Free­dom on the Net – iRights.Lab Writes Report for Ger­many

Inter­net free­dom faces count­less threats. That is the result of the lat­est “Free­dom on the Net” report from the Wash­ing­ton think tank Free­dom House. Once again, the iRights.Lab has drawn up the sec­tion of the report that looks at Ger­many.

State cen­sor­ship, blocked inter­net ser­vices, jail terms for com­ments crit­i­cis­ing the gov­ern­ment. These are just a few exam­ples that illus­trate the threats fac­ing all of our free­dom on the inter­net. These are not iso­lat­ed phe­nom­e­na, as the past year’s “Free­dom on the Net” report makes clear. This com­pact sketch makes a sum­ma­ry of the sit­u­a­tion in indi­vid­ual coun­tries and presents them graph­i­cal­ly. This quick­ly makes it clear where urgent action is need­ed.

The iRights.Lab per­ma­nent­ly analy­ses the events and devel­op­ments on this score in Ger­many in par­tic­u­lar, and their social con­se­quences. Hen­ning Lah­mann, Senior Pol­i­cy Advi­sor, and Philipp Otto, Founder and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the iRights.Lab, have con­tributed to their third Report on Ger­many in a row (PDF, ~0,5 MB).

They cite the deci­sion of the Ger­man Fed­er­al Inter­net Agency to give Deutsche Telekom exclu­sive access to vec­tor­ing tech­nol­o­gy for broad­band devel­op­ment as one of the three most impor­tant events in the year. This deci­sion led many to fear the devel­op­ment of a monop­oly on the mar­ket. Other neg­a­tive events includ­ed the judi­cial inquiry against Netzpolitik.org blog­gers and jour­nal­ists Markus Beckedahl and Andre Meis­ter as well as the intro­duc­tion of data reten­tion (VDS).

In gen­er­al, though, there is a pos­i­tive bal­ance-sheet for the year, as local ser­vices like Face­book or Twit­ter can be used with­out restric­tion and cases of state cen­sor­ship are unheard of. That means that while Ger­many comes off very well in com­par­i­son with coun­tries like China, Syria, or Turkey, it has nev­er­the­less fall­en back to fifth place. Free­dom of infor­ma­tion and speech are pre­cious things, which require tire­less defence. That means that we need not only to mon­i­tor social, but also tech­ni­cal devel­op­ments, so that appro­pri­ate mea­sures can be taken in good time.

To learn more about inter­net free­dom, down­load the Free­dom on the Net 2016 report from the Free­dom House web­site as a PDF ( ~4 MB) or look up the online ver­sion. Philipp Otto and Hen­ning Lah­mann from the iRights.Lab have also writ­ten the Report on Ger­many for Free­dom on the Net 2017. It is cur­rent­ly in the process of being reviewed and will be pub­lished togeth­er with the whole report in the final quar­ter of this year.

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