Providers in switzerland to block sites with illegal content

The net should not remain a lawless space, the federal police justifies the proposed law

Yesterday, the swiss federal police published a paper that says that in order to fight cybercrime, internet providers should block access to sites if the police

tell them to do so. The criminal responsibility of providers for illegal content in switzerland, for example racist or pornographic content, should not, however, go so far that they also have to search for forbidden content without being asked to do so.

"The internet mirrors the real world with its fascinating but also less appealing sides", is written in the position paper of the federal police (bupo) on the "criminal liability of internet service providers". While the providers in switzerland, who open access to the internet, are supposed to block presumably illegal sites after receiving tips from the police, but do not have to search the net for forbidden material themselves, because the "this is neither sensible nor promising, if only because of the daily changing and increasing amount of data" the report said that providers hosting websites must not only block or delete illegal sites, but also follow up on tips that do not come from the police. The blocking of websites with illegal content for swiss citizens becomes necessary when the police cannot prosecute the providers. In addition to racist or pornographic content, this is also intended to combat organized crime and cybercrime

The federal administration wants to support providers in the assessment of possible criminal content and in the technical realization of blocks. However, the federal police itself states that although it is technically possible to install blocks for providers, this is not always appropriate and is sometimes very costly. Moreover, knowledgeable internet users can bypass these filters. In no way, as the head of the federal police, urs von daeniken, said, do they want to censor the net, but only to make sure that the internet "is not or will not remain a legal vacuum". A judge should decide about blocking of pages. In the fall, the proposal goes into the second reading.

Providers are nevertheless not very edified by the initiative. It also says that they should control suspicious sites irregularly. The swiss telecommunications association rejects the idea that providers should be responsible for content: "the providers of illegal content – not the swiss access providers, should be punished. The idea of self-monitoring was also rejected, as such a "private police" could quickly become an unacceptable censor like in china. Of course, the providers are also afraid of suffering a location disadvantage due to strict regulations.

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