Do you remember? 1987 census in Germany. Great excitement, resistance up to the organized boycott. Now, in 2022, there will be another census, this time called the census. No loud protest anywhere. The handling of data has changed significantly. Almost everyone is constantly scattering their personality on the internet. Online life requires the online citizen.
But when there is one question, it becomes Catholic, when there is a real name requirement. Media lawyer Christian Schertz points out in the epd interview that the EU missed an opportunity with the Digital Services Act by waiving such a real name obligation. In view of large initiatives by Internet activists, who repeatedly speak out against it, one might want to “not expose oneself to criticism on the Internet”. He sees that a real name requirement in authoritarian regimes makes it easier to prosecute critics, “but there are other ways for whistleblowers to raise issues without being recognized.”
And it is important to consider who will benefit most from the continued waiver of the real name requirement. The haters, the slanders, the agitators, the propagandists of fake news and extreme right-wing violence hide in the fog of anonymity. Anyone who has ever wanted to know what drives society’s excitement and tendency toward slander and insults will find evidence and argument here.
The no to the real name requirement exposes the victims and protects the perpetrators. The protection of personal data on the Internet points in the wrong direction.
The current situation is absurd. Hardly a performance, hardly a political speech, in which a complaint is not made about the rampant brutalization of cooperation, which has mutated into aggressive opposition.
And then in the Digital Services Act, the obligation to mention the real name on the Internet is waived. Of course, by no means all those who anonymously slander or threaten will be deterred if their name becomes known. But it’s not the perpetrators that count, it’s the victims. You have to be able to defend yourself.