As you might imagine, privacy advocates aren’t thrilled with this latest revision, either. One concern is that it will force private companies to help police build a database of people’s personal information. Particularly worrisome is the fact the law obligates companies to transfer someone’s data before there’s suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. Another issue is that the law effectively puts the onus of identifying and forwarding potentially harmful content on companies like Facebook and Twitter.
The addition to NetzDG is part of a broader push by Germany to control online hate speech, which the government has linked to an increase in right-wing extremism. In 2019, a neo-nazi extremist murdered Walter Lübcke, a pro-migrant member of chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party. In the lead up to the crime, Lübcke received multiple death threats.
The good news is that the German government is considering a broader reform of NetzDG that would make the law more transparent by enforcing more robust user notifications. If passed, it would also give people the right to have their posts restored in cases where they’ve successfully appealed a deletion.