11.01.2021

eco Association Cautions Lawmakers Against a Rushed-Through Anti-Hate Law

In light of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, the German federal government plans to have the “repaired” version of the law on combating right-wing extremism and hate crime on the Internet confirmed by the Bundestag in an expedited procedure before the end of January. eco – Association of the Internet Industry views the events in Washington with the utmost gravity, but takes a critical stance on the expedited procedure for a law that has been deemed questionable under constitutional law.

On this topic, eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme has the following to say:

“The assault on the U.S. Capitol illustrates just how important it is to have a united front in support of democratic values. However, the chaotic events in Washington must not be used as a reason to simply rush through a law that the German Federal President deemed to be unconstitutional based on the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court in July. Looked at from today’s perspective, the question of whether the so-called ‘Reparation Bill’ fully complies with the requirements of Germany’s highest court is highly disputable. A constitutionally compliant and viable design must now be discussed intensively in the parliamentary process. The Internet is not a lawless space. However, law enforcement agencies must urgently adapt their working methods to the digital world, take consistent action against the creators of illegal content, and prosecute them. Outsourcing law enforcement to the private sector is definitely the wrong signal to set for our constitutional state.”

Background:

In the course of the ongoing legislative process, eco has already made it clear several times that hate & incitement have no place on the Internet, but that German lawmakers are overshooting the mark of effective law enforcement. Following plans by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) to also release posts from operators of small social networks who are exempt from the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), along with IP addresses, eco had also warned against a “suspicion database” that would correspond to a general reporting obligation – even for small companies.

eco on Planned Reform of the German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG): “Social networks confronted anew with great legal uncertainty”