Thursday, August 23, 2007

GEZ Censorship

Those of you who live as I do in Germany will have had occasion to be upset by the Gebühreneinzugszentrale (GEZ). These people are officially there to ensure that everyone pays their licence fees, but are known for their use of tactics more appropriate to the Stasi.

I was shocked to see this article in Golem, describing how the GEZ want to take's Tips and Tricks section on GEZ offline. They have threatened legal action for use of false terms like "GEZ-Gebühren", "PC-Gebühr", "Gebührenfahnder", "GEZ-Anmeldung" or "GEZ-Abmeldung". This is laughable, as these terms are in common use, and not as perjorative as the GEZ deserves.

To be clear - have been offering legal and legitimate advice to protect consumers from overpaying. They have now taken down this legitimate content, awaiting a legal review. See their current site explaining the takedown.

My suggestion to those who care about defeating censorship is to take advantage of Google's caching function to locate these GEZ tips, and keep them in the public domain. For example:
This may seem like a trivial example, but if German authorities can censor this sort of material, it won't take long before they take more examples from the Chinese government.

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