Berlin (dpa) – Disseminators of hate speech online in Germany, whether by putting out Nazi propaganda, praising criminal acts or threatening rape, are in future to be reported to the Federal Criminal Police Office, the cabinet decided on Wednesday.
The German parliament is now to consider amendments to the relevant legislation.
The current legal position is that social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, are required only to delete offensive material when their attention is drawn to them.
In cases of serious crime, such as terrorism or crimes involving homicide, or where a court order has been made, the authorities are entitled to demand passwords.
Where these are encrypted and saved at the providers, they should be handed over in this form.
The measures are intended to offer special protection to local politicians. While the criminal justice code offers certain legal protections to all involved in politics, it has in the past largely been used for politicians at federal or state level.
An addition to the relevant paragraph clarifies that this protection extends to the municipal level as well.