• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Police raid paper HQ for forum user's details

The Local · 29 Jan 2013, 09:48

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.

Story continues below…

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
Far-right AfD leader injured by flying frozen cake
Jörg Meuthen and a cake. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right AfD party was attacked with a cake while attending a political event on Monday. But the fact the dessert was frozen made the act "dangerous", according to the politician.

Underwater pensioner hunts boats on famed Bavarian lake
A passenger boat on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

"I love chasing the ships, and what a great feeling it is when they sound the horn!" he gleefully exclaims.

What are Merkel's chances for remaining Chancellor?
Photo: DPA.

She's already held the Chancellery for over a decade, but infighting with political allies as well as a rocky response to her refugee policies may put a damper on Angela Merkel's staying power.

German EU commissioner doubts Brexit will happen
EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Photo: EPA.

Germany's EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger raised doubts on Tuesday about whether Britain would leave the bloc, saying he wouldn't bet on "Brexit".

Merkel offers Russia a lifting of sanctions - if it behaves
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she has "the very greatest interest in stopping sanctions" against Russia, Reuters reports.

'Idiot' youth lets regional train drive over him as dare
Photo: DPA

In a stunt police have described as "incomprehensible idiocy," a drunk young man from Munich lay down on the tracks in front of a fast-moving train and let it ride over him.

'Unfriendly' Germans make expat life harder: report
Photo: Pexels.com

Expats in Germany generally find it great for families and starting a career, but were turned off by the language barriers and "unfriendly" Germans upon arrival, according to a new report.

Is German diplomacy getting too chummy with Russia?
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA/AFP Pool.

Critics have been questioning the German Foreign Minister's recent series of comments about working closer with Russia, with some labelling the diplomat a "Russia-sympathizer".

Police investigate after mosque door is bricked shut
The bricked-up door. Photo: Facebook/Netzwerk für Flüchtlinge in Parchim.

Unknown people have bricked up the entrance to a mosque in northeastern Germany and stuck racist flyers to their masonry work.

Vice-Chancellor: TTIP trade deal is dead
Photo: DPA

Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday that negotiations on a massive trade deal between the European Union and the United States were effectively dead in the water.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
7,595
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd