German government is seeking to create a center of defense against
disinformation ahead of next year’s elections, in the wake of
ongoing “fake news” and "Russian hackers" hysteria
generated during the election cycle in the United States.
Federal Press Office in the Chancellery, which has a staff of over
500 professionals, will take the leading role in establishing the
fake news defense center, Der Spiegel reported quoting
a note from an anonymous Interior Ministry staff member.
According to the
Interior Ministry plan, the center will focus on
of political education work” with
groups susceptible to “fake
namely “Russian-Germans” as
creation of the center “should
be negotiated very quickly,” the
magazine said quoting the note, which also urged that political
parties establish ground rules for the 2017 election campaigns.
According to report, the Interior Ministry also urged politicians not
to use social bots and disinformation techniques during the election
German lawmakers called on new laws and tougher new measures against
social media platforms which disseminate fake news. Justice Minister
Heiko Maas called on the government to set “legal consequences”
for internet giants.
expect clear improvements in Facebook's removal practice. The
standard must be German law,” Maas
told Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Democratic Party parliamentary chairman Thomas Oppermann called for
social media outlets to be prosecuted for their role in validating
after the relevant checks, Facebook does not immediately, within 24
hours, delete the offending post then [it] must reckon with severe
penalties ofup to 500,000 euros,” Oppermann
told Der Siegel.
like Patrick Sensburg (Christian Democrat), in an interview with
Deutsche Welle on Tuesday, argued that the government should
up the statutory offenses” against
fake news producers and “take
action against the people who run these websites.”
being worried about the potential spread of fake news ahead of
elections, Berlin, for a number of months, has also voiced concern
about the potential involvement of “Russian
the electoral process.
hysteria erupted last summer when US Democratic candidate Hillary
Clinton alleged that Moscow had engaged in hacking to damage her bid
for the White House. While offering no proof, the Democrats accused
the Kremlin of hacking into their computer networks and publishing
sensitive information via WikiLeaks in order to swing the vote in
favor of Clinton’s GOP rival Donald Trump.
in turn, has repeatedly denied the accusations, stressing that it has
no interest in influencing the US election or any other country’s
political choices. Trump and WikiLeaks have also denied the
the US election race, Berlin went on to accuse Russia of being
involved in a number of hacking attacks, including on Deutsche
Telecom and parliament. In the latest set of accusations, which saw
the files of over 900,000 Deutsche Telecom customers compromised in
late November, Merkel suggested that “such cyberattacks,
or hybrid conflicts as they are known in Russian doctrine, are now
part of daily life and we must learn to cope with them.”
Federal Office for Information Security for its part revealed that
the attack was executed with the help of the so-called Mirai worm,
which was allegedly developed by Russian hacking group Sofacy.
According to reports the malware was well known to the German
security services as the one used in an attack on the German
parliament back in 2015.
Sunday Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper
published an article that quoted a high-ranking anonymous security
official who claimed that it was “highly plausible” that Russian
hackers were behind a German parliamentary hack in 2015.
according to a Spiegel report published earlier this month, Russian
hackers were not the source of the recent WikiLeaks release of 2,420
secret files on German-US intelligence cooperation and a
to various media reports, there is absolutely no indication that the
documents were stolen during a cyberattack on the Bundestag in the
year 2015,” Der
Spiegel wrote, citing its own source.