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Tuesday, December 23, 1997 Published at 22:52 GMT


'Cybercops' fight to clean-up Net

Germany's Internet police hope to crack down on pornography

Germany is leading the way in the fight against pornography on the the Internet.

Europe's first law aimed at defining who is responsible for Internet content has been drawn up and in Munich a team of Internet police constantly monitor pornographic content on the the Web.

[ image: Karlheinz Moewes: The Net is full of the worst kind of pornography]
Karlheinz Moewes: The Net is full of the worst kind of pornography
The head of the special squad, Karlheinz Moewes, says he is disgusted with what he has found:

"People have to know that everything a sick mind can come up with is on the Internet," he says.

"Every imaginable type of filth and perversion is freely available. It's our job to get rid of it."

But despite the lengths that Germany has gone to, clamping down on Internet pornography is proving a difficult task.

By its very nature, the Internet crosses both geographic and legal boundaries and causes problems for any country which attempts to regulate its content.

[ image: Ingo Rees: The new law does cannot make Internet providers liable]
Ingo Rees: The new law does cannot make Internet providers liable
Even Germany's new Internet law has serious limitations. Whilst it does make Internet providers liable for any content produced by them, it does not make them liable for the content of any other Internet site.

A German spokesman for the Internet provider, AOL, Ingo Reese, says whilst he welcomes the new law, it will do little to prevent the flow of illegal pornography.

"The multi-media law is making very clear that the providers are not responsible for the content of the newsgroups," he said. "It makes us responsible for what we produce and as far as it goes, that's fine for us."

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