German Internet Provider Blocks Adult Sites

Joanne Cachapero
ESCHEBORN, Germany — European Internet provider Arcor reportedly is blocking their ISDN/DSL subscribers from access to certain adult-oriented websites. The company is Germany’s second largest provider of fixed line phone and the only German telecom with an IDSN network independent of No. 1 Internet provider Duetsche Telekom.

According to an article posted on Heisse Online, Arcor spokesperson Paul Gerlach has confirmed that several adult sites have been blocked due to lack of age verification safeguards, making adult content available to underage users.

“Pornographic content is freely accessible [on the pages concerned] with insufficient or no checks on age,” Gerlach said.

The company stated that the blockages were requested. According to research conducted by Heisse Online, the request came from a German adult Internet company that is compliant with German laws, which restricts adult content to prevent minors from accessing it.

Section 184 of the German Penal Code calls for fines and up to a one-year jail sentence for Internet companies that do not require age verification.

“Until the legal position is clarified, Arcor has voluntarily complied with this request. Provisionally, therefore, the corresponding pages cannot be accessed from the Arcor network,” Gerlach said.

The company expects “that the website operator and the company that hosts the pages will remove the unlawful content or make it inaccessible to the public,” Gerlach said.

As the global adult Internet market becomes more competitive, several foreign companies have set up sites translated to German and, according to Heisse Online, sometimes overlook German statutes regulating the Internet. Some of the sites being blocked by Arcor include Sex.com, YouPorn.com and PrivatAmateure.com.

Formed in 1996, Arcor has 2.1 million ADSL customers and 1.1 million ISDN customers.

Vodafone, Arcor's parent company, is the largest provider of mobile phone service in Germany and Austria; its customers will no longer be able to access the blocked sites on their mobile devices through the Vodafone network.

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