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The German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (Bundesministerium für Digitales und Verkehr – BMDV) has drawn up a new draft bill which shall introduce:

  • (i) a statutory obligation for providers of number-independent interpersonal communication services (e.g. instant messaging services) to allow their users to use end-to-end encryption (“E2EE”), and (ii) a statutory transparency obligation for such providers to inform their users accordingly; and
  • a statutory transparency obligation for providers of certain cloud services to inform their users about how to use continuous and secure encryption (“Draft Bill”).

The Draft Bill (status 7 February 2024), which does not have any basis in EU law, is available here (German content).Continue Reading Germany’s government plans to introduce a statutory ‘right to encryption’ for users of messaging and cloud storage services

In a recent decision of December 19, 2021, case no. 1 BvR 1073/20 (published with an official press release dated February 2, 2022), the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht – BVerfG) set aside several judgments of the Berlin civil courts. The Berlin civil courts had denied the plaintiff, who alleges she was exposed to hate speech on a social network, the right to demand from the operator of the social network access to customer data, i.e., the full names of the users who had posted the content that the plaintiff considered to be hate speech. In the view of the BVerfG, the Berlin courts had failed to properly balance the parties’ interests and thereby had violated the plaintiff’s fundamental rights.
Continue Reading Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court provides guidance for assessing claims against hate speech on social media

The Interstate Treaty on Media (Medienstaatsvertrag – MStV) has finally been ratified by all 16 German federal states and can now enter into force. On 28 October 2020, the Parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – the last German federal state to ratify the MStV – adopted the Act ratifying the MStV. Ratification of the MStV by all German federal states is a precondition for the MStV entering into force.

The MStV is the German implementation of the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2010/13/EU, as amended by Directive 2018/1808/EU.

The MStV replaces the current Interstate Treaty on Broadcasting (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag – RStV) and is considered an important milestone in media policy. It is an essential part of the national efforts to modernise the media landscape and to make the German legislative framework fit for the next level of digital media. Consequently, the MStV focuses on services beyond the category of broadcasting, i.e., telemedia services, as well as on broadcasting. With media intermediaries, media platforms, user interfaces and video-sharing-services, the MStV applies to many players on the media market.
Continue Reading Germany’s next steps in digitization: Finally, the new Interstate Treaty on Media has been ratified by all German federal states

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the brand ambassador and influencer industry in different ways. Social media engagement is up. Screen times have increased. Advertising campaigns of brand ambassadors for organizations and influencers might have been adjusted. Self-quarantining audiences have different demands. With the strong trust from their followers, influencers on social media channels such as

On May 27, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court invalidated section 113 of the German Telecommunications Act (TKG) and several accompanying federal law provisions for non-compliance with the German Constitution (case nos. 1 BvR 1873/13 and 1 BvR 2618/13). On July 17, 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court published the fully reasoned judgment as well as a press release outlining the Federal Constitutional Court’s key considerations (press release no. 61/2020 of July 17, 2020, available in German and English).

Background

Section 113 TKG enables German security authorities to request from providers of telecommunications services access to personal customer data linked to the conclusion or performance of a telecommunication services contract (Subscriber Data). Subscriber Data includes information such as a subscriber’s name, date of birth, telephone number, address, bank details, login data, or an IP-address assigned at a certain point of time. By contrast, data relating to the use of telecommunications services (so-called traffic data) is not covered by section 113 TKG.
Continue Reading Highest German Court invalidates Section 113 of the German Telecommunications Act and abandons service providers’ obligation to grant authorities access to subscriber data

On April 1, 2020, Germany’s federal government published a new draft bill to amend the German Hate Speech Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz – “NetzDG”; see also our earlier blog of October 2, 2017). The draft bill (“Bill”) is available in German here.

The Bill will introduce a number of improvements for users of social networks. It will also supplement the amendments to the NetzDG proposed already on February 19, 2020 in the Draft Bill to Combat Right-wing Extremism and Hate Crime (Gesetzentwurf zur Bekämpfung des Rechtsextremismus und der Hasskriminalität; more information is available in German here). In particular, platform providers will need to arrange for more user-friendly notification procedures, and also establish and maintain procedures that enable users to object to the deletion of comments they have made and have their comments reposted on the platform.Continue Reading German government introduces new bill to amend Germany’s Hate Speech Act, establishing new requirements for social networks and video-sharing platforms

On February 13, 2020, the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) published a proposal to soften the regulatory requirements for influencers for labeling their posts as advertising (Proposal). Under the Proposal, statements posted on social media about products for which no consideration was given – either in the form of monetary compensation

On 9 September 2019, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung – BMZ) introduced a new, state-regulated environmental label for “Green Button” (Grüner Knopf) certified textiles with a press release. The BMZ also launched the official Green Button website, which is available in German at http://www.gruener-knopf.de/.

In a nutshell

The Green Button is a logo that serves as evidence that the textile products concerned were manufactured and placed on the market in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner. The state is responsible for determining the requirements for Green Button certification.

The Green Button is intended to help consumers and public procurement agencies in identifying such textile products. The logo can be attached directly to certified textile products to demonstrate that the products meet the demanding social and environmental requirements.Continue Reading Germany launches new, state-approved label for environmentally certified “Green Button” textiles (Grüner Knopf)

In its recent decision of 11 June 2019 (docket no.: 4 U 760/19, available here), the Dresden Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht Dresden – Court of Appeals) had to decide on claims for damages under Article 82 GDPR with regard to minor violations of the GDPR.

Background

The defendant, the provider of a social