It surprises me how many people are surprised when you tell them about censorship of the internet in Germany.

Most Germans are aware that certain books, such as “Mein Kampf“, written by a person (?) responsible for the horrible deaths of millions of innocent children, women and men, is not available in Germany, though you can easily obtain it from websites abroad (which can be found through Google). But the number of people who know about Google’s active role in censoring the German internet is significantly smaller.

Just try the following:

1. Search for “hitler” on the international google.com (direct link). Note that the top 10 contains one result from the domain hitler.org. [I don’t want to link to this domain as I certainly do not want to boost the pagerank of such a site.]

2. Search for “hitler” on the German google.de (direct link). Note that the top 10 does not contain the previous result.

Now you might think that the result has just been moved further down the list. Wrong. To prove this try the following:

3. Search for “site:hitler.org” on the international google.com (direct link). The “site:” command limits the search to the particular domain and shows all the pages indexed from that domain. As you can see, there are quite a few.

4. Search for “site:hitler.org” on the German google.de (direct link). No results. To be sure that the query syntax is correct, search for “site:tagesschau.de” (direct link) instead.

Please don’t get me wrong. In this case I support the censorship which Google is required to do by the German legislation. I just find it important to know that these things exist.

On a somewhat related issue: It’s also worth knowing that even at the Speakers’ Corner there is no full freedom of expression and that the police will intervene if things are taken too far.

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