In future, the German federal government wants to take tougher action against operators of criminal trading platforms on the Internet. To this end, the cabinet will discuss a corresponding draft of the Federal Ministry of Justice today, Wednesday, which is to amend the German Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure accordingly. In a Statement (German language) eco – Association of the Internet Industry expresses considerable reservations about the current draft and calls for a clear distinction between criminal marketplaces in the so-called darknet and completely legal Internet platforms that may be misused by third parties to commit illegal acts.
“There is no question that weapons, drugs and child sexual abuse material have no place on the Internet and the corresponding illegal online trade must be effectively restricted,” says Alexandra Koch-Skiba, Head of the eco Complaints Office. “However, the proposed draft places virtually every platform on the Internet under general suspicion, it lacks any clear definition of the norm addressees, and it thus clearly goes too far. Here, the legislator must make improvements, otherwise there will be considerable legal uncertainty for the providers and their legitimate business models.” The draft also includes platforms and Internet forums on which users exchange information for non-commercial purposes – from social networks to online games with a chat function, or news articles with a comment field.
The eco Association also fears that the new law may facilitate the use of so-called state Trojans. Koch-Skiba: “Before the cabinet and the Bundestag decide on such a far-reaching law, the resulting consequences should first be thought through to the end.”