Never Miss an Opportunity for Censorship

Many thanks to Hellequin GB for translating this article from the German-language service of Epoch Times:

BKA wants to flood messenger service Telegram with inquiries from the authorities

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) wants to increase the pressure on the messenger service Telegram. According to information from “Welt” (Monday edition), representatives of the authorities in the Bundestag Interior Committee have announced that the service will be flooded with deletion requests or data requests in the future. Although Telegram has so far hardly cooperated in this area, corresponding requests should be transmitted without exception. That would make the scale clear — and possibly increase the pressure to work together.

At the request of Die Welt, the BKA declared the goal of wanting to achieve cooperation with Telegram while coordinating with the police authorities of the federal and state governments. The authority did not want to comment on specific statements in Parliament because the meeting was not public, as a spokeswoman explained.

Politicians and authorities are increasingly on a confrontational course with Telegram because, in their opinion, the service is used particularly often “by right-wing extremists and supporters of conspiracy theories.” According to the BKA, Telegram is not interested in “collaborating with the security authorities” according to “local experience”. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) recently threatened Telegram with being switched off in Germany because of this refusal.

Members of the government welcomed the BKA’s announcement. The deputy chairman of the Greens parliamentary group, Konstantin von Notz, told the newspaper: “Security authorities and politicians must finally present a more robust approach when it comes to dealing with companies that earn their money with personality violations, hatred and agitation and the destruction of democracy.” The defensiveness of the rule of law is also measured “by whether it is possible to stop the obvious violations of the law,” said von Notz.

The domestic political spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Manuel Höferlin, pointed out that many of the messages at issue in the messenger service were not in shielded areas, but were freely available: “We see with Telegram that criminal content is published primarily in openly accessible groups — here the service has the character of a website,” said Höferlin of the “Welt”. “Law enforcement agencies must keep an eye on this area and pursue it consistently.”

Afterword from the translator:

This announcement will make a huge impression on Telegram founder Pawel Durov and cause his knees to tremble. What will the tech billionaire do now, just empty the spam folder? Russia has already tried to block the encrypted messenger app Telegram on the grounds that “terrorists are using the service”, but in reality it was probably more about unwelcome criticism of the government and censorship. And now the German Federal Government joins the ranks of authoritarian states, which are always condemned for suppressing the opposition and freedom of expression.

On the subject of Telegram, Thomas Haldenwang ( President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution) revealed: “Our virtual agents are on the move on the platforms. I can’t tell you how many employees that is, but they are very successful. After the death threats against the Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer via the messenger service Telegram, it was not least thanks to our activities that people were able to be identified. But I don’t want to give the impression that we see everything that’s happening on Telegram.”

Speaking of Kretschmer: On December 2nd, 2021, the freaking-out Kretschmer was slapped down by Buschmann (FDP) on the ZDF talk show by Maybrit Illner, because Kretschmer used the appearance to once again agitate against Telegram and “right-wing extremist” groups. A few days later, statements about assassination plans against Saxony’s head of government appeared in a Telegram group.

There are such things as coincidences?

One thought on “Never Miss an Opportunity for Censorship

  1. I stumbled over the 2nd-last sentence of para 1 as it is confusing. Who or what is behind the “should”?
    But the German makes it clear, as we see in it the German grammar used for reported speech, KOOPERIERE, so the sentence would actually be:
    …”the authorities said that although Telegram hardly cooperates, requests (to it for deletion) were to be (SOLLTEN) transmitted without exception.”

    Hence the SHOULD is actually just a description of what the authorities,. according to the newspaper WELT, were planning to do at the time they talked to WELT.

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