Corona doesn't just make you sick

Current private and state projects are intended to further restrict freedom of expression on the Internet. Some countries are now resisting the private arbitrariness of tech companies and ban content deletions. At the same time, comprehensive “citizen numbers” are adopted and “digital identities” are sought. Here follows a selection of threatening tendencies.

Viewing “social media” is always two-edged. Because the counter-public, which the Internet companies now partly radically and self-gloriously censor, they have previously made possible: Facebook, Google and Youtube have also played a part in the fact that a media landscape beyond the established corporate media could emerge on the Internet. Now, however, it is precisely the temporarily helpful tech companies that pose a potential danger to these freedoms of opinion. In principle, we should also say about digitalization: the rapid development can include many practical and possibly positive innovations for everyday life. But the negative excesses in the digital space – both private censorship and state digital control-must nevertheless be denounced time and again. Here, therefore, follows a subjective and incomplete selection of the very current, sometimes highly problematic tendencies.

State monitoring of messenger services

Selon les plans actuels du ministère fédéral de l’intérieur (IMC), les citoyens doivent désormais s’identifier s’ils souhaitent communiquer en ligne via des services de messagerie, des conversations Audio, vidéo ou même par e-Mail. Ainsi, lors des négociations sur la modification de la Loi sur les télécommunications (TKG), L’IMC entend imposer à court terme des modifications aux conséquences profondes pour tous les utilisateurs D’Internet, comme le rapport médias. Le fournisseur de messagerie “Posteo” rapporte que L’IMC exige, par exemple, que les citoyens déposent obligatoirement leur nom, adresse et date de naissance auprès des fournisseurs qui doivent vérifier ces informations (par exemple avec une carte D’identité ou des services D’identification). Le médium note:

“The obligation to identify would fundamentally change the way people use online services in this country.”

The data of the users should therefore be stored nationwide for the purpose of possible future prosecution: this is nothing else than a personal data retention. According to the reports, the social consequences would be enormous: for example, in the participation of people without ID (children, refugees) or of people who do not want to provide their data online everywhere due to security concerns. Confidential requests for help and consultation of advisory services would be made just as difficult as the work of journalists. In addition, the data collections would be highly attractive for data thieves and increasingly target attacks. Data protection principles would be ignored. The BMI’s “wish list” contains numerous other questionable aspects.

Private censorship of the Internet

In addition to such governmental efforts to increase surveillance on the Internet, there are private tendencies towards censorship in the digital space. The attempts of large Internet companies to influence users ' opinions or to shield them from certain content are increasing rapidly. A drastic example was the blocking of the accounts of former US President Donald Trump. Since these suspensions are not based on transparent decisions, for example by courts, they are a questionable form of private censorship. And an expression of the arbitrariness of a small group with the deletions. A recent example of this arbitrariness was the censorship of the live broadcast of a Trump speech by RT on Youtube. According to RT DE, the speech was broadcast live on his channel on Sunday. YouTube has given the station a warning and deleted the video.

And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced in this post that he will make an even stronger political-content selection in the future: the goal is to “prevent heated debates, sow division”. Here, too, however, it is an intransparent process and an unauthorized group that makes this selection at its own discretion.

Poland prohibits the blocking of Accounts

In Poland and Russia, this form of private arbitrariness could soon be banned: for example, the government in Poland wants to make the blocking of accounts by high penalties unattractive to providers of social media, as media report. The Polish Minister of Justice presented the “Law for the Protection of Freedom of Speech”. Up to 50 million złoty (eleven million euros) would threaten the providers if they did not restore the deleted posts or accounts.

According to “Anti-Spiegel”, Russia has also just passed a law that threatens to punish (Western) Internet companies, including blocking them in Russia, if they censor Russian media or Russian bloggers.

As if to confirm the concern about the private self-aggrandizement of tech companies, Twitter recently reported the blocking of hundreds of channels from Iran, Armenia and Russia. The is not politically neutral justification of Twitter for the blocking of 69 Russian channels is:

“Our initial investigation found and removed a network of 69 fake accounts that are securely tied to Russian state actors. A number of these accounts reinforced narratives consistent with the Russian government’s line, while another part of the network focused on undermining trust in the NATO alliance and its stability.”

Google, money and journalism

In addition to this censorship, the Otto Brenner Foundation recently investigated how Google uses its wealth to buy into the formation of opinion in Germany in its study “Media patron Google-How the data company Ensnares Journalism”. According to this, Google has invested more than 200 million euros in European journalism in the last seven years. In addition to investments in technology, research projects would also be funded, journalism congresses organized and training visits of young journalists financed. This leads to the question: why is Google doing this?

A questionable Google cooperation has just been put on hold by the courts, namely that between the Ministry of Health and the search engine. According to media, the court based the judgments, among other things, on the fact that the state cooperation with Google could lead to a “reduction of media and opinion diversity” in Germany.

Facebook recruits personnel to authorities and NATO

Facebook relies on aggressive lobbying by high – profile staff-probably also in order to keep such defeats as rare as possible. For example, [media](https://www.merkur.de/politik/csu-andreas-scheuer-facebook-freundin-reuss-dorothee-baer-lobbyismus-opposition-90198717.html “Facebook macht Dorothee Bärs Büroleiterin zu Chef-Lobbyistin - “Schadet Vertrauen in Demokratie”") report that Facebook will fill the position of” Public Policy Director Central Europe " with Julia Reuss: This is strategically wise, because Reuss War for two years office manager of Digital Minister of State Dorothee Bär, can also use the corresponding insights and contacts for Facebook.

In addition, Facebook has just hired former NATO press officer Ben Nimmo, as US media report. According to the US blog” Mintpress”, it is “now difficult to distinguish where the” Deep State"ends and the fourth Violence begins, and Ben Nimmo’s move from NATO to a NATO-allied think tank on Facebook is just another example of this phenomenon.”

No one has the intention to introduce a digital vaccination certificate

Back to state projects of the digital course and the potential introduction of a Two-class society", According to Reports check the Federal Ministry of health and the Federal Ministry of the interior Federal dying-wide introduction of a digital vaccination certificate. Those who receive such a card, according to media, would die, although the corona rules continue to apply. But if, for example, restaurants or gyms are allowed to reopen, operators would be able to grant only vaccinated access.

In addition, the Bundestag has recently raised the tax identification number to the uniform citizen number for all authorities. This comprehensive citizen number is intended to enable the authorities to access existing personal data from other authorities. Häring has described in numerous articles on a “digital identity” this currently impending development for comprehensive surveillance.

“This marks the path to becoming a transparent citizen.”

And the very recent decisions of the Bund-Länder Conference on Corona also point to a development that makes an individual digital “contact tracking” socially acceptable:

“Countries ensure in their regulations that the mandatory documentation for contact tracking can also be done in electronic form, for example via apps, if it is ensured that the time, place and accessibility of the contact person are sufficiently precisely documented and the data in case of an infection is made available directly to the competent health office in usable form. As part of a nationwide uniform procedure, the länder jointly select a system for the digitalization of contact tracking, assign and implement it urgently and make it available free of charge.”