Dear Swinog crew,

I was asked by EDRi (European Digital Rights) to write a contribution
for the EDRi-gram. The contribution is about the recent happenings on
internet censorship in Switzerland. My draft is below, if you have any
comments, please send them to me or the list by sonday afternoon (I'll
have to submit it on sonday since I'm in vacation next week).


(contribution by Felix Rauch, SIUG)

In Switzerland, beeing one of the oldest democracies, internet
censorship is gaining ground. Two recent events support this trend.

In last december examining magistrate of the canton Vaud, Françoise
Dessaux, sent a disposal [1] to many Swiss internet service providers
(ISPs), asking to block access to the websites [2, 3, 4] and to modify
DNS servers so that "the name of the domain
points to an empty page". A press release [5] published by the Swiss
Internet User Group (SIUG [6]) and Swiss Network operators Group
(Swinog [7]) doubt that the blocking of foreign internet content is a
legally valid procedure. The two groups also point out that internet
blocking measures are easily bypassed and that article 16 of the Swiss
constitution guarantees to every person "the right to receive
information freely, to gather it from generally accessible sources,
and to disseminate it."

Most Swiss providers did at first not obey to the disposal and
appealed against it. The examining magistrate then ordered many
responsible persons of the ISPs to the court. Guido Honegger of Swiss
ISP green [8] still refuses to block the websites and is now facing an
ascertainment against his person because of disobedience. He wants to
increase predicatbility of legal decisions and plans to fight the
order in court. Other ISPs like e.g. Init7 [9] are redirecting traffic
to the incriminated sites to protest pages [10]. Despite all the legal
fights, the site are only with new addresses [11, 12].

Internet censorship to creep in with new law

The Swiss federal office of justice [13] published a proposal for a
revision of the federal law on lotteries and betting. In article 50 of
the proposal, providers could be fined up to one year in prison or a
penalty of up to 1 Million Swiss francs (approx. EUR 660'000) for
"providing access to not allowed games according to this law". SIUG is
concerned that this proposal is only a first trial for much wider
censorship laws and will therefore submit a detailed answer against
this censorship article.

Links, references and further reading:

[1] Disposal by the canton Vaud (unofficial copy, french)




[5] Press release by SIUG and Swinog (in german):

[6] Swiss Internet User Group (SIUG) homepage:

[7] Swiss Network Operators Group (Swinog) homepage:







[x] Heise News: Schweizer Richter verlangt Website-Sperrung von Providern

Felix Rauch, research assistant at laboratory for computersystems, ETH Zuerich    Member of Swiss Internet User Group:
This article contains my personal view only! Use of my addresses for marketing
purposes is hereby strictly prohibited according to swiss privacy laws.

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