PULLING THE PLUG ON PORN

CAN GERMAN LAWS LIMIT WHAT WE SAY ONLINE?

ANYONE WHO WANTS TO CENSOR THE Internet first has to understand this about the world's largest computer network: there are no borders in cyberspace. In order to restrict local access to a picture, story or idea, you have to block it all over the world.

That's just what happened last week, when prosecutors in Munich asked U.S.-based CompuServe, with 4 million members in 140 countries, to stop letting German subscribers see 200 discussion groups and picture databases that, according to the Bavarian state police, violated German pornography laws. The suspect newsgroups are all part of the freewheeling computer conferencing system called...

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