Germany to pass law blocking Internet child porn

BERLIN, (Reuters) – Germany’s cabinet agreed yesterday on a law authorising the blocking of Internet pages  containing child pornography to make it harder for criminals to  profit from distributing the material.

The legislation is modelled on action taken by countries  such as Britain, Italy and the Scandinavian states.
“We don’t want to tolerate the rape of children, even  babies, being widely available in Germany,” Family Minister  Ursula von der Leyen told reporters. All German Internet  providers will eventually have to adhere to the law.

Von der Leyen said the new measures could prevent about 80  percent of new consumers gaining access to child pornography on  the Internet.
She said states such as Britain, Italy and Scandinavian  countries, which blocked access to child pornography websites  several years ago, had been a model for Germany.

“If these countries can overcome any legal and technical  issues and successfully fight child porn online, we can do the  same in Germany,” von der Leyen said.

The ministry says child pornography is a growing problem,  and official figures show access to such material on the  Internet more than doubled in 2007 from 2006. Videos and  pictures show increasing violence against small children.

The issue of child pornography has drawn attention in  Germany in the last few weeks after a Social Democrat lawmaker,  Joerg Tauss, admitted he possessed child pornography. He said he  was not a paedophile and denied any wrongdoing, saying he had  collected the material for research.
The new law is due to be signed in mid-April and the  installation of software to block access to the sites will take  a further three to six months.
Limiting access to information is a sensitive subject in  Germany because of its Nazi past and East German Communist rule,  but von der Leyen said protecting children was the priority.

“The vulnerability and dignity of children is more important  than mass communication,” she said.
So far the Internet companies that have voluntarily agreed  to sign a contract with the government and the Federal Crime  Office cover 75 percent of the market.

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