Censorship is essential

Google transparency report on Germany: no evidence of internet censorship

18.10.2019 – 13:30

dpa fact check

Berlin (ots)

The claim is making the rounds online that Germany is the world leader in Internet censorship. The transparency report of the US internet giant Google, which ranks the Federal Republic among the leading nations when it comes to querying data, is cited as evidence (http://dpaq.de/VuE4U).

EVALUATION: It is correct that the Federal Republic is ahead when it comes to querying Google data. However, it cannot be deduced from this that Germany is particularly censoring the Internet. Organizations that investigate freedom of the press see Germany at the forefront when it comes to free internet.

FACTS: The Google Transparency Report examines data protection and freedom of information on the Internet - and how companies or state authorities can influence them (http://dpaq.de/UDq24). The US company publishes several subreports that deal with specific topics. One of them looks at the area of ​​“Official requests for the removal of content” (http://dpaq.de/I4y54).

In fact, Germany has been at the forefront of this particular area in the world over the past few years. Among other things, «Spiegel Online» reported about it in 2010: (http://dpaq.de/s6y50)

However, these figures do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about a possibly censored Internet. A request for deletion from Google can have various motives - such as legal violations, defamation or hate speech (http://dpaq.de/dx43M).

In the current Google transparency report, however, the USA, for example, is currently ahead of Germany in terms of official requests for deletion (collected since 2009) (http://dpaq.de/dx43M and http://dpaq.de/874ok).

From the point of view of the Federal Agency for Civic Education, censorship means that people's opinion is to be influenced through the media. In some countries, for example, books, newspaper articles, films or plays are banned (http://dpaq.de/sntlu).

When it comes to free internet, Germany is seen by experts as a leader. In the report “Freedom On The Net 2018” by the US organization Freedom House, for example, the country ranks fourth out of 65 countries examined - behind Estonia, Iceland and Canada. The rear places are occupied by China, Iran, Syria and Ethiopia. This report examines every year what the Internet freedom looks like in the countries examined (http://dpaq.de/ULBBV).

Germany is also one of the flagship nations when it comes to freedom of the press. The Federal Republic of Germany is currently in 13th place out of 180 countries in the list of Reporters Without Borders (http://dpaq.de/geFY7). Here, for example, North Korea lands in the penultimate place, the dictatorship does not appear in the Google transparency report.

---

Left:

Google's Transparency Report on deletions: https://transparencyreport.google.com/government-removals/overview?hl=de (archived: https://perma.cc/3G86-P9FF)

Transparency Report from Google to the USA: https://transparencyreport.google.com/government-removals/by-country?hl=de (archived: https://perma.cc/2U57-FXMB)

Google's Transparency Report on Germany: https://transparencyreport.google.com/government-removals/by-country/DE?hl=de (archived: https://perma.cc/25P4-77ZM)

Report "Freedom On The Net 2018": https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTN_2018_Final%20Booklet_11_1_2018.pdf (archived: https://perma.cc/95JD-8LSR)

Ranking list of press freedom from Reporters Without Borders: https://www.reporter-ohne-grenzen.de/fileadmin/Redaktion/Presse/Downloads/Ranglisten/Rangliste_2019/Rangliste_der_Pressefreiheit_2019.pdf (archived: https://perma.cc/7NR6- KPS5)

Spiegel report on Google statistics: https://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/google-statistik-wie-die-deutschen-zensur-vizeweltmeister-wurden-a-690278.html (archived: https: // perma.cc/A6CX-C58A)

Definition of the Federal Agency for Civic Education: https://www.bpb.de/nachhaben/lexika/das-junge-politik-lexikon/161825/zensur (archived: https://web.archive.org/web/20191017104631/https: /www.bpb.de/nachhaben/lexika/das-junge-politik-lexikon/161825/zensur)

Post on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3j1QiUI8IG/?igshid=pctihy9xrpie (archived: https://perma.cc/DEX8-2G5E)

---

Contact the dpa fact check team: [email protected]

© dpa German Press Agency GmbH. The above content is protected by copyright. Any use of texts, graphics and images without a contractual agreement or other express consent from dpa is not permitted. This applies in particular to the distribution, duplication and public reproduction as well as storage, processing or modification. All rights reserved.