“A virtual sit-in is also possible according to german law”

Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger Uber Wikileaks, protests on the Internet and legislation in Germany and Europe

On the youngest publication of the Internet platform Wikileaks followed significant conflicts between network activists, state actors and private companies in recent weeks. Not only do the sanctions against structure and protagonists of Wikileaks, but also forms of political activism in the network, ensure lasting debates. Telepolis talked to Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger over the possibilities and boundaries of protest on the Internet.

Mrs Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, after the publications of the Wikileaks Internet platform is a true fight between the appendages and critics of this project. Companies that have exploited their cooperation with the project were aim of Internet articles that should paralyze their websites or fax connections. Is the punishable? Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: According to German criminal law, one can be punishable by so-called denial-of-service attacks due to computer subscription pursuant to Section 303b of the Criminal Code, because one is a data processing position to emphasize someone. This is quasi a material damaging in the virtual room. But the affected companies have not first abused their market position to dry out the project Wikileaks quasi? The reactions were like something like a virtual sit-in. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: Anyone who liked a virtual sit-in has the possibility to do so according to German law. Protests by mass email and boycott calls against companies are allowed and even protected by freedom of expression according to Article 5 of the Basic Law. The border between criminal protest and computer subsidence is where others are specifically granted a damage by paralyzing his data processing. This is not different with a real demonstration, but they were not allowed as a sign of protest the branches of companies took over. Why can the right to interact with political actions of the civil disobedience, but not yet on the Internet? For probable art conflicts of this kind, this was made for both sides legal certainty. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: You can also express his protest on the internet, also with mails. As I said: protest mails and boycott calls are allowed and covered by freedom of expression. Not allowed is the computer subscription. The legal certainty they demand is already available. How do you rate the rather massive sanctions in connection with Wikileaks? Accounts have been closed, reflections of the contents of the hosting providers undermaid and media pages locked … Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: I see that very critical. We can not criticize Lander in the West, which censors the internet because they see themselves threatened, but then even deny access to the Internet themselves. Because dictatorships often argue that state secrets are threatened. In this respect, I consider the decision of companies to turn off Wikileaks the access tap, especially there for problematic, where the prere of Western governments happens. Although I also see Wikileaks critical under certain aspects. I am particularly for that those who demand from other transparency also allow themselves to look them in the cards. Where wikileaks has violated laws, we have to think about it, the content is easy to sweeten. But where it just does not fit us what is published there, we have to live with it. Basically, however, I am why we deal more intensively with this new form of openness, including other portals. What is good about that? Where do we have to say: this is no longer, that is irresponsible or even forbidden? In this context: Are such excursions on the Internet with national legislation?? Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: National is only limited possible. But I am optimistic about European and international standards. For both the freedoms on the Internet and for their limits, there are already international standards, for example at European level. The computer crime, also in the form of computer subscription, is shared jointly by the Contracting States after a coverage of the Council of Europe. Freedom of expression – also on the internet – is written by the European Fundamental Rights. In Article 11 of the Charter, the freedom to receive and pass on the freedom, information and ideas without challenge on state boundaries, exemplary.

We do not need its own internet fundamental right in the Basic Law

In Germany, Article 8 of the Basic Law regulates the freedom of assembly. How could a corresponding regulation look for the internet? Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: The use of the internet as a source of information as well as medium for the exchange of opinions has already been protected by the Basic Law, by name in Article 5. This is the fundamental right to focus on the journalist, for example, in Germany in their research. This protection has been resilient in recent decades, the media have revealed many scandals and misstatements. As a Federal Minister of Justice, I have introduced a bill with which the aid to the Secret of the Secret is depressed, the freedom of the press was raised again. These rights can also take advantage of online journalists safely for themselves. Article 5 is also enough for the virtual missions of the exchange of views, over which they speak. The freedom of assembly, as article 8 guaranteed, does not fit because it requires a room meeting of the gathering persons. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: Especially for the lack of chat rooms, the community should give its own rules and recognize for binding. That’s not the task of the state. That should be excluded in this area. Western governments attach great importance to freedom rights: the right to free assembly, the right to free community and also the demonstration right. That’s why demand again: Must these human rights do not have to be adapted to the global public space internet? Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: I do not believe that we need its own internet fundamental right in the Basic Law. The mother and father of the Basic Law did not know the Internet. But they have regulated freedom of expression regardless of the form of communication. That’s why this fundamental right fits even today. Added to this is the protection of the postal and telecommunications secrecy against measures relating to the communications process on the Internet and not only on the written letter. The Federal Scarf Court developed a new online fundamental right in 2008 from the fundamental rights and its existing case law, protecting information technology systems from state intervention. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: However, the protection of the Basic Law ends where the criminal laws clearly prohibit certain actions. Also in an still free internet you will no child pornography and anti-Semitic hazy unavailable. In order to really effect such offenses and at the same time affecting the freedoms of the Internet as a necessary, I am for the fact that we will give such content immediately instead of locking them. (Harald NeuberTo)

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