back to article German police boot down doors of Wikileaks offices

Government's tendency to moprh from blocking "child porn" to censoring discussion of all government censorship was illustrated this week when German Police raided the offices of Wikileaks Germany. The German plods hit the whistle-blowing and anti-censorship group with the officially stated aims of "discovery of evidence" for " …


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  1. Mark S

    Nothing to see here, move along

    Government knows best what you need to know, children. Now get back to work and keep those taxes flowing.

  2. Dave


    "Not only is it now prohibited to look at certain sites in Australia, it is prohibited to know which sites are prohibited."

    Surely that provides a bit of a problem for any ISP in Oz - they now have to break the law in order to enforce it. Or does that mean it is okay if the list is 'only read by a machine'?

    ROTM - One law for the machines, and a different law for humans...

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Think of the children

    It really is distressing to see all these politicians jumping on the child porn bandwaggon as a convenient excuse for censorship or, in the case of Prof. von der Leyen as a desperate gamble to get noticed in the run up to an election - she is largely a minister without portfolio as most of the topics she tries to cover are the responsibility of the states rather than the federal government. She has absolutely no brief whatsoever when it comes to the internet. But that probably won't stop the bill becoming law and then be abused just as the article suggests. The ISPs, to their credit, have said it's waste of time but they'll comply as long as they don't have to pay for anything.

    Can I have a Marvin icon? I'm feeling so damn depressed!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not I. This is an invevitable extension in "the war on freedom" the powers that be are engaged in.

    Freedom and Justice are dead, the final nails are being put in their coffins now, it's far too late to stem this tide. We may well never see their likes again.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Not to sure that I agree with any website publishing a list of blocked sites, especially if said sites do contain child abuse images.

    Over here we have the IWF with their own list, which is not even viewable by ISP's, if scum find out their website is on this list, then they will take action to remedy it, it also gives scum who want to view such web sites, an easily accessable list of sites which contain child abuse images.

    I'm all for free speech, but I'm much more for the right of children to have a childhood without the fear that a grownup will use them for theirs and others sexual pleasure.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sounds like a resurgence of the gestapo and the SS.

    Let's raid them for pornography and then demand they close the site down even though it has nothing to do with pornography.

    I'm surprised that Wacky Jacky hasn't tried that here with a suitable target website.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    WIKILEAKS Mirror

    Can you you run a mirror site - or can their site be distributed over multiple servers so the whole entity can't be taken down from a single point? This service looks like a useful counterbalance in the surveillance society and needs to be protected.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pity the plod

    Given that these actions seem to be politically motivated and are 100% guaranteed to backfire in a spectacular manner, what career minded police officer would want to get their hands dirty with them?

    Unless they are as dumb as the officers involved in the Damian Green case are trying to make out they are (which quite clearly they couldn't be)...

  9. Dennis
    Black Helicopters

    The next step

    "the next step may be ... merely informing other people of where it is accessible"

    Followed soon after by blocking discussions of what constitutes child porn.

    And then we reach the ineffable game. Except this time it's a politician.

  10. Jamie

    Why did we fight in WWII

    Honestly, I thought the reason for fighting in WWII and during the Cold War was ot preserve our freedoms from the cold hands of the Communists and Facists.

    Would it not have been better to have surrendered back then, as the gov't is slowly bringing in the laws required to put it to the form of gov't those people died for back then.

    There will be no freedom as long as the structures that supposedly represent freedom are burnt, as they are currently infected with a cancer that can only be removed through force.

  11. Mark Leaver

    I'm Australian...

    And I am very much against the censoring of the internet in any form what so ever.

    And if anyone wants to accuse me of being soft on child porn and having a pro-paedophilia agenda, I would like to point out to them that I have 2 sisters who were sexually molested by a member of the roman catholic church back in the late 1970s.

    If anything, I feel that the laws and society are too lenient towards the rockspiders and they should be treated like any other criminal.

    All this sort of treatment is, is a blind attempt to keep the general population of the world dumbed down and blindly watching the latest edition of a popular reality tv show while the government gets you all lubed up ready for your next anal probing.

    Pirates... because in most cases, the government hates the competition...

  12. ratfox


    Searching wikileaks for distribution of child porn... Don't they need to have a reasonable suspicion before doing something like that??

  13. Karl
    Black Helicopters

    Illegal pointers

    "merely informing other people of where it is accessible."

    That's what the Pirate Bay trial is all about.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The obvious next step

    is to for all those that report on sites that hint about sites that might possibly contain tidbits of information deemed not suitable for consumption by people with twice the IQ of your average government minister to be declared child pornography...

    Somewhere, some one-testicled painter-cum-dictator is giggling a "told you so": In the name of protecting children people will accept anything.

    I wish I could use one of the icons, but none match the seriousness of this situation

  15. Pyrrho Huxley
    Jobs Horns

    Free Speech and Censorship

    Anonymous Coward said "I'm all for free speech, but I'm much more for the right of children to have a childhood without the fear that a grownup will use them for theirs and others sexual pleasure."

    This is the usual red herring trotted out by tyrants and authoritarians. But, there's no evidence yet that the current round of censorship - criminalising browsing, viewing and owning pictures - actually protects children. What protects children is arresting, convicting and imprisoning child molestors. Unfortunately for the enemies of freedom, there's some evidence that pornography may reduce sex attacks (see It may turn out that the current round of censorship is counter-productive, i.e. it may lead to more attacks on children, rather than fewer attacks on children. This would be a terrible outcome, which could be avoided by reducing hysteria and ban-o-mania.

  16. RW

    @ RotaCyclic

    "I'm surprised that Wacky Jacky hasn't tried that here with a suitable target website."

    Don't give that unspeakably evil woman ideas.

    I no longer think it's right to call her "wacky" in any spelling. She's not wacky. She is probably a tool of the proponents of a police state, and rather unwittingly okays all they say, but as the ancient adage has it, you will know the tree by the fruit it bears. By that analysis, "evil" is clearly more a propos.

    Her sin is one of omission: failure to think through the consequences of her pliability.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    prohibited to know which sites are prohibited

    Since this article says that the wikileaks site is prohibited, then surely the Reg. should be prohibited as well?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems to be a lot of history there

    On Slashdot, they suggested that it was connected to the wiki-leaks about the German BND (=Deutsch CIA), they carried this leaked report for example, about BND employing reporters of German magazines, and Wikileaks had been threatened by the BND repeatedly:

    Plus they leaked the secret block of IP addresses used by the BND in Germany.

    Seems to be a lot of animosity between the German BND and Wikileaks, and this has given them an excuse to go on a raid via the police. But if distributing the list is a crime, then IWF is guilty.

    I'm also curious if you diffed that BND IP address list against German Wikipedia and comment boards and forums etc. what that would show.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone who says...

    "I'm all for freedom of speech, but..." - isn't.

  21. Stuart Van Onselen

    WIKILEAKS Mirror

    "can their site be distributed over multiple servers?"

    IIRC, that is exactly what they already do. Multiple sites across multiple jurisdictions. Makes a meaningful take-down rather tricky to achieve.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As old George said, rights arn't rights at all if someone can take them away, they're privallages.

    If you want to find out about rights look up 1942 and Japanese Americans to find out what those scribbles on a bit of paper are really worth when they become inconvenient.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hrm by AC

    The reason for publishing the blocklists is not to indicate where to find child porn but to highlight where sites that have nothing to do with porn have ended up on the blocklists. It is to show how governemnt ministers/officials are using the excuse that they actually care about anyone else's children and are not just using such mechanisms to remove criticism of their activites, some of which might get them un-elected or sacked.

  24. Lionel Baden

    when can we get our own private internet !!

    Im gonna go buy myself a old irridium mobile from the car boot sale next weekend !

  25. Bad Beaver

    Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit

    ...or "toss it". While von der Leyen (or Angry Ursel, as I like to say) saw plenty of opposition when she first came up with her questionable ideas due to very valid concerns over implications on future decisions and disaccord with our Grundgesetz, media is now applauding the ability of cross-party agreement "all for the children". I literally saw the line "everything must be done" written this morning. This country is going nuts. It has been on the brink for quite a while, but election year seems to bring out the worst in everyone. To elaborate, von der Leyen's response to critique was to stamp her foot and exclaim "it makes me so irate!". For all her previous merits, her current ways are just intolerable. Nuts!

    I also just LOVE the apparent constitutional incompetence on side of the police, with its Stasi-Style nonchalance. Dresden and Jena eh? Maybe they just liked to live up the warm fuzz of times long passed.

  26. Jeremy
    Paris Hilton

    @ AC "Hrm"

    "I'm all for free speech, but I'm much more for the right of children to have a childhood without the fear that a grownup will use them for theirs and others sexual pleasure."

    The Children. Oh! Won't somebody please think of them!?!?!

    Obviously, if "the list" solely contained child porn URIs then most people would agree with you but as has been so obviously proven time and time again in different countries, it's not just that sort of content that ends up on the block lists.

    There has to be oversight otherwise the powerful will abuse their power. It seems that for the time being at least, the best oversight for internet content blocking that we have is Wikileaks.

    Blocking child porn: Good.

    Blocking other material that the government doesn't like under the guise of blocking child porn and then blocking material that exposes your misuse of power: Bad.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the world coming to?

    I find myself agreeing with David Wiernicki!

  28. hugo tyson
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Anyone who says...

    Yeah, it's in the "but" isn't it. "I'm not a prude but..." yes they are; "I'm not a killjoy but..." yes they are.

    "I don't want to interfere but...." "We don't want to meddle in peoples' private lives but..."

    As always the govt is attacking the easy target and thus also making criminals of innocents, especially where they criminalise pix which "look like" schoolgirls, if the actresses are over-18, or are cartoons, they're making criminals of innocents over a victimless crime. Rather than actually hunting and prosecuting child molesters and rapists and torturers.

  29. Jamie

    "I'm all for freedom of speech, but..." - isn't.

    I have had this type of arguement with my mother in-law. She keeps harping on about the idea that it is about protecting people.

    If we were back in Shakespeare times she would have been one of those looking to have his plays burnt, while today they are classified as masterpieces.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Wiernicki

    ""I'm all for freedom of speech, but..." - isn't."

    There is a point when freedom of speech stops being freedom of speech and becomes a crime. I'm Welsh and as a kid moved to England, which means I had to face the racial barrage that followed, simply because I was Welsh.

    There is a difference between protecting peoples legal right to speech, and protecting people who's only intention is to hurt other people, either physically or mentally.

    So being "for freedom of speech but.." isn't the sign of someone against free speech, its a sign of someone who believes the civil liberties of one person should *never* be infringed by the civil liberties of another person, and if that restricts their freedoms in some way, then so be it.

    Those idiots recently who were at the homecoming of our guys with their anti-war slogans calling our guys murderers, I don't agree with what they said, but I agree that it is their right to say what they said, but I do *not* agree when the banners are "kill someone!" "stone gays!" and that stuff, that isn't freedom of speech, thats just hate.

  31. Bounty

    ok, so they have a list of pedo sites

    ok, so they have a list of pedo sites... So why the FFFF are they just sitting on that info. Shouldn't they be persuing the ISP and the authorities who would have jurisdiction? Any Austrailian site on the Austrailian block list, should just get taken down duh. If you wanna really battle pedo sites, then report them to someone who will do something. If you're pedo site is hosted somewhere hostile you might have a problem... nah, DDOS em. When they call to complain, tell em take the porn down and we'll talk. Wikileaks is part of the solution here.

  32. Sillyfellow


    "Not only is it now prohibited to look at certain sites in Australia, it is prohibited to know which sites are prohibited."

    this is just not workable or acceptable at all.

    so surfing around the internet could land you in the slammer, when you have no way at all of knowing if you're looking at banned material or not? then lets say you get arrested and charged for 'viewing banned material', but how were you supposed to know in the first place?

    surley you can't be charged for doing something that you *could not* have known to avoid?

    does this remind anyone of when so-called 'civilized' people burned the 'bad' books?

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    flight lists

    wasn't there a recent EU case where they ruled that the list of prohibited items for plane passengers had to be published to be valid

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Proportionate response

    All this shite about friggin' paedoes EVERYWHERE is starting to get really annoying!

    How many children are victims of sexual abuse I wonder?

    How many are seriously injured or killed by cars?

    Maybe we should block access to etc?!

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Terrorists are funded by Child Porn

    Child pornograpy funds terrorism without all that annoying sweaty labour in the sun or mucking around with dangerous chemicals to produce drugs.

    It is therefore obvious that the other sites listed on the Australian block site are fronts for terrorist activities. ASIO and the federal police are furious at the outing of surveillance operations, making it harder for them to gather the proof to bring these organisations to justice.

    The reclassification of cartoons as child pornography is another step to make porn production as efficient as possible - have a close look at the affiliations of the ministers concerned!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same old same old

    Re Censorship of the internet etc.

    This just seems to be the old case of the Govt (various) not being able to catch the perpetrators of the crime so they bring in some more laws to make it look like they're saving the children. Bollox really. How about a bit of education to empower people to use things like Open DNS so they can set their own blocking levels in an informed adult way? Too risky I suppose, might get ideas beyond their capability.

  37. Tony Paulazzo

    Take em down

    @I'm all for free speech, but I'm much more for the right of children to have a childhood without the fear that a grownup will use them for theirs and others sexual pleasure....'

    40 years ago free speech is ok but it's right to keep the blacks as second class citizens.

    50 years ago you'd have been free speech double plus good but sexual deviancy (ie homosexuality) is against Gods wishs...

    And 80 years ago, free speech is good but how can women vote?

    and 300 years ago (or whenever), free speech is good but women must be murdered for trafficking with the devil.

    A witchhunt is a witchhunt. The only way to deal with the abuse of children is talk and openness, not hiding it behind walls and rules. But of course, this global round of witch huntery has nothing to do with protecting anyone, but, like the ever running war on terror is a way to control the populace thru fear and intimidation.

    The good news tho, is that like the Roman Empire before it, this current system of fear based governing will fall and be replaced by something else, hopefully better - I'm betting on a machine based intelligence...

  38. Anonymous Hero


    Actually one of the better known sites on the list is an Australian company (though I believe their site is hosted in the US). It's a perfectly legal porn site, and as porn goes, fairly unobjectionable. It leans towards softcore and also has a good reputation for treating its models respectfully.

  39. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I am all for freedom of speech, but ...

    I may be held to account for my what I say.

    That is the idea of free speech: it must always be combined with responsibility and accountability. If you spout racial slurs at people, you can face legal action, if you divulge secrets, you might get jailed. ANY freedom is hollow if accountability is lacking. It is precisely the lack of accountability on the part of the goverment censors that Wikileaks is addressing.

  40. Mayhem
    Black Helicopters

    Let them view it, and record who tried

    Here's a simple idea. If you know where the child porn sites are well enough to make a black list, why not just route any requests for those sites through a filter to record the details of who tried to access them and then let them view what they like. Most countries still only have a few major portals out into the wider intranet, so it'd be easily done technically. At the end of the day, the material that is supposed to be blocked 'for the sake of the children' is almost always illegal within your borders, so I expect the carriers can pass it on to local PD for further investigation without too many qualms.

    Actually, I'd be surprised if this isn't done already.

    Ok, I can see deeper privacy implications with regards to political protest etc, but at the end of the day its better to try and know who wanted to do something than to try and block everything.

    Provided your blacklist is regularly reviewed by an acceptable range of groups, and there are some stringent rules attached to who can do what with the collected information, I have no objections.

    Hell, it'd be funny just putting groups like right wingers, amnesty and christian fundamentalists into a room and making them agree on just what is considered worth recording.

    Put the record labels in there too so they can get an understanding of just how wide the difference really is between civil and criminal issues.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Don't blame the web

    Attacking the technology that is used to distribute child porn is not the solution; it is only a minor inconvenience to those looking for such material. Therefore blocking the sites is only the government pretending to do something about the problem, the real problem is not access to the sites but the fact that the sites exist in the first place, so why don’t they go after the owners of the sites? Because it is much easier to pretend to do something rather than that actually do something.

    To do something, the authorities need to do something like Operation Amethyst, which was conducted in May 2002, and involved searches on 110 homes and businesses in Ireland following information provided by the FBI in the US. The perps were identified as people who had used their credit cards to purchase paedophile pornography in the internet after the owners of a website were identified by the US Postal Service and were selling paedophile pornography on the internet.

    That is doing something about the problem.

    So; if the authorities know about these sites why aren’t they trying to track down the owners. Make you wonder, doesn’t it

  42. DR

    I may be being stupid here

    Right, first off, blocking access to known sites isn't going to do a damned thing.

    the reason is that this relies on people reporting images then in due process the site may get added.

    I assume that the people reporting sites are not looking for them and in fact accidentally stumbling upon them.

    i.e those looking for them are probably going to find them faster than those who just happen to come across them.

    so first of, paedophiles are already able to access the material, until it's blocked them they look elsewhere.

    second, this doesn't protect kids, because the abuse has already taken place, the protection has already failed. all this does is stop the distribution, which is not the harmful part of child porn, it's the abuse involved with the creation.

    Thirdly. it's fucking easy to register a new domain, what's that, has been blocked? well that's ok we'll register /.us/.au/.me/.nz/.sa/.ru etc etc etc etc

    and the abuse continues and continues to find new harbour all over the internet.

    fourthly... and what would stop the abuse.

    last time I registered a domain name, it cost me money. I had to give a credit card number.

    lets look at the first five names on the denmark child porn list...

    the first was registered by domains at cost corp. how about going to their office and following the financial trail to the people making and hosting these sites?

    the second domain registration was sold by a company in oragan US. (in beaverton /dirty snigger).

    a little knock on their door from someone investigating might lead them to a few people

    ignoring the next few cause they are the same

    the next one is registered by KEY-SYSTEMS GMBH, one after that the domain registrar is Go-daddy...

    and the list goes on...

    assuming that these are all companies in complicit countries, (and they all are in America) why have no requests for information regarding these people been issued? or court warrants granted for these details.

    if the authorities really wanted to protect the children then they could.

    they could do some real policing, follow some financial trails, track people around the globe find out who is doing all this...

    Oh, my mistake, it only matters to launch a big investigation when people try and fail to rob a bank... then they'll follow the account details.

    the great firewalls and block lists sounds like a much easier and cheaper idea.

    certainly it's easier than real policing.

    and it leads a nice technology in with moral campaigners support that allows further suppression of informations.

    I mean for FFS at least China was honest when it built a massive firewall to block everything that the government doesn't want you to know!

    this is not about protecting kids. it can't possibly be about protecting kids as it does nothing to protect them, it does nothing to bring justice, and lets abusers carry on...

  43. Bryan W
    Jobs Horns

    Going after them? Get real.

    That's the problem with censoring information on the internet. Its international. Its hard to actually arrest and force some of these guys to stop their "illegal" actions. Look at piratebay for a model. They practically give the finger to any outside authority that tries to enforce copyright upon them (let's not get into whether or not IT IS copyright infringement to track torrents, and just assume in this case that it can be), and its taken this long for anything to actually happen and even if they are shut down in Sweden, they have redundant network nodes all over. They're not going anywhere, anytime soon, and there's little any country can do about it. (Go PB!)

    There are cooperative agreements between nations for these kinds of things, but participation is not, and probably never will be, 100 percent. Lets say some child pornographer in Country X is getting hits from Country Y, and officials in Country Y have a problem with this. The only way to "go after" the pornographer is if Country X will extradite him, and that usually involves a lot of effort for just a single person, assuming that they will actually extradite him in the first place. Most of the time, these guys are in countries that don't typically "play ball". On top of that, there may be 100s of these sickos in that one country.

    Blacklists are a good way to quickly and efficiently stop the flow of this "bad" information. Its just sad that these governments are using them for other purposes. I think the best way to do it would be a more democratic approach. Instead of allowing some politician or administration to make choices on what's "right and wrong" on the internet, use the power technology to continuously and efficiently keep such a list updated by the people its designed to protect. Something that will swing effortlessly with ebb and flow of moral in a particular society. Otherwise, its just another tool for the oppressors to keep the people in the dark.

    I'm glad most attempts at internet censorship are forcefully slapped down by a huge body of angry nerds in the states.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @ Ponder Stebbins

    Is this the same police op' that ruined countless people's lives after their credit cards were stolen and used on the sites? Still not really 'real' policing is it?

  45. Daniele Futtorovic

    Fundamental "rights"

    Just to set one thing straight, with all this talk about free speech.

    Constitutional rights, among which (as a rule) the right to free speech, are NOT rights of the individual per se. Constitutions are NOT a collection of fundamental rights of the individual which somebody (guess who... the gov't) would have to "defend". That's what they would like everyone to think, but that's not how it is. Well, at least that's not the idea behind constitutions and such (Bill Of Rights).

    Contitutions are sets of rules binding, not the individual, but the *government*. The right to free speech doesn't mean anybody can say what they want in public; it means the *government* isn't allowed to impose any limit to your speech.

    Similarly, the rule f.i. in the German constitution (which is quite a fine one as constitutions go) protecting the privacy of homes does NOT mean that it forbids burglary. It doesn't apply to individuals as such. It applies to governments and means, in this case, that the *government* (executive) isn't allowed to violate the privacy of your home (whereas the judiciary is). Of course, nowadays it's hardly worth the paper it's written on.

    Individuals, then, are ruled by civil and criminal law -- not constitutional law.

    Whether or not this is all right or perfect is beside the aim of this here humble contribution. But that's what the spirit of constitutions and, in general, classical (bourgeois) political philosophy is.


  46. Paul

    an appropriate quote...

    "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." - Adolf Hitler, 'Mein Kampf'

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