Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information Ulrich Kelber is calling for improvement of the Internet Hate Crimes Act, passed in June. In his “advice to the legislature and in my statements to the federal government and the Bundestag, he pointed out several times that the planned laws are questionable from a data protection standpoint,” Kelber told Tagesspiegel. He sees his criticisms confirmed by a report from the Bundestag, now published by the Green Group, stating that the provisions are in part unconstitutional.
According to a report by the Bundestag Scientific Service, the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) has no authority to identify the user of a social network on the basis of data sent. “Therefore, the obligation to provide the IP address is disproportionate and therefore not constitutional.”
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A decision of the Federal Constitutional Court stood in the way
The criticism is essentially driven by a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court in July, which declared several regulations on the information provided by telecommunications companies unconstitutional. However, these findings only came after the parliamentary approval of the law.
The new law against hate crime stipulates that social network operators must report hate speech to the BKA so that they can be prosecuted by the investigating authorities. This includes death threats, incitement and violence, the sanctioning of criminal offenses and the distribution of child pornography. This is to counter the increasing hate crimes on the net. According to expert advice from Matthias Bäcker, a lawyer from Mainz, the law passed in June contains “partly clear, partly with very likely unconstitutional and partly constitutionally dubious regulations,” as the Greens announced. It must therefore be urgently corrected.
The head of state could refuse to sign the law
The statutory notification obligation “is constitutionally untenable in type and scope,” criticized Green MP Renate Künast. For example, a two-stage reporting process is needed, so that the data is only diverted when the BKA, as a public authority, has justified an initial suspicion.
The federal council passed the bill in July, but Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has not yet signed it. Whether this will happen is open. According to media reports, Steinmeier employees have already started talks with the Justice Department, the Home Office and the Chancellery to discuss constitutional concerns. Steinmeier has the right to refuse to implement laws if they clearly violate the Basic Law. The Ministry of Justice does not comment on this. It is important to wait for the Federal President’s proceedings, he said. (With AFP)