Name: Filtering and banning websites in Northrhine Westphalia, Germany

Date:  1995 - 2005

Location:  Europe

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion , Explicit Sexuality , Racial/Ethnic

MediumElectronic Media

Artist: Everybody who's working on Nazism and/or Pornography or who's interested in them

Confronting Bodies: The district government of Duesseldorf county, Northrhine-Westfalia in Germany

Date of Action: Start of the campaign: 2002/08/02

Specific Location: Northrhine-Westphalia (NRW) in Germany

Description of Artwork: Nazi-propaganda and work containing pornography

Description of Incident: On February 8th 2002, the "Bezirksregierung Duesseldorf" (the district government of Duesseldorf county, Northrhine-Westphalia in Germany) passed orders to more than 80 internet access providers: they should ban the access of their users to some foreign websites. In this particular case, the "Bezirksregierung" refers to its competence as the disctrict government administration responsible for legal protection of children and the youth and "punishment of infringements of law" regarding to the so-called "Mediendienstestaatsvertrag" (interstate agreement on media services). Although that particular authority is responsible for media-services like video-text and not for tele-communication services, the provider have been requested to block customers' access to two right-wing extremists' web-sites being hosted in the USA. That does not mean blocked access only, but blocked communication of any kind with the people behind it as well - e-mails etc. shall be made impossible. At the moment, a pilot-project of a filter-system is being tested, which will be used to block the access to questionable web-sites. Those websites offer - according to German law - illegal content such as nazi-propaganda and presumably endanger children and youths. But: the blocking includes access to any web-site containing such material, no matter where it is hosted. So far it is not known who shall be entitled to edit the "Black List", which is neccessary for this method. It is also not known if this "Black List" will be subject to any control according to the federal republican law. (quoted from

This Incident is closely related to the person of Juergen Buessow, Chief of the district government of Duesseldorf county. As he said in TV interviews and other reports, he considers the blocking a "great mission."

Results of Incident: A court in Arnsberg/NRW/Germany ruled on December, 13. 2002, for the first time in Germany, to ban Nazi-Websites. The administrative tribunal followed the opinion of the district government as described above. Another administrative tribunal (Minden/NRW/Germany) rejected the bannings. Now the case will go to a higher authority. The Arnsberg court sets a precedent.

Buessow and his administration tried to cover the aims behind a group of specialists at the university of Dortmund/NRW/Germany. Those where companies creating internet filters. The mission was to build a filter system for providers. But the commission came to the conclusion that it is impossible to program such a software without limitting personal rights.

A. Müller-Maguhn (ICANN, Chaos Computer Club) judged the idea as senseless activism. Buessow is striking against the infrastructure of the net in banning sites via filters, when he should rather fight against the underlying political problems: nazis, for e.g.

Source:  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (,,

Submitted By:  Matthias Weiss (

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