German Appeals Court Fines Adult Website for AVS

Jeff Berg
BERLIN — A Berlin appellate court ruled against the owner of an adult website and set a tougher standard for age verification in the country, a spokesman for the court said Monday.

The website owner was fined 1,600 euro, or about $2,038, after judges from the Berliner Kammergerichts found that asking for a national identity card number was not a sufficient means of verifying a surfer’s age.

The website in question had only required users to enter an identity card number to gain access to the site.

During the trial, a police officer had testified that he obtained access to the site by using the identity card number of German actress Uschi Glas, whose citizenship papers had been published in a magazine.

The court ruled that children could easily acquire the identity card numbers of adults.

According to a study by San Jose, Calif.-based Secure Computing Corp., Germany leads all non-U.S. countries in online pornography.

The German government has a history of attempting to impose state regulation on the Internet.

In 1996, the Internet service provider branch of Deutsche Telekom announced that it had decided to block access to a Toronto-based neo-Nazi website after German prosecutors threatened the company with “helping to incite racial hatred.”