GERMAN NATIONAL ACADEMIC PROVIDER BLOCKS XS4ALL WEBSITE IN
Amsterdam, 16 april 1997
Since April 11th 1997, the dutch XS4ALL website www.xs4all.nl has been censored by Deutsches Forschungsnetz, the German academic Internet provider. This was confirmed today by Dr. Klaus-Eckart Maass, managing director of Deutsches Forschungsnetz in a press release. (http://www.dfn.de/dfn/sperrung.html).
An Xs4all subscriber (http://www.xs4all.nl/~radikal) publishes a magazine which is considered to be illegal in Germany. The German State Prosecutor has 'informed' Deutsches Forschungsnetz about the presence of this magazine, which has resulted in the censorship of the entire XS4ALL website.
Of the 6000 homepages on the XS4ALL, only one of those contains the Radikal magazine. Other XS4ALL homepages include artists, research materials, shops, activists and other information sources like the formerly censored Serbian radiostation B92 (http://www.xs4all.nl/~opennet) and its 24hr/day radiobroadcasts on Internet. All these 6000 homepages are now unavailable to the German academic Internet community. The decision to censor the xs4all webserver because of the radikal publication will probably cause and this censored magazine to become more popular on the Net. Censoring the Internet has, in most cases, proved to be counterproductive as many Internet users mirror the information on to their own sites and start to distribute it.
In September 1996, a number of German providers organised a similar block of the XS4ALL website after complaints by the State Prosecutor. This block was lifted after four weeks, but resulted in a vast mirror network. Today, there are still more than 40 mirror websites of the radikal home page around the world. These mirror-sites were placed on the Net more than six months ago. Why does Deutsches Forschungsnetz only block the xs4all webserver when the information on this website is known to have been mirrored all around the world for at least six months? XS4ALL intends to send Mr. Klaus-Eckart Maass a message informing him about these mirrorsites. In principle he should then be obliged to block these other sites where radikal nr. 154 can also be found XS4ALL has not yet received any official communication from the German justice department, nor from the Dutch justice department. Our policy is that as a provider we are not in the position to judge whether this magazine is illegal in the Netherlands, therefore we do not interfere with the liberty of speech of our user. If there's any doubt about the legality of the publication in Holland, a Dutch court of law would be the proper place to remove these doubts. Therefore our user would have to be tried by the Dutch justice-department.
Radikal magazine - http://www.xs4all.nl/~radikal/index.html
Radikal mirrorlist - http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/radikal/mirror.html
DFN pressrelease - http://www.dfn.de/dfn/sperrung.html
Dr. Klaus-Eckart Maass - http://rigel.dfn.de/adressen/maass.html
Managing Director DFN -email@example.com
DFN website - http://www.dfn.de