A Primer On Kraut Law: Easter 2013 Edition

Summary

This March was nothing short of depressing - Kraut politards fucked up good, so here's a summary of the fun we have to endure over here. Hope the lot of ye can get a couple smirks outta this.

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Imagine me sitting in front of my computer, reading news on the net. Then imagine me hammering my elbows onto the surface of my desk with both of my palms coming up to my sagging face and covering it. A grunt can be heard, my head is shaking. If you could see my eyes, they'd be the perfect description for the general emotion of disbelief.

This happens about one or two times a month - for some reason it happened a lot more often this month. Put another way, it happens when either Kraut or EU politicians propose or pass ridiculous bills related to the internet in any way. Notice that "ridiculous" was actually redundant in that there last sentence. Now I know it's not much better in most other parts of the world - but it is better in some of them. The fight is not lost everywhere. It can't be!

So to those of you who haven't quite lost yet, I hope by Odin this will be amusing. Or serve as a reminder to stay vigilant and never trust the technical competence of your politicians. May the rest of you find comfort in knowing that you're not alone.

Ancillary Copyright For Press Publishers

Ohohoh, we are so fucked. Earlier this month some geniuses passed a bill that grants press publishers special protection for their works beyond plain old copyright. The bill allows press publishers to enforce licencing fees for reusing their content on the net - you know, like quoting them.

Good ol' copyright not good enough for ya, eh boys? It's obvious the law was targeted at making a couple easy bucks off Google, but the collateral damage it does is tremendous. Of course the bill got passed by our Christian party and their dickless "Coalition Partners" - way to go, guys! To be fair, we only have like, what, five people with any kind of technical sense to them that actually can vote on bills? And all of them voted against that bill. Apparently it's just not enough.

Now I remember why I don't usually write in German, too...

The Greens, The Christians And The War On Homosexuality

OK, first of all: I'm not usually voting for the Greens. Sorry guys, we just disagree on a few key issues. The same can be said for pretty much every other party though, so don't feel bad about it. That said, I will admit that there are a few people in that party that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. One of those is Volker Beck - the guy tends to propose, write and talk about a lot of sane things that I can wholeheartedly agree to. So I do follow his Twitter - which I recommend you do as well in case you happen to be able to read German - and I often find myself reading a lot of the content he links to.

Like this particular atrocity. In a nutshell, it describes the idea e.V.'s rebuttal to a proposition by the Greens to fine "conversion therapy" when performed on juveniles (or children). "Conversion therapy" as in the kind where unsuspecting homosexuals - and probably also bisexuals, or anything but heterosexuals, really - are "cured" of their sinful illness, so they can return to lead healthy, productive, Christian lifestyles.

What a load of crap. Now I don't mind if you do this to adults who "chose" to undergo "therapy," but the Greens are hitting bulls-eye with the idea that kids need to be protected from this idiocy. Being homosexual is no more of an illness than being heterosexual. It's the exact same thing, dammit! I'm not even sure where that idiotic stigma is coming from. What's the big deal, really?

I mean, the cynic in me has to admit that our indoctrinationados are probably the most likely to "succeed" in this questionable goal, and it's also pretty damn obvious that they'd be against this proposal. But still. It's just sickening.

"What Do You Mean, It's Not Secure!? Everything Is As I Say It Is!"

Huh, I just noticed a lot of that previous content was heavily slanted against Christian views on things. Well, can't have that. I promise the remainder of this article is not the Christians' fault! Instead I dug out yet another gem of Kraut lawmanship. So there's this iniative to make email more... ubiquitious... with the Krauts. Here's the idea: email doesn't typically count as a "secure" way to transfer information, like letters. For that reason it's not usually legally binding. Of course it's still kinda neat to be able to receive, say, my cell phone bills via email. I mean I never read those things and tend to just shred them when I get 'em in dead tree form, and checking my mail box is really annoying. I'd really love to get this stuff electronically.

So we need a way to have "secure" email. Now you're probably thinking "hey nice, that's exactly why people came up with PGP/GPG" - indeed the obvious, sane, logical thing to do would have been to just require the use of encrypted email as available for decades. But that's not what Kraut lawmakers do. No sir! What did they do instead? They came up with requirements for the email provider to handle all that complicated crypto stuff. Oh goody. And of course we all know that viruses are bad, so while they were at it they included provisions that require ISPs to actively decrypt mail, check for viruses and re-encrypt them before delivery.

Giant, obvious security hole? You betcha. Incidentally it's pretty much the same thing Google's spam filter has gotten heat for, sans the encryption but probably from the same guys pushing this new email scheme. Anyway, computer scientists and cryptologists complained about this. Rightly so. The result? Oh you'd think they'd just try and fix that security flaw, right? Hah, of course they won't. Instead they're thinking about just defining their precious "De-Mail" to be secure.

COUGH

Europe Trying To Ban Porn

And now for something completely different: earlier this month the European Parlament voted on a bill that had the potential to ban porn in Europe. Wait, what? That doesn't even... motherfucker!

The worst part about that is that it's basically backdoor politics: the original idea and title of the bill is "Eliminating Gender Stereotypes in the EU." Now that's great, I would support that bill in a heartbeat if I only read the title. Gender stereotypes have no place in this day and age. It's just that one of the articles in that bill somehow included provisions to ban porn. Might I ask "why?"

Here's how I think this went down: someone played the old "porn is derogatory to women, so it totally fits in that bill"-card. Here's a thought: if porn is derogatory to women, then maybe it might just also be derogatory to men? Ever consider that? I sure know lots of femdom porn that is... oh wait, nevermind, that's a stereotype, too.

Here's the bopper: the bill actually passed! Fortunately people made enough noise to have the really problematic parts changed to be less so.

But that's not the best part, something you probably didn't know yet: MEPs actually considered protests against this bill to be 'spam'! What. The. Fuck! Here's a bit of news for ya - well the lot of ye who ignore people voicing their opinions: you're getting paid to listen to the people you represent. Because, you know, it's precisely those very people you're supposed to represent! That's your job! If you can't do that, you really oughta step down.

Fortunately not all MEPs are spineless weasels. Not quite sure this'll change anything, but cheers for trying mate!

Ban On Dance Events/Parties On "Somber" Holidays

Oh, did I say I'd stop with the stuff against Christians? I lied! It's nice for a quick grin though, promise!

So, yes you read that right. There's a dancing ban in Germany on certain Christian holidays. I only heard about this last year to be honest, but apparently it's been around for quite a while. Here's what happened when I told my Irish buddy Aidan about this on IRC:

14:10 < jyujin> aidanjt: oh hey, did i mention that there's a state-enforced ban on "dance events" this friday?
14:11 < jyujin> you know, cause it's Good Friday
[...]
14:11  * aidanjt scratches his head
14:12 < aidanjt> why would there need to be a ban on dance events because it's good friday?
14:14 < jyujin> because apparently there is a need for people to reflect on things and to not party on solemn christian holidays - and people are supposed to respect christian beliefs regarding that
[...]
14:20 < aidanjt> oh sure, why not just make christianity the official state religion and burn some heretics at the stake while they're at it
14:22 < jyujin> aidanjt: lol, aye I hear ya
14:23 < jyujin> aidanjt: I take it you guys don't have that crap then?
14:23 < aidanjt> jyujin: hell no, not even when the RCC had political capital here

Pro tip: if even the Irish think you're overdoing it with your Christian Attitude(tm), then you just know you've gone too far.

Stereotypes aside, this is just utterly idiotic. Religion is supposed to keep its filthy paws out of politics - and that includes holidays and how people spend them. If you're a Christian and think it's a bad idea for whatever reason to hold or attend a rave on Good Friday, fine. I respect that. But don't drag me down with you. I might be trying to work - or I might be trying to party. It's none of your beeswax either way - or put another way, I fully expect you to respect my freedom to spend my Good Friday whichever way I see fit.

Of course there's quite a bit of discussion on Twitter and on blogs regarding this. Just like every year. The typical comments of proponents are "so then you can't dance on those days. big woop, it's just two days a year" and "oh right, so now you don't like Christian holidays when you can't party down on them. How about you go to work instead?" Here's my position on that: it doesn't matter that it's "only" two days a year, and I would gladly work on those - it'd be a great relief for my schedule if I was actually allowed to work on those days. In fact I'd welcome it if none of the Christian holidays - Easter, Pentecost, Christmas, etc - were included in the list of federal holidays. They have no business being federal holidays to start with.

...

Fuck me it's been a shitty month, even by Kraut standards...

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Background photo credit: Justin Dolske / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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Written by Magnus Achim Deininger