Germans have a new reason to thank God – free Wi-Fi will soon be offered in 220 churches around Berlin and Brandenburg, with plans to install Internet services in all 3,000 Protestant churches in the region. The cleverly named “Godspots” will first appear in the famous Französischer Dom in Berlin’s busy Gendarmenmarkt square and the iconic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz.
“People are no less spiritual than before. But the places of communication have shifted, and much of it now happens in digital social networks and communities,” the Church’s IT Manager, Fabian Kraetschmer, said in a statement. “With Godspot we want to build a safe and familiar home for the Protestant Church in the digital world.”
Godspot’s use is no strings attached, according to the Church. There’s no registration, no login, and the Church insists it won’t push advertising or retain users’ personal information. However, when users first sign on, they’ll be directed to a webpage with information on church building and local parishes.
Germany currently has tough legislation regarding a network provider’s accountability when it comes to the online activities of its users. If, for example, you illegally download software on my network, I face the consequences. Though the German federal government says it’s working to change this legislation, Godspots will be installed prior to any new legislation taking affect, according to The Local. To avoid liability, the Church has appointed a couple of Berlin companies as the service’s legal providers.
Though an estimated 61 percent of Germans are Christian, a 2013 report by Die Welt claimed that Christians will become a minority within the next two decades. Whether Godspot is an attempt to spread God’s word or an effort to meet the demands of the digital age, Berlin’s churches will surely see an uptick in attendance – if not for the sermons then for surfing the web.