German Court Does Not Rule Email Blocking ‘Illegal’

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It was the misfire heard around the world.

The Register earlier this week reported that a German court had ruled that blocking email by content was illegal, stating that “The Higher Regional Court now has ruled that blocking email by content is unlawful as it is considered confidential in German law. Blocking is only allowed when, say, a viral attack is imminent.”


Only problem is, that’s absolutely wrong – horribly wrong (surprising really, as the Register is often a fine source for news of a spammish nature).

In reality the ruling said nothing of the sort. Indeed, the ruling addresses the filtering of email from one particular person. In other words, where the filter is targeted against an individual, having nothing to do with content.

The case had to do with a German university which was silently dropping email from a former employee. No bounce notices, nothing. Just dropping it on the floor.

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Apparently the split was less than amicable, and as a result someone at the university decided to filter out all email from said former employee.

Only problem was, he was still corresponding with people with whom he had a good relationship.

As Champ Kind would say, “Wham-my.”

 

The EU, including Germany, has much stricter protections on the privacy of both postal and electronic personal mail, and the German court was none-too-happy with the university monkeying with someone’s personal email this way.

On a related note, in the United States, the CAN-SPAM law specifically permits ISPs to block whatever email they wish, and exempts them from liabliity for doing so.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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