Writing in the Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash finds that Brigitte Zypries, the German Federal Minister of Justice, is the personification of the nanny state – this follows German calls to the EU to extend laws against holocaust denial throughout the EU (at present such laws exist in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia):
The approach advocated by the German justice minister also reeks of the nanny state. It speaks in the name of freedom but does not trust people to exercise freedom responsibly. Citizens are to be treated as children, guided and guarded at every turn. Indeed, the more I look at what Zypries does and says, the more she seems to me the personification of the contemporary European nanny state. It’s no accident that she has also been closely involved in extending German law to allow more bugging of private homes.
But presumably the German courts will not support the actions of the public prosecutor’s office in Halle, which succeeded in having 22 million credit cards – that is, all the credit cards in Germany – examined to trace visitors to a child pornography website. See (in German) Udo Vetter’s weblog set up in this connection, Mikado Fahndung. (The documents were voluntarily released by banks, another pillar of German society, rather than by credit-card companies, although had they not voluntarily been released, the banks could have been forced to release them).