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German court orders shutdown of Wikipedia

Dispute over naming of dead hacker

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The German Wikipedia site was taken down by court order this week because it mentioned the full name of a deceased Chaos Computer Club hacker, known as Tron. A Berlin court ordered the closure of the site on Tuesday after it sided with the parents of the German hacker, who wanted to prevent the online encyclopedia from publishing the real name of their son. A final ruling is expected in two weeks' time.

On Friday, the Wikipedia Foundation settled with the court so that users can still access the site temporarily on a different URL. There, oddly enough, the full name of the German hacker still appears. The English version of Wikipedia also has an entry on Tron.

In 1998, Tron - who took his name from a Disney movie – mysteriously disappeared, apparently because he was under suspicion of committing computer fraud. The hacker was later found hanged in a Berlin park.

His parents originally objected against publishing his full name last year, but the court order was mistakenly addressed to Saint Petersburg, Russia, rather than Saint Petersburg, Florida, where the Wikipedia Foundation resides.

A spokesperson for the Chaos Computer Club (Germany’s most famous hacker and electronic rights group), is supporting the parents, but the court action may have the opposite effect, as many German papers now purposely mention Tron's full name.®

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