Thursday, August 4, 2016

The backlash against free public WiFi in Germany is sooo on

The blogster has not had much good to say about the German ways with the internet.

Do you know a country in which you can be dragged into court on a gun charge despite not having had a gun at the time the crime was committed?

Just in case you wonder: no, the little old lady from the post below did not give the instrument of the crime to someone else for that person to violate the law. The 2012 post reminded the world that Germany is one of the few places on earth where an Internet Connection is more Dangerous than a Gun.

Later, we taught readers the great German word Neuland (aka. internet), and added some stinging verbiage on the copyright craze of the Continued desertification of the German internet - "ancillary copyright".

Yet, the long German tradition of holding providers of freely accessible (no registration needed) public WiFi liable for illegal activities of users of the access point finally seemed to be a thing of the past when the country changed the law to give WiFi access point operators the same status as ISPs.

While many celebrated the new found freedom, the blogster was not convinced: they are Germans, they don't do freedom the way the world has come to believe as a result of 70 years of great PR and mostly good behavior.

Soon after the passage of the law, legal experts pointed out that individuals operating a free WiFi hotspot would still have no protection against the country's thriving Cease & Desist Industry.

Then came a few terror attacks, and we are finally seeing the start of a serious backlash. Centrist Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is the vanguard with a piece entitled The Danger of Free WiFi. Golden Times for Hackers and Bomb Makers.

The headline is so specific that discussing arguments is next to irrelevant. The blogster will point out a couple for their entertainment value only.

What makes the article dangerous is the author, a professor of media law at the technical university of Cologne, someone whose word has weight. Germany just re-introduced mandatory ID checks when citizens by pre-paid SIM cards, and the country's national criminal police agency has been conducting a campaign against the "Darknet" using completely bogus user figures.

The main thrust of Mr. Professor's argument is this: Attributing responsibility to internet use was onerous, so this responsibility was simply dropped instead of maintaining it as an expression of duty towards society. 

Another gem in the authoritarian world view of the article is: We need to be aware that the state, in granting this, places great trust into the citizens.

Trust, by its very nature, can be revoked.

We'll see how this backlash plays out when the first heinous crime in Germany can be loosely or falsely connected to the use of freely accessible public WiFi.

Did the gentleman get any technical input for his piece?

Obviously not.

No comments:

Post a Comment