EThere is one point on which Federal Digital Minister Volker Wissing and the critical digital community are very close: When it comes to the European Commission’s plans for “chat control”. Then the digital minister even gets applause from the crowd at the “Festival of the digital society Re:publica” in Berlin. In the European Council of Ministers, he would “put up all the arguments” to prevent the project from happening,” he promised in an interview with online journalist and Re:publica co-founder Markus Beckedahl. “We must not live in fear that algorithms will misunderstand us,” he warns. “That does something to us.” So much agreement irritates even Beckedahl, who opens the question and answer session with an appreciative statement: “It’s something special to get applause here as a politician.”
In their fundamental criticism, the FDP and Internet activists agree: the EU Commission presented a draft law in mid-May with which it intends to curb the spread of child pornography on the Internet. Civil rights organizations, Internet activists and FDP politicians such as Wissing and Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann, on the other hand, fear a new form of EU-controlled mass surveillance. Finally, the EU Commission wants to oblige service providers such as Google or Meta to scan their customers’ communication for indications of illegal videos or criminal solicitation of minors via text messages (so-called grooming).
fight against abuse
The draft even goes too far for the German Child Protection Association. On Friday, the responsible EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, will present the draft at the EU ministerial meeting. She reacted calmly to the criticism. She works particularly well with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and she also feels very committed to fighting abuse, she said.
Wissing, on the other hand, insisted that the plans would be highly problematic under constitutional law. He also does not consider them suitable for getting a grip on the growing problem of depicting abuse on the Internet. Instead, he fears evasive movements into the dark web and overburdening the security authorities, who would have to deal with a large number of error messages from an immature technology. With the planned regulation, a limit will be crossed, he emphasized.
At the same time, Wissing used the platform to present its digital program. “We have to overcome analog and end double structures,” he said and promised: “I imagine a digital Germany without paperwork.” To do this, he wants to push ahead with broadband expansion. The number of fast internet connections is to be tripled by 2025, which of course initially only means coverage of 20 percent. By 2030, the rest of Germany should also have “full coverage” with fiber optic networks and the 5G standard. to get.
When will administrative procedures become superfluous?
He also wants to increase the availability of data, which the state, among other things, collects in abundance but only uses for very limited purposes. To this end, all ministries should set up “data laboratories” to collect the data and distribute them anonymously. And finally, Wissing promised “uniform technical standards” that simplify digital life. Before the summer break, he will present the federal government’s digital strategy, but some ministries still have to do some follow-up work. He is not yet satisfied with what has been delivered so far.
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was also a guest at Re:publica on Thursday, was less optimistic about the progress of the digitization of the administration. He did not want to give a specific date for the introduction of an online extension for ID cards: “I don’t want to say that out loud because I know the processes in Germany,” he said, referring to the federal states, districts and municipalities that are involved in this decision would be involved. Scholz himself is probably in no hurry: he had just extended his identity card and passport on Thursday – and had personally appeared at the office for it.