Compromise on cell phone data: clear the way for law against hate online


Status: 03/26/2021 3:56 p.m.

The Bundestag and Bundesrat have agreed on a law against hate crime on the Internet. Anyone who spreads hate speech online or threatens people must expect tougher persecution and harsher penalties in the future.

The Bundestag and Bundesrat have cleared the way for a new law to combat right-wing extremism and hate crime on the Internet. Both parliament and the regional chamber agreed to a compromise negotiated in the mediation committee on access to mobile phone user data.

This pending new regulation on the so-called inventory data had also stopped the new law against hatred and hate speech on the Internet, with which there are content overlaps. The Bundestag and Bundesrat had already approved this in the summer, but Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stopped it because of constitutional concerns.

Don’t just delete it, report it to the BKA

Anyone who spreads hateful messages or threats people online must expect more severe persecution in the future. For example, social networks such as Facebook or Twitter should no longer just delete posts with neo-Nazi propaganda, hate speech or threats of murder and rape, but report them immediately to the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).

In order to quickly identify the perpetrators, they also have to pass on IP addresses. In the case of particularly serious crimes such as terrorism and homicides, passwords should also be required after a judge’s decision. If the passwords are stored in encrypted form by the providers, they are also transmitted in exactly the same way.

“Stop the ever new waves of hatred”

Threats of assault or sexual assault or announcements, such as setting the car on fire, will in future be treated in a similar way to death threats, namely as criminal offenses. Such statements on the Internet face imprisonment of up to two years, and public death threats of up to three years.

Insults on the Internet should also be punished with up to two years in prison. Anti-Semitic motives are seen as aggravating the punishment.

“We have to stop the ever new waves of hatred. Contempt for human beings, racism, anti-Semitism – all of this is omnipresent on the Internet. And in the pandemic it is often even more aggressive than before,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht. “Threats of murder or rape are not expressions of opinion, but crimes that must be consistently prosecuted.”

Compromise on cell phone data

The prerequisite for this new regulation is the compromise reached on Wednesday on new access rules for the data of cell phone users. The Federal Constitutional Court objected to the previous requirements for access to inventory data last year and demanded a reform by the end of 2021. It is about the so-called inventory data, which includes not only the name and address of the user, but also passwords and bank details as well as the IP address of a computer. They do not include any content such as phone calls or emails.

Data may only be used for criminal offenses

However, the agreement also affects usage data that providers need to enable the use of their services and billing. It is now planned, among other things, that usage data may only be used for the prosecution of criminal offenses, but not for the prosecution of less serious administrative offenses. Issuing passwords should only be considered in the case of particularly serious criminal offenses. Telecommunications providers should also be allowed to provide information on inventory data only to pursue particularly serious administrative offenses.

“Without the law, from January 1st of the coming year, the authorities would be left without the possibility of actually identifying the user behind it by querying existing data, for example in the case of child pornography content posted online,” said the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, G√ľnter Krings (CDU ).

The Greens and FDP had recently had concerns about the planned inventory data regulation and abstained from voting.

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Compromise cell phone data clear law hate online


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