Court orders ISP to pull sabotage info

Deutsche Bahn, the German national railway, wins a court battle to have train sabotage documents removed from the Net. The railway may approach Google and AltaVista as well.

Stefanie Olsen Staff writer, CNET News
Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.
Stefanie Olsen
2 min read
German railway Deutsche Bahn has won a partial victory in its efforts to remove documents from the Internet that allegedly provide instructions for sabotaging trains.

A Dutch court ordered Internet service provider XS4All to pull documents published by Radikal, a group opposed to the transportation of nuclear waste via rail. The group allegedly published instructions for sabotaging trains, known as Castor transports, by cutting overhead cable lines, among other tactics.

Attempts to access the Radikal documents Wednesday were met with a message saying, "Forbidden: You don't have permission to access /~tank/radikal/ on this server."

In a statement, XS4All said Deutsche Bahn is seeking to block the home page of one of its users "because of two articles from the German radical-left magazine Radikal, dating from 1996 and 1997."

Deutsche Bahn could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to Financial Times Germany, Deutsche Bahn has also said it plans to sue Internet search engines Google, AltaVista and Yahoo for providing links to Web pages that describe railway sabotage methods.

AltaVista spokeswoman Krista Thomas said the search site has worked with Deutsche Bahn to remove access to the offending page, but the company has yet to receive a lawsuit from the German railway.

"We have not received a suit or any threat of legal proceedings from Deutsche Bahn," Thomas said. "We have been working with (the company)...as part of our practice to strictly abide by the law in every country in which we operate."

Google spokeswoman Cindy McCaffrey said the company has received word that Deutsche Bahn extended a deadline for removing the pages until Thursday, but the site has already cut access to one or two pages cited in Deutsche Bahn's request letter.

"We haven't been served with any (lawsuit) that I am aware of," she said. "We're in the process of resolving the matter, and we're confident we'll be able to."

Scott Morris, a spokesman for Yahoo, said the company had not received any notice from the German company to remove links, but that to his knowledge, the Yahoo directory does not contain the offending page. However, he said that the site may have carried such a link through its search partner, Google.

Dirk Delbrouck reported from Germany. Stefanie Olsen reported from San Francisco.