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CompuServe faces new German inquiries

CompuServe is under investigation once again by German authorities. This time it's for inciting racial hatred by providing Net access to neo-Nazi propaganda.

Prosecutors in Mannheim, Germany, are investigating online service companies CompuServe and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Online for inciting racial hatred by providing access to a neo-Nazi Web site.

This is the second time in the last two months that German authorities have questioned the legality of certain aspects of CompuServe's Net access. An earlier investigation by officials in Munich regarding child pornography is still pending. In both cases, officials maintain that distributing certain information over the Internet is a violation of German law.

The Mannheim prosecutor's office launched the second investigation when a German citizen turned over documents downloaded from the Canadian neo-Nazi Web site maintained by Ernst Zuendel.

Deutsche Telekom has responded to the investigation by blocking access to Zuendel's site, but a spokeswoman for CompuServe in Munich says CompuServe has no plans to follow suit.

Read CNET's current feature article for an in-depth report on Net censorship.