Experts say child porn block may not work

The German cabinet meets on Wednesday to discuss a plan to block child pornography websites, but experts warn that the virtual barriers will only stop amatuer web browsers.

Experts say child porn block may not work
Photo: DPA

Family Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a mother of seven, introduced the plan in January, and has since found strong backing from lawmakers.

“If a large country like Germany expands technical blocks for child pornography sites, it jump starts the rest of Europe,” Europol head Max-Peter Ratzel said, adding that so far only five of the 27 EU countries had created national lists of blocked sites.

Von der Leyen has said she expects all seven of the country’s ISP’s – which cover 95 percent of the internet market – have signed a binding agreement to block traffic to these sites based on the CIRCAMP system, developed in Norway in 2004.

The system blocks entry to known child pornography sites with a red stop sign graphic and a message. So far nine European countries use the system, among them the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

But many internet industry experts are worried that her goal may not be technically viable.

Bernhard Rohleder from information technology association Bitkom told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday that while the group welcomed the political initiative, the programme would likely only work against amateur users.

“We can’t do anything about that,” he said.


German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.