Family minister aims to block child porn sites

German Minister for Family Affairs Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday she wants a law that allows authorities to block access to internet sites featuring child pornography.

Family minister aims to block child porn sites
Photo: DPA

“I want to build a barrier against the flood of offending photographs by blocking access for the user,” von der Leyen told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt in an interview.

“Social neglect and abuse of children and the increasing content of child pornography online are a special issue for me. The numbers are developing at an explosive rate, and the amount of pictures has doubled in the last year,” she told the paper.

Von der Leyen plans to tighten regulations for electronic media, enlisting internet providers to immediately shut down offending sites that have been listed by the Federal Crime Office.

“The pictures are getting more and more violent,” she said. Every third victim of child pornography is younger than three-years-old, according to the family minister, who added that some federal police investigators even need psychological care because they are traumatized by the content of the pornographic videos featuring juveniles in sexual situations.

Von der Leyen said that while other European countries like Great Britain had managed to stem the flow of such images by blocking access to offending sites, the voluntary scheme had been ineffective in Germany.

She questioned whether internet providers are really interested in blocking access to such content, saying that there will be acrimonious resistance from some providers if a law is passed.

“I am destroying a booming online trade, built on the backs of battered children,” von der Leyen said. “The bitter truth is that only half of the countries outlaw child pornography. The other half just tolerates it.”

The mother of seven also announced the January introduction of a child protection and safety act that will allow the exchange of child neglect data between government departments.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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