How the Federal Government intends to tackle hate online

Enemy lists, stalkers and nude photos: Union and SPD want to take more effective action against hate and abuse on the Internet. Women in particular should be better protected in the future.

At the end of the legislative period, the grand coalition agreed on a package of laws against hate online and to protect women and children. It is to be approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat next week, as the Union and SPD announced on Wednesday.

The agreement regulates the ban on the publication of enemy lists. In the future, anyone who publishes lists that could expose people to danger will be liable to prosecution. In right-wing extremist circles in particular, this “disgusting practice” has become established, said Union legal expert Jan-Marco Luczak (CDU). On these lists, people are “named and sometimes even named with their address,” said the SPD’s legal policy spokesman, Johannes Fechner.

Better protection against stalking

The new law aims to better protect women from stalking in the future. The criminal offense of reenactment will be made more practical so that those affected are really better protected. The tightening of penalties should enable perpetrators to be taken into custody more quickly in the future.

Secret nude photos, for example in the sauna or in the nudist area, will also be punished in the future. The creation can be punished with a prison sentence of up to two years. With regard to the sexual abuse of children, it is regulated that instructions for abuse circulating on the Internet will also constitute a criminal offense in the future.

“Here we close an important gap”

In addition, in the case of the most serious criminal offenses without a statute of limitations, such as murder or genocide, the package will enable trials to be resumed after an acquittal if new, incriminating evidence is found after the court proceedings have ended. The prerequisite is that the criminal liability of a previously acquitted person arises.

Finally, criminal trading platforms are punishable. “Anyone who sells weapons or drugs on the Darknet can no longer excuse themselves by saying that the website does everything automatically,” said Thorsten Frei (CDU), Vice President of the Union faction. “We are closing an important gap here so that we can also capture those who provide a criminal infrastructure on the Internet.”

Some of the bills had been planned for a long time, and the coalition has now agreed on the final details.