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Internet

Germans, CS dispute details of ban

CompuServe announced last week that the German government threatened the online service with criminal charges if it refused to pull more than 200 newsgroups. The Germans disagree, claiming that CompuServe decided which newsgroups to ban.

    CompuServe announced last week that the German government threatened the online service with criminal charges if it refused to pull more than 200 newsgroups that contain sexually explicit content; the government provided CompuServe with a list of "inappropriate" newsgroups.

    German authorities tell a different story. They say they never threatened CompuServe, and they claim that the online service decided which newsgroups to ban.

    The Germans did not provide CompuServe with information about their ongoing investigation of child pornography on the Internet, according to Munich prosecutor Manfred Wick, who said that CompuServe made the decisions to pull the newsgroups..

    CompuServe's legal department is talking with German prosecutors, according to company officials. The list of banned groups hasn't been released because groups are still being dropped and/or added.

    Gay rights advocates, who claim the ban extends to discussions of homosexuality and AIDS, have launched a protest.

    The San Francisco-based Americans for Gay Rights group says it will launch a month-long boycott of two German beers. The members said they will pour bottles of Beck's and St. Pauli Girl beer down the sewer tomorrow in front of the Goethe Institute, a German cultural center in San Francisco.