17.06.2020

eco: “With the reformed Network Enforcement Act, German lawmakers are widely overshooting the mark when it comes to effective law enforcement on the Internet”

  • Draft legislation must be compatible with data protection, constitutional and EU law
  • eco calls for uniformity and transparency in the negotiations on the Digital Services Act
  • More personnel and technical resources: German federal states must make law enforcement more effective

Hate & incitement to hatred have no place on the Internet. eco – Association of the Internet Industry fully endorses this view and, as such, is an active advocate for an Internet with responsibility. Nevertheless, eco still sees a substantial need for improvement in the drafts for the revision of the German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) – the draft law on combating right-wing extremism and hate crime, and the draft bill to amend the Network Enforcement Act – which were presented by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) within a short space of time. Today, Wednesday, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection is dealing with both drafts. On Thursday, 18 June, the German Bundestag is expected, at the very least, to adopt the draft law on combating right-wing extremism and hate crime in its second and third readings.

On this subject, Oliver J. Süme, eco Chair of the Board, has the following to say: “Illegal hate commentary, terrorist propaganda, and material on child abuse must not be allowed a place on the Internet, but with the announced draft law on combating right-wing extremism and hate crime, the German legislator is widely overshooting the mark when it comes to effective law enforcement. In spite of the considerable criticism levelled against it, reservations on the draft law in the areas of existing data protection, constitutional and European law have not been dispelled. The European Commission came to a similar conclusion in the framework of the mandatory notification procedure. Instead of outsourcing further measures to combat illegal content to the operators of social networks, it is intended that the legislator at European level should advocate a uniformly applicable and transparent procedure in the negotiations on the Digital Services Act. Likewise, the necessary personnel and technical resources must be made available at federal state level in order to achieve effective law enforcement”.

In addition to position papers issued on the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection’s “draft act on combating right-wing extremism and hate crime” and the “draft law to amend the Network Enforcement Law”, eco has developed guidelines for revising the Network Enforcement Law.

 

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