Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

spd cdu logoLeading German MPs have called for online ‘fake news’ campaigns to be made a crime. Patrick Sensburg, a senior MP in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, said:

Targeted disinformation to destabilise a state should be a criminal offence. We need to consider whether there should be some sort of ‘test site’ that reveals and identifies propaganda pages.

The call was backed by his party colleague Ansgar Heveling, the chairman of the German parliament’s influential internal affairs committee aying:

We last saw disinformation campaigns during the Cold War, now they have clearly been revived with new media opportunities. The law already offers options, such as a slander or defamation. But I think a criminal sentence is more appropriate when it is a targeted campaign.

German intelligence has warned that Russia is seeking to influence next year’s German elections via propaganda distributed via the internet, partcularly social media. Russia has been accused of deliberately using socialbots , automated software masqueraring as real people, to promote ‘fake news’ stories on social media.

Mrs Merkel’s current coalition partners and main rival in next year’s elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), have also called for a cross-party alliance against ‘fake news’ stories. Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD leader called for

Democratic solidarity against manipulative socialbots and an alliance against ‘fake news’.

Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel of the SPD added:

If there is any doubt about the authenticity of any information, we should refrain from attacking our political opponents with it.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Facebook logo Germanpulse has published an interesting piece about German politicians expecting social media websites to pre-censors posts that the government doesn’t like:

We have reported on the German government’s war against social media giants Facebook, Twitter and Google many times over the last year as the country tries to rid the popular sites of any signs of hate speech. While the companies have made attempts to appease government officials with stricter enforcement, each move is said to still not be enough. The question is: is Germany taking the fight too far?

Volker Kauder, a member of the CDU, spoke with Der Spiegel this week to say the time for roundtables is over. I’ve run out of patience, and argues that Facebook, Twitter and Google have failed and should pay 50,000 euro ($54,865) fines for not providing a strict level of censorship.

All major social media sites do provide tools to report hate speech offenders, but Kauder isn’t the only one to argue that the tool is ineffective.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas made a statement that only 46 percent of the comments were erased by Facebook, while a mere one percent were taken care of by Twitter.

Maas’ solution is not much different from Kauder’s, as he told Handelsblatt that the companies should face legal consequences.

…Read the full article from germanpulse.com

Der Spiegel has also published an opinion piece showing a little exasperation with trying to get comments censored by Facebook.

In June, the national body made up of justice ministers from the 16 federal states in Germany launched a legislative initiative to introduce a law which, if passed, would require operators of Internet platforms to immediately disclose the identity of users whose online actions are the subject of criminal proceedings. The law explicitly covers companies that are not based in Germany, but in fact do business here.

Justice Minister Maas must now introduce the draft law to Chancellor Merkel’s cabinet, but he’s hesitant out of fear of a backlash among a net community that still views Facebook as a symbol of Internet freedom. So far, he has done little that goes beyond appeals. If he wanted too, however, Maas could push for a further tightening of the country’s telecommunications law. All that would be needed is a clause stipulating that every Internet company that does business in Germany would be required to name one person within the firm who is a resident in the country who could be held liable under German law.

…Read the full article from spiegel.de

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Germany flag Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s interior minister has said that Facebook should be more proactive in removing racist and violent content from its sites:

Facebook has an immensely important economic position and just like every other large enterprise it has a immensely important social responsibility.

Facebook should take down racist content or calls for violence from its pages on its own initiative even if it hasn’t yet received a complaint.

The German government has been critical of Facebook in the past as it is the main medium for people to express their discontent about the government’s refugee policies.

De Maiziere said he recognized Facebook’s efforts to develop software that can better identify outlawed content and praised its efforts to fight child pornography. He added though:

But it’s up to the company to ensure those terms are upheld. A company with a good reputation for innovation will have to earn a good reputation in this area.

Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the United Nations who now heads the Counter Extremist Project (CEP) in New York, a non-profit group that maintains a database of information about extremist groups, said about Facebook:

Of all the companies, Facebook has done the most, but they’re all just starting to recognize that the weaponization of social media platforms is not good business and not good for society.

CEP is completing testing of a new software tool that will identify new images and videos published on social media sites by Islamic State and other extremist groups, and remove them instantly wherever they occur, much as already done with child pornography images.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da The regional court in Bonn has decided that the German censors who effectively banned Rammstein”s CD, Liebe ist für alle da , acted illegally and must pay the band 15,000 euros in damages.This assessment from the Bonn Regional Court upheld the decision of the Cologne Administrative Court. The ban was triggered by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons in Bonn.

The rock band had sued the Federal Republic of Germany for just under 70,000 euros. In 2009, the Federal Department had put the CD on the index for youth-endangering media, because one of the songs titled I hurt you you was classified as brutalizing and immoral.

The ‘classification’ banned all promotion and advertising for the CD and imposed suffocating restrictions at the point of sale. The ban continued for 6 months until the Cologne Administrative Court lifted the ban.

The Bonn judge said the censors had weighed insufficiently between artistic freedom and youth protection. However the court downsized the amount of damages from that requested.

The parties now have one month to consider this proposal.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

schelm mein kampf advert The German Right-wing publisher Schelm-Verlag  intends to release a version of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf without annotations.Amid much furor, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf returned to German bookstores in January – albeit in annotated form. The first editions, with around 3,700 comments from historians, intended to put the diatribe into context, sold out within weeks.

The publication was made possible only this year after the book’s copyright had expired, 70 years after Hitler’s death. Legally speaking, the work is considered seditious. But with the annotations by the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History, the legal case for publication was sound. That’s not necessarily the case for the new unannotated edition.

Schelm, based in Leipzig, is already taking orders on its website for the unaltered reprint, which the publisher says will serve as a source of public education, help defend against unconstitutional efforts and provide historical documentation for the academic world.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Germany flag People operating open WiFi networks in Germany have long risked being held liable for the actions of those using them. However, to the relief of thousands of citizens that position will change later this year after the country’s coalition government decided to abolish the legislation which holds operators responsible for the file-sharing activities of others.In many countries it’s accepted that whoever commits a crime or a civil tort in the file-sharing space is the person that should be held directly responsible for it.

In Germany, however, the position is more complex. Due to a concept known as störerhaftung, a third party who played no intentional part in someone else’s infringements can be held liable for them. This type of liability has raised its head in many file-sharing cases where open WiFi owners have been considered liable for other people’s infringements.

Now, however, this stifling situation is probably in its dying days. According to a Spiegel report, Germany’s ruling coalition have agreed to abolish the so-called interferer liability .

This means that both private and small scale WiFi operators (such as cafe owners) will soon enjoy the same freedom from liability enjoyed by commercial operators. No splash-pages or password locks will be required meaning that open WiFi hotspots will at last become as freely available in Germany as they are already in countries such as France and the UK.

Pressure had been mounting on the German government following a European Court of Justice opinion published in March which held that entities operating unsecured wireless networks should not be held liable for the copyright infringements of third parties.

The case involves Pirate Party member Tobias McFadden who received a claim from music company Sony who alleged that his open WiFi was used to offer an album without permission. Sony demanded that McFadden prevent future infringement by password protecting his network, blocking file-sharing ports, and logging/blocking users sharing copyrighted content. The Pirate objected to Sony’s claims of liability and the case went to the European Court of Justice.

The final judgment from the ECJ is not expected for a few months but in most cases early recommendations from experts are upheld by the ruling judge.

According to reports the legislative amendments are set to be passed by Parliament next week and could be in place as early as this fall.

Read more Privacy at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Facebook logo Facebook has been fined 100,000 euros in Germany after failing to follow orders regarding clearer privacy terms and conditions for users.The regional court of Berlin ruled that the company did not sufficiently alter the working of an intellectual property clause in its terms and conditions, despite being told to do so following a complaint filing by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. The entity’s head, Klaus Mueller, said that Facebook keeps attempting to evade customer laws in Germany as well as in the entire continent.

In March 2012, a German court originally ruled that the company’s terms and conditions were vague on the extent to which it could go with users’ data and intellectual property, implying Facebook could license its users’ photos and videos to third parties for business reasons. However, the authorities’ primary issue was Facebook’s compliance with the US government to provide data for its mass surveillance programs. After Edward Snowden’s revelations on the US government’s spying programs and how the tech industry complies, the issue has gained more gravity.

While Facebook complied with the ruling four years ago, the Berlin court now concludes that it merely changed the wording of the clause in question without changing the message that it conveyed. Meanwhile, the company defended itself saying that it had complied with the original ruling and was issued the fine because it couldn’t implement the changes quickly enough.