So Heather says this:
"The central problem is that Germany has much more stringent age verification laws than its neighboring countries and specifies much harsher penalties, including jail time, for those with direct responsibility (in our case, it would be our colleagues in the German offices and we're not willing to make a call that has that kind of consequence for them)."
...and that's true. So the answer would be to hold off the global launch until they could work out all the hiccups.
I just hate when a company bats its eyes and tries to act innocent.
UPDATE: PHOTOS OFF OF EXPLORE.
Here's the statement -- at least it's not from Heather-
" Stewart says:
Yep - we started getting complaints from people who actually want to see photographs and since that's what the feature is for, we've removed things that aren't photos. This is a return what we normally do, by the way: we temporarily stopped so people could let off steam, but it's not fair to disrupt others' experience of Flickr to get a point across.
Plainly, not all "traces" of the protest are gone. Your own streams are fair game (and, e.g., I'm happy to leave people's protest pics in comments on my stream), plenty of groups have been created, there's plenty of mainstream press and blogging going on, and there is an intensely active thread in these very forums, which is covering this same topic, starting at this point in the thread. "