INTERNET SERVICES GIANT Google has created a website to warn its German users about government proposals to control the internet.
The website is called "Verteidige dein netz" or Defend your network, and Google has launched it to warn people in Germany about proposed changes to German law, specifically the Copyright Act of the Federal Republic of Germany
These changes seek to protect German publishers against third party aggregators like Google News. The text says that controls on the internet in Germany that are supposed to protect intellectual property will actually limit user freedom and degrade their internet experience.
"For you it would be so much more difficult in the Internet to find the information that you seek," it says. "Defend your network, a single intervention against this world, mixing it for yourself and share this page with your friends!"
There is then a request that Germans put in their contact information so that Google can keep them up to date with information about the proposals. It also asks that citizens contact their representatives in the German parliament.
In a statement Google told us that the changes would harm individuals and Germany itself. "An ancillary copyright endangers one of the fundamental principles of the web, the possibility to share and search for information through links. The law would let users not always find what they are searching for. It would be detrimental for jobs and growth in Germany as almost half of the German economy already depends on the Internet," said a spokesperson.
"With our information campaign we want to let everybody know about the consequences and ask our users to also weigh in. We hope that the German parliament will oppose to the draft law." µ