More Censorship Fun

This time Germany’s way cool new censorship law (NetzDG or Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz, if you prefer) has seen to it that a German artist’s works be effectively banned on Facebook and Instagram because, well, no one even bothered to explain why this time.

Barbara

That road sign up there is a form of hate speech, you see. If you look closely, I mean. It’s sexist, right? Or is it racist (the dark part)? I don’t know but something is definitely distrubing about it and I think that the nameless employee who pressed on the Censor Sensor Button or whatever it is they call it was right on the money. Better safe than sorry, I say. When it doubt, censor it out. It’s good to know Big Bruder is watching.

“Über das Löschen von Beiträgen entscheiden irgendwelche Angestellte von privaten Firmen im Auftrag von Facebook und Instagram, die im Schnellverfahren entscheiden und nicht einmal irgendwelche Gründe für das Löschen nennen. Ich sehe die Freiheit im Internet dadurch mehr als nur bedroht, sie wird aus meiner Sicht dadurch ruiniert.”

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German Hate Speech Law Keeps Reaching New Levels

Of absurdity, I mean. Now satirical publications are up for grabs.

Fake

When a German neo-Nazi politician tweeted that German police were trying to “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men,” her account was briefly suspended — but when the satirical magazine Titanic put up its own tweet mocking the Nazi, their account was suspended, too…

Prior to the law’s passage, free speech advocates warned that this would happen, and Angela Merkel personally promised it wouldn’t. It only took three days for the first case to come to light.

Government regulation in action. You know the deal, folks. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“The last few days have emphatically shown that private companies cannot correctly determine whether a questionable online statement is illegal, satirical or tasteless yet still democratically legitimate.”

What Goes Around…

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Big Brother.

Maas

Germany’s justice minister has fallen victim to the rules he himself championed against online social media, as one of his tweets was deleted following several complaints, Bild daily reported Monday.

The tweet dated back to 2010, when Heiko Maas was not yet a minister.

In the post, he had called Thilo Sarrazin, a politician who wrote a controversial book on Muslim immigrants, “an idiot”.

In der Debatte um das Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) wird Heiko Maas von einem Tweet eingeholt, den er vor sieben Jahren verfasst hat. Durch das neue Gesetz, das der SPD-Politiker und Bundesjustizminister entworfen hat, sollen strafbare Äußerungen im Internet schneller gelöscht werden.

Food For Thought Police

“Please spare us the thought police!” read a headline in Wednesday’s Bildzeitung.

Feige

As recently reported, the latest German censorship craze (exemplified by the Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz or “Internet Enforcement Law”) is already being abused by those who would make us think what we are told. This type of thing never takes very long, of course. I read this in a book in high school once long, long ago in a galaxy far away. It was called 1984 or something. The book, I mean.

Anyway, this law… meant to curtail hate speech on social media in Germany is stifling free speech and making martyrs out of anti-immigrant politicians whose posts are deleted. The law which took effect on Jan. 1 can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly. Twitter has deleted anti-Muslim and anti-migrant posts by the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and blocked a satirical account that parodied Islamophobia.

But the case I really like is this one here: A German thought criminal had the audacity to criticize Germany’s reticence to support the protests in Iran and write “one could get the impression that Germany has become an unbelievably cowardly nation” in Facebook. This horrid example of hate speech was enough to get the user promptly blocked.

The outrage about this outrage about the other outrage (I’m running out of outrages) among the German population also remains rather reticent, to say the least. But they are law-abiding citizens, after all. The Germans. They don’t want to commit any thought crime or anything.

Einer der beiden Fälle betrifft Irina Schlegel (33), die Chefredakteurin des Kreml-kritischen Recherchemagazins „InformNapalmDeutsch“. Sie schrieb am 1. Januar im Zusammenhang mit der deutschen Zurückhaltung zu den Protesten im Iran: „Man bekommt den Eindruck, Deutsche sind eine unglaublich feige Nation geworden“. Zwei Tage später löschte Facebook den Post und sperrte die Verfasserin für drei Tage.

Orwell In Da House

It’s been a long time coming, people. Now the New Germans finally have what they have wanted all along, it seems: Full-blown, voluntary, participatory state censorship (got a better term?). It’s what you’d call grass roots censorship, I guess.

Orwell

Beatrix von Storch, a leading figure in the Alternative for Germany party, is one of the first hit by new hate speech laws on social media… A top lawmaker from the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was blocked from Twitter and Facebook on Monday after slamming the Cologne police for sending a New Year’s tweet in Arabic.

The first groundbreaking hate crime is wondering why the police in North Rhine-Westphalia tweet in Arabic? Damn. I need to get my brain properly washed. That rather freaks me out, too.  “What the hell is happening in this country? Why is an official police site tweeting in Arabic? Do you think it is to appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men?”

Brain Police 2.0 is out now, folks! Go get it before it gets you.

“Was zur Hölle ist in diesem Land los, wieso twittert eine offizielle Polizeiseite aus NRW auf Arabisch?”, schrieb von Storch. “Meinen Sie, die barbarischen, muslimischen, gruppenvergewaltigenden Männerhorden so zu besänftigen?”

German Of The Day: Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz

That means… Beats the hell out of me. I think it means something like Internet Enforcement Law.

Mass

At any rate, it’s this really clever new law pushed through by German Justice Minister Heiko Mass (SPD) – a particularly lame duck because his party is now history after last week’s election – that forces Internet companies like Facebook to remove “obviously illegal” posts (whatever that means) within 24 hour or pay big fines. This takes care of “hate speech” forever, see? Brilliant.

Of course it will also take care of a lot of posts that will have nothing at all to do with hate speech but will be blocked anyway by these companies. Just in case, you know?

Free speech ist not quite as free as it used to be in Germany. But it’s worth it, right?

Kritiker bemängeln, dass die Rechtsdurchsetzung in private Hände gelegt wird, und sie fürchten ein “Overblocking“: Die Betreiber könnten im Zweifel lieber zu viele Inhalte entfernen, um nicht mit dem NetzDG in Konflikt zu geraten. Dadurch gerate die Meinungsfreiheit in Gefahr.

 

Don’t Mind The Mind Police

You don’t have to. They’re minding you. Before you even noticed that you minded, too. But once you do start minding, remember to remind yourself that they are only minding you for your own good. So never mind.

Sexism

Progress at last, I must say. Berlin’s Left party has taken another step forward into the past by banning what they have deemed to be sexist advertising with of half-naked women on city billboards. I couldn’t agree more. I want them all naked. Completely naked. Now.

That image above would also fall under that sexism category, by the way. Like I said, never mind.

“You don’t have to hide your pugs.”

German Of The Day: Majestätsbeleidigung

That means a slight or an insult against a sovereign majesty-type person (lèse majesté).

Law

You know, the crime German comedian Jan Böhmermann recently committed against the Top Sultan What’s in Charge in Turkey? In the year 2016, I mean?

Anyways, this law, paragraph 103, is still on the books here in Germany and Hamburg’s justice minister has decided to go way out on the limb here and give it a shot and see if he could maybe sort of like get rid of this ridiculous piece of legislation already. It would be a big step forward into the unknown and all that, of course, but I, for one, am convinced that German civilization will be able to handle it.

Die Justizbehörde geht davon aus, dass das Gesetz noch vor der Sommerpause gestrichen werden könnte und das Verfahren gegen Böhmermann dann eingestellt werden müsste. Davon unberührt blieben jedoch Ermittlungen gegen Böhmermann wegen Beleidigung nach Paragraf 185 Strafgesetzbuch.

Veil, What Will They Think Of Next?

Veiling German women? What a tremendous waste of natural resources that would be.

Veils

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said the move to ban ads which “reduce women or men to sexual objects” is an attempt to create a “modern gender image”.

The important thing to note here folks are the three letters S, P and D. Support for Germany’s Social Democratic party has now slumpted to an all-time historical-like low (around 20 percent). But now, at the very latest, we at least understand why.

The plan has been called political correctness gone mad by its critics, who said it was the first step towards a “nanny state”. It comes following a controversy over claims made by a senior politician that schools and canteens in Germany are ‘banning’ the serving of pork to avoid offending Muslim migrants.

“To demand the veiling of women or taming of men, is something known among radical Islamic religious leaders, but not from the German minister of justice.”

Censorship Is For Everyone

Just like Liebe.

Rammstein

Hey, you know the deal here in Germany: Anything that is not expressly allowed is strictly forbidden. Or at least very, very, very suspicious. You know, like free speech?

Rammstein has filed a lawsuit against Germany for having temporarily indexed the album “Liebe ist für alle da,” said a spokesperson of the Bonn Regional Court on Monday (04.04.2016). The rock band is seeking 66,000 euros (nearly $75,000) in damages.

In 2009, the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons, a German governmental agency responsible for listing works that could potentially harm youths, had decided that one of the songs of the album, “Ich tu dir weh,” as well as the pictures in the booklet accompanying the CD, were “brutalizing” and “immoral.” The entire album was indexed.

Once a work gets listed by the organization, it may not be advertised and can only be sold under strict conditions – limiting its potential success.

Ist alles, was nicht ausdrücklich verboten ist, erlaubt?