Press release, "Swiss Internet User Group" SIUG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Internet, April 5th 2002
Investigations of the Swiss Internet User Group (SIUG) have shown that some Swiss ISPs have disabled access to their competitor Butlerweb .
SIUG has discovered that both IP-Plus/Swisscom and Sunrise deny their customers access to Butlerweb's home page . In fact, a technical error message is displayed suggesting that the competitor's server may not be running properly. Access of the Butlerweb pages via other ISPs remains without problems..
Further inquiries have shown that the IP number 18.104.22.168 is allocated to the Butlerweb webserver  - the same number under which the web pages of Front14  used to operate and which had previously been blocked by a number of Swiss ISPs due to the activities of the pressure group "Aktion Kinder des Holocaust" (Children of the Holocaust)  and the precarious legal position in Switzerland. SIUG had previously called attention to the fact that this approach would necessarily lead to the aggravating "collateral damage" as it has now become public : Internet publications cannot be continuously scanned for problematic content.
Some Swiss ISPs block access to parts of the Internet without notification of their customers, thereby making a choice between two equally unbefitting alternatives: Either they bow to the public pressure for blockades without awaiting definite legal regulations, or they take the risk of facing a trial with an uncertain outcome. It is this situation that leads to the observed damaging and intransparent access denials. SIUG promotes an open and transparent Internet and demands that the motion of council state member Thomas Pfisterer  is quickly put into practice in order to obtain clear legal grounds for Swiss ISPs. The filtering of the Internet has undesirable side-effects and does not contribute to the solving of societal problems.
Similar problems currently exist in Germany: The district council of Dusseldorf had imposed similar access restrictions in February of this year. This led to a widely-supported petition opposing restrictions to the freedom of information . Amongst the prominent initiators of the campaign are the "Reporters without Frontiers", the socialdemocrat MP Joerg Tauss, the spokeswoman of the Greens, Grietje Bettin, and the Chaos Computer Club . The opponents of the decree have called for a demonstration in Duesseldorf on April 6th, the motto being "to filter out is to ignore".
http://www.butlerweb.com/Butlerweb offers e.g. webhosting services, as do Swisscom and Sunrise.
Statement of purpose: http://www.siug.ch/about/ (in German)
Statements on various internet-related issues:
http://www.siug.ch/positionen/ (in German)
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