Particularly in the area of combatting images of the sexual abuse of children, there has been close and effective cooperation with the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) for many years, with this also reflected in the German Federal Government’s report on the success in deleting Child Pornographic web content. This report has been published annually by the Federal Government since 2013 and proves that the principle of "take-down instead of blocking" and the collaboration of complaints bodies, the BKA, and the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors (BPjM) are very effective ways of combatting illegal Internet content.
Aside from the regular exchange of information in the area of combatting images of the sexual abuse of children, the collaboration with the BKA has, for more than ten years, included a written cooperation agreement between the complaint offices (eco, FSM, jugendschutz.net), the BKA, and the BPjM. We also cooperate with the police in the field of state security offenses, at both the federal and state levels.
The aim of the initiative “Prosecute, Don’t Just Delete - Law Enforcement on the Internet,” founded in 2017, is to set a clear sign against lawlessness and ruthlessness and for freedom and democracy online. Illegal hate comments are carefully assessed under criminal law. If there has been a violation of the law, take-down is initiated. In this way, the initiative makes an active contribution to the protection of freedom of expression.
In the area of filing charges, law enforcement agencies, the Media Authority of NRW, and several media companies have jointly developed specific workflows and efficient procedures, which they implement in a process involving ongoing consultation. For example, clearly-defined contact persons, a central reporting channel, and a standard format for reports have been agreed upon to minimize the effort for all involved. eco became an official partner of the initiative in January 2019. The medium-term goal of the initiative is to create a deterrent effect through the consistent sanctioning and public notification of any violations of the law and to thus effectively counter the coarsening of online communication.
The collaboration between the eco Complaints Office and state police is part of a cooperation agreement between eco, Networker NRW, and the North Rhine-Westphalia Criminal Police Office, which was signed in September 2017.
The eco Complaints Office is also active at the local level – one example is “SUSII” (Safe-and-Secure-on-the-Internet), a safety and security project that eco established together with the Cologne Police Headquarters in 2016. SUSII is a free and non-commercial Internet safety and security portal, targeted at citizens (of Cologne), as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and it has since been extended to cover the districts of Leverkusen and Rhine-Erft.