The most widely used mode of access is still DSL, with 24 million connections in However, cable internet connections are becoming more widespread, with 8 million connections in , compared to only 7. In , internet access via mobile devices further increased: There is still a gender gap when it comes to accessing the internet in Germany, even though it is gradually getting smaller.
While 87 percent of men used the internet every day or almost every day in , only 83 percent of women did. In the over 65 age group, frequent usage remains at 67 percent. Differences in internet usage based on formal education have not changed significantly over the past few years. The gap between people with low and high levels of formal education is still noteworthy. Telecommunication services have become slightly less expensive, decreasing by about 1. Although the Federal Court of Justice ruled that access to the internet is fundamental for everyday life, costs for internet access are still not adequately reflected in basic social benefits.
The move has been lauded for facilitating the establishment of freely accessible networks in cities, thereby broadening easy access for parts of the population who could otherwise not afford an internet connection. The German government does not impose restrictions on ICT connectivity. There are more than one hundred backbone providers in the country. However, the German state owns less than a third of its shares, which crucially limits its control.
It is privately operated by eco, the association of the German Internet Industry. The telecommunications sector was privatized in the s with the aim of fostering competition. Other ISPs with significant market share included Vodafone with The German Monopolies Commission and the European Commission EC have both criticized this highly political setting and the concentration of important regulatory decisions in the presidential chamber of the Federal Network Agency. In addition to these institutional concerns, regulatory decisions by the BNetzA have been criticized for providing a competitive advantage to Deutsche Telekom, the former state-owned monopoly.
In turn, unbundling and redistribution individual connections becomes more difficult, with the result that the managing operator Telekom will end up in a privileged market position. Access to online content in Germany is mostly free.
- Freedom House: „Freedom on the Net - Germany“, Dokument # - kaseboku.tk.
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Pressure on social media companies to remove illegal content from their platforms came under renewed pressure over the past year with increasing demands to address the proliferation of hate speech and fake news online. The German government rarely imposes blocking of websites or internet content.
YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and international blog-hosting services are freely available. Content blocking or filtering practices enforced by private or corporate actors have been an issue for some time. The most prominent and widely reported example of how private entities substantially shape the availability of online content was the protracted dispute between YouTube and GEMA German Society for Musical Performance and Mechanical Reproduction.
YouTube and GEMA finally reached an undisclosed licensing agreement on November 1, , and since then videos have been freely accessible in Germany. In November , the Federal Court of Justice ruled that the blocking of websites may be ordered as a last resort if it is the only possibility for a copyright holder to effectively end the rights infringement on that website.
If the provider disagrees, a court will decide. The decision has been subject to criticism as such blocking is considered easy to circumvent and thus ineffective. The protection of minors constitutes an important legal framework for the regulation of online content.
Most of the content removal issues in Germany relate to the removal of results from search engine functions, rather than deletion of content. Soon after the start of a wide influx of refugees into Europe in , both German authorities and media began urging Facebook to more proactively suppress hateful or offensive content on its platform. However, his attorney announced an appeal. On the other hand, Facebook has implemented some steps to tackle the problem on its platform in order to conform to German legislation governing hate speech.
In January , the company set up a new team of employees in Berlin with the sole task of examining, and if necessary, deleting such content. The draft provides that social media companies must establish an office that receives complaints regarding illegal content, and that they are under the obligation to legally assess flagged content. After making its decision, it has to inform both the appellant and the user who had uploaded the content.
If it fails to do so, it could face fines of up to EUR 50 million. The list of violations is broad, and includes violations that do not demand the same level of protection. As of May 9, , Google had assessed more than , applications across the EU, with nearly 98, coming from Germany alone.
The process follows the guidelines developed by an advisory group of experts, aiming to strike a balance between the right to be forgotten on the one hand, and freedom of expression and information on the other. In May , the Federal Court of Justice ruled that Google could be held liable, at least under some circumstances, for the infringement of personal rights through its autocomplete function.
Figures released by ICT companies indicate that post-publication content removal requests are issued with regard to defamation or illegal content. The most common reasons 40 percent of cases for orders to remove content are privacy and security concerns, followed by defamation and hate speech. Platform operators can be held liable for illegal content under the Telemedia Act. In , court rulings limited the liability privilege of ISPs by further specifying requirements, responsibilities, and obligations.
According to the judgment, if the business model of a service aims to facilitate copyright infringements, the company is considered less worthy of protection with regard to liability privilege. A special requirement to review the content for any rights violations was also ruled in a case where a blogger integrated a YouTube video onto his website. An important exception to the liability privilege concerns wireless networks.
Proposed bills were repeatedly criticized for being impractical or not going far enough, not least by the European Commission. As a reaction to this latest development, in February , the governing coalition presented yet another bill in order to solve the issue, and to enable the proliferation of open and freely accessible wireless networks. The proposal by the Federal Ministry of Economy intends to clarify that the liability privilege not only applies to providers of free wireless networks, as previously arranged, but that those providers are also not obligated to issue a costly declaration of cease and desist in case that one of the users of the network committed a violation of copyright.
Freedom on the Net 2017 - Germany
This aspect of the proposal has been criticized for introducing new legal uncertainties for network providers. Germany is home to a vibrant internet community and blogosphere; however, there were heightened concerns over the proliferation of disinformation and its potential impact on elections. Local and international media outlets and news sources are accessible and represent a diverse range of opinions. Research conducted by the Computational Propaganda Research Project between December and May found that hyperpartisan, conspirational news and disinformation were prominent on social media in the lead-up to the elections, accounting for approximately 20 percent of political news and information on Twitter.
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Widely shared sources included anti-Islam blog Philosphia Perennis and the extremist right-wing Zuerst! To date, self-censorship online has not been a significant or well-documented issue in Germany. Still, there are more or less unspoken rules reflected in the publishing principles of the German press. Representatives of the majority referred to the EU regulation adopted in October , deeming it a viable compromise.
Several civil society initiatives have used the internet to conduct advocacy campaigns on political and social issues in Germany. The campaign emphasizes the importance of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press for a democratic society. A new law regulating the conduct of the Federal Intelligence Service BND has raised concerns for attempting to legalize hitherto unlawful activity that potentially affects German citizens as well as foreign journalists working in Germany.
German Basic Law guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the media Article 5 , as well as the privacy of letters, posts, and telecommunications Article These articles generally safeguard offline as well as online communication. Online journalists are largely granted the same rights and protections as journalists in the print or broadcast media. Although the functional boundary between journalists and bloggers is starting to blur, the German Federation of Journalists maintains professional boundaries by issuing press cards only to full-time journalists. Since January 1, , the Office of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information has been an independent supreme federal authority, a clear upgrading from its former status as a subdivision of the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
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Die sozialen Medien bedrohen unsere Gesellschaft und Sicherheit
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