What is the importance of the internet

The importance of the internet in daily life - redefined

Twister (Bettina Hammer)

With its most recent ruling on the subject of "Internet use and its importance in daily life", the Federal Court of Justice set the course for a number of further discussions.

"The Internet and access to its diverse content is of central importance for the standard of living", this is how the decision of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Germany, which was made recently, can be briefly summarized. A gentleman had complained here who, after changing tariffs, had the problem that many Internet users have in such cases: due to a confusion of responsibility and various mishaps, he had to do without the Internet for two months (at least when it came to access through his provider). The plaintiff also used his Internet access for fax and telephone communications. He finally switched to another provider, which resulted in additional costs, and he also used a mobile phone to compensate for the failure of the telephone. The plaintiff requested reimbursement for all these additional costs, but in addition he wanted to obtain compensation of 50 euros per day.

The BGH has now decided that the inadequate or non-existent possibility of sending a fax does not lead to claims for damages, as this only replaces the possibility of sending a document by post. Although the speed of communication is different here, the loss of this option does not have a significant effect. The BGH clearly pointed out that the fax would continue to lose importance, since documents, pictures, etc. are increasingly being sent by electronic mail.

The plaintiff also failed with telephone access - not because the BGH considered the telephone to be unimportant, but rather because the plaintiff had another option by reimbursing the mobile phone charges that were incurred instead of fixed network charges because the fixed network connection could not be used was available to obtain compensation for the damage incurred.

However, things looked different with Internet access.

Central importance of the Internet in the self-economic way of life

The Federal Court of Justice decided that access to the Internet was of central importance in the self-economic standard of living.

The usability of the Internet is an economic asset, the constant availability of which has been of central importance for a long time, also in the private sector, for one's own economic standard of living. The Internet makes comprehensive information available worldwide in the form of text, image, video and audio files. Almost all areas are thematically covered and a wide variety of quality requirements are met.
For example, files with easy entertainment can be accessed as well as information on everyday issues and even highly scientific topics. Due to the easy availability of information, the Internet is increasingly replacing other media, such as encyclopedias, magazines or television.
In addition, it enables global exchange between its users, for example via e-mails, forums, blogs and social networks. In addition, it is increasingly used to initiate and conclude contracts, to process legal transactions and to fulfill obligations under public law.
The vast majority of Germany's residents use the Internet on a daily basis. It has thus developed into a medium that has a decisive influence on the lifestyle of a large part of the population, the failure of which is significantly noticeable in everyday life. (Judgment of the Federal Court of Justice of January 24, 2013) [/ b]
In doing so, the BGH has outlined the wide range of possible uses of the Internet and recognized it as a central aspect within "normal everyday life", which is not only important with regard to possible claims for damages in the event of failure. Rather, this judgment is also the starting point for many other questions that have arisen in recent years with regard to the importance of the Internet in life, especially in the political field.

ALG II and the Internet

The question of whether an internet-capable computer and internet access for ALG II recipients must be financed by the state is a question that has been discussed for a long time. It was not until 2010 that the Bavarian State Social Court ruled with regard to a loan for the procurement of an interntable computer:

It would be sensible and desirable to be able to use your own PC to search for a job, but no circumstances are apparent that could make this a necessary integration service (cf. wording § 3 Paragraph 1 Sentence 1 and § 14 Sentence 3 SGB II). If the complainant wants to purchase a personal computer, he has to save this from a standard benefit. It is not an indisputable need for existence in the sense of Section 23 (1) SGB II.

The plaintiff had applied for a loan of 300 euros, justifying this with the need for an internet-enabled PC so that he could use it for letters of application, job searches and online applications. The court clearly rejected this request, although the reality shows that, for example, the employment agencies also assume that it is a matter of course for ALG II recipients or potential ALG II recipients to have a PC and internet access. Likewise, they assume that job seekers are familiar with common job boards. The employment agency had objected that the plaintiff could also pursue the job search and apply on their premises.

The state government of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also agreed that an internet-enabled computer was not part of the socio-cultural subsistence level, and responded accordingly to a small inquiry from Die Linke. The party had criticized the fact that in times when the Internet is part of everyday life, the ALG II standard rate only includes around 3 euros per month for an Internet connection and just under 4 euros for a PC including software. Of course, those who still have access to the Internet can, if necessary, afford a cheap PC including Internet access, but after the savings have been used up, the rejection of the courts means that it is only possible to maintain Internet access through savings if, for example, repairs are required of the PC or even the need to purchase a new one. It should be mentioned here that it is generally assumed that there is also a certain amount of savings in the standard rate, which is also necessary for the purchase of e.g. new household appliances, etc., since these are no longer taken over by the service payer. Rather, it is assumed that the ALG II recipient will save money from the tightly calculated standard rate for all eventualities. A consideration that hardly stands up to closer inspection.

Taking into account the judgment of the Federal Court of Justice, which states that "it (the Internet) has developed into a medium that has decisively shaped the lifestyle of a large part of the population, the failure of which is significantly noticeable in everyday life", the assumption is that that Internet does not belong to the socio-cultural subsistence level, hardly understandable any longer. Rather, the BGH has made it clear here that the Internet is not an exotic possibility to replace television, telephone or radio, but has on the development of the Internet to the medium that emerges from the It can be assumed that in view of this view of the BGH, especially with regard to internet access for ALG II recipients, new judgments will have to be made or a change in the relevant laws including the associated standard rate calculation will be necessary.

Three strikes and you are out?

The phrase "Three strikes and you are out", derived from baseball (three times next to it and you are out - translated) is also used in relation to the so-called "network access caps". Even if these are often associated with the term "network blocking", the point here is not to block any content, but rather to make Internet access temporarily impossible. The legal handling should be the prevention of downloads not approved by the users. Put simply: Anyone who is caught downloading files three times, e.g. from file sharing sites, should lose access to the network, if necessary after the provider has given appropriate warnings. How the whole thing should be done, there are various considerations, but apart from all data protection and civil law problems, the judgment of the BGH is also trend-setting here.

Here, too, it is this sentence that is important for the overall assessment: "The majority of the inhabitants of Germany use the Internet on a daily basis. This means that it has developed into a medium that has a decisive influence on the way a large part of the population lives Makes everyday life noticeable. " If such a significant impact on everyday life due to problems with tariff changes and the resulting failures is already considered appropriate by the BGH for claims for damages, the question arises to what extent civil law claims, e.g. on the part of a person commissioned by the author to safeguard the exploitation rights of his works, arise can and should justify such a failure with a significant impact on the everyday life of the delinquent.

A capping of the internet access due to the fact that the access owner may have downloaded material protected by copyright without the permission of the author or the user commissioned by him would ultimately also take into account the fact that, for example, criminals who committed their crimes with the help of the internet are in no way threatened with such an access freeze, be disproportionate. But far from proportionality, the great importance of the Internet in everyday life, which the BGH has now underlined in a judgment, stands in the way of such considerations as "three strikes". A view that Klaus Peukert from the Pirate Party has already made known.

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