eco on the German Act for Law Enforcement in Social Networks: “Stop the legislation, as collateral damage is inevitable”

On the occasion of the German Legal Affairs Committee’s public hearing on the planned “Act for the Improvement of Law Enforcement in Social Networks”, eco – Association of the Internet Industry points again forcefully to its position on the proposed legislation, and emphasizes:

“Political responsibility also means recognizing in time when you have made a mistake – and this law is a fundamental mistake with the potential for catastrophic collateral damage”, says Oliver Süme, eco Director of Policy & Law. He went on to say that it was absolutely unnecessary to exert further artificial political pressure to rush the legislation through the German parliament before the federal election in September: „We would hope for considerably more thoroughness instead of speed in the legislative process, especially in an area as sensitive to fundamental rights as this."

As the German Parliament will be dealing with the first reading of the proposed legislation on Thursday, eco appeals to the parliamentarians to take seriously the numerous criticisms on hand from diverse socio-political directions.

“When industry, academia, and a multitude of representatives of political institutions at the federal European, and international levels speak up in criticism against this proposed law, there is a reason,” Süme continues. Despite the general consensus that hate speech as defined in criminal law and other offences in the Internet should be prosecuted, the proposed legislation has been criticized for weeks from many angles, regarding both its content and its formulation.

eco has therefore suggested multiple times, together with an alliance and the “Declaration for Freedom of Opinion”, to establish a round-table as soon as possible where politics, academia, the civil society, and industry can work together to find productive and, with regard to the rule of law, effective approaches to combatting criminal content in the Internet.