Internet: law against digital violence: leverage against mobsters

Those affected by infringing statements in the digital space should be able to defend themselves more easily in the future.

Internet: law against digital violence: leverage against mobsters

Those affected by infringing statements in the digital space should be able to defend themselves more easily in the future. The Ministry of Justice has presented a key points paper on a corresponding law that the federal government intends to introduce before the end of this year.

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) emphasized that this project is not about restricting freedom of expression. "The law will not change the rules of the game of democratic discourse. What can be said today can also be said in the future."

However, the effort for those who are threatened, slandered or insulted on the Internet should be reduced. "Those affected often find it unnecessarily difficult to assert their rights themselves," said Buschmann. Identification of the person involved often fails due to a lack of information or the time factor.

There is already a relatively detailed agreement on the planned "law against digital violence" in the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. There it says, among other things: "We create the legal framework for electronic procedures for reporting and for private procedures and enable judicially ordered account blocks."

However, the hurdles are said to be relatively high for the temporary blocking of an account that is used, for example, to post notoriously incorrect information about a company or insulting statements about a specific user. Among other things, the block can only be ordered "if the service provider has previously informed the affected account holder of a pending block request and given him the opportunity to comment".

Who does the law affect?

The planned law should also make it clear that not only platform operators, but also all providers of messenger and Internet access services can be obliged under certain conditions to release data by a court in a two-stage procedure.

Even with the implementation of the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), which requires the speedy deletion of illegal content, some things are not going smoothly. The Federal Office of Justice imposed two fines of around 5.1 million euros on Telegram last fall. This involves possible violations of the obligation to provide legally compliant reporting channels and the obligation to appoint a domestic authorized recipient under the NetzDG. The Federal Office was recently dissatisfied with the complaint management of the short message service Twitter.

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