German Draft Law on Combating Right-Wing Extremism and Hate Crimes Raises Serious Free Expression and Privacy Concerns

Last month, the German government approved a draft law intended to curb illegal online hate speech. The law is now likely to be adopted by the German Parliament, the Bundestag, which has recently held its first round of negotiations. Germany already has the strictest social media regulation of any democratic state (the 2018 NetzDG), but the government argues that new measures are necessary because of recent violent attacks and increased threats from right-wing extremist circles.

Clearly, the government is justified in taking such threats seriously, but whether another crackdown on online speech will in fact reduce the threat of real-world violence is doubtful. What is more, the proposed draft introduces dramatic and disproportionate risks to free expression and user privacy that German legislators must remedy before adopting this legislation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *