IIn the fight against criminal and right-wing extremist content, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) wants to increase the pressure on the messenger service Telegram. According to information from the newspaper “Welt”, BKA representatives in the Bundestag Interior Committee have announced that the service should 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 the pressure to work together might increase.
At the request of “Welt”, the BKA declared the goal of wanting to achieve cooperation with Telegram in cooperation 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 towards Telegram because they believe 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 his 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 policy 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 need to keep an eye on this area and pursue them consistently.”