bottom

A 15-year-old boy from Hanover is suing his classmate after he pulled a chair from underneath him as he was about to sit down. READ  

Two refugee home 'attacks' in as many days
Police guard a refugee home in Freital, Saxony. Photo: DPA

Two refugee home 'attacks' in as many days

Two planned refugee homes have gone up in flames in two days in suspected arson attacks by far-right groups. In both cases the homes were still unoccupied and no injuries have been reported. READ  

Nato warns Germany: pay your fair share
Photo: DPA

Nato warns Germany: pay your fair share

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warned on Monday that Germany and other EU countries should increase their defence spending to meet the alliance's targets as crises develop around the world. READ  

Cycling group launches emergency repair service
Photo: DPA

Cycling group launches emergency repair service

Germany's bicycle association is introducing a new service for its members. If they have a puncture, all they need to do is put in a call and a repair man will be on his way to fix it. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
Politics
Follow our LIVE blog as Europe holds breath over Greece crisis
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
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
National
German restaurants among world's best
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

6,715
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd