The Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) has so far launched 265 criminal investigations into the fight against online hate speech and hate. "The current figures speak for themselves," said Hesse's Minister of Justice Eva Kühne-Hörmann (CDU) of the German Press Agency in Wiesbaden. "There is a great need among the population for criminal prosecution of 'hate speech' on the Internet."
"Detection tools are often not sufficient"
Unfortunately, the investigative tools provided by legislators at federal level and in Europe are often not sufficient to identify the perpetrators behind the screens, the Justice Minister warned. "Here I would like more support from those involved."
The previous investigation procedures can be traced back to two channels, explained Kühne-Hörmann. ZIT had initiated 122 investigations on the basis of reports on the state reporting platform at "hessen Gegenhetze.de". The other 143 investigations were based on the cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and several non-governmental cooperation partners.
The Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT) was founded in 2010 as a special unit of the General Prosecutor's Office in Frankfurt and deals with child pornography, arms and drug trafficking as well as counterfeiting in the darknet, hacker attacks and data theft. Since the end of 2019, the persecution of hatred and agitation on the Internet has also become a focus. In the future, this area will work as a separate pillar within the ZIT.
Messages to social networks
Since the beginning of the year, hate comments on the state reporting platform "Hessen gegen Hetze" can also be sent anonymously to the Cyber Competence Center (Hessen3C), Hessen's competence center for protection against cyberattacks for the public sector and companies. According to the Minister of Justice, documentation, evidence preservation and context research are then carried out there.
Against this background, if the comment was assessed as relevant under criminal law and documented with evidence, the investigation to identify the author followed. There are also reports to the providers of social networks to remove hate comments relevant to criminal law as soon as possible from public perception. Kühne-Hörmann reported that these would also be passed on to ZIT.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, a total of around 700 reports have been checked by the "Hessen gegen Hetze" registration office since the start in mid-January. According to the initial assessment of the reporting office, 171 of these reports met relevant criminal offenses and had been passed on to the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime.
Support non-governmental organizations
The cooperation between the Ministry of Justice and non-governmental organizations such as "HateAid" and "Ichbinhier" provides, for example, that they can report evidence-supported comments directly to ZIT and receive feedback on their relevance under criminal law.
In return, those affected would contact the reporting platform hessen Gegenhetze.de turn through the employees specifically to advice and support offers of the civil society partners of the reporting system and mediate if necessary. In this context, ZIT has already received 16,840 reports and criminal complaints, of which around 40 percent are relevant under criminal law, the minister said.
. (tagsToTranslate) Cybercrime (t) Darknet (t) Hate Speech (t) Hessen (t) ZIT