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Democracy needs free spaces in the network

German security politicians want to put the anonymous Tor network to a standstill. That would be a mistake, because not only do Criminals use the space at the digital retreat.

comment by Ronen Steinke, Berlin Ronen Steinke

Born in 1983. Law and criminology studies in Hamburg and Tokyo. After a legal dissertation on the history of the war crimes tribunals since 1945, Ronen Steinke 2011 came to SZ. As an editor in the Department of the interior policy, responsible for issues of internal security.

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Small and voracious, so are you. They are called trackers, Cookies, or Logging Tools, computer programs, and where to mail today, on the phone, in the Internet as they are available, and absorb information. For use by the business advertising. To levy by security authorities. The rooms, in which a person of them is unobserved, it will always be close, the more he is dependent on the digital technology. And the policy has just applied vigorously to reduce this free space.

threatened A last refuge, are now acute, the so-called Tor network. It is a technique, which is based on a large number of volunteers worldwide. The technology creates a possibility to move about the Internet anonymously, surf the is, without that, all digital fingerprints from sticking to it. The necessary Software to download, costs five minutes, and who uses them, stops abruptly to give a gift to private and government data collectors with a log of his Online movements.

politicians want to put the now still. You use for people who communicate anonymously, a word that sounds scary: Darknet. The Darknet is not, in truth, only dark, it is for many people in the world, a ray of light: It is important for whistleblowers, abuses can reveal. It is also important for dissidents in dictatorships, and exchange ideas freely. And for journalists who wish to listen to oppressed voices.

clear design

In the Bundesrat to beat the politicians with proposals, this last power-free space is small in from the cold. Penalties ago, the German criminal code should be strengthened, especially the operators of the Darknet forums to teach the meaning of Fear. The Ministry of justice of North Rhine-Westphalia presented with Hesse, a design; the design was sharp. Since then, the round the rest of the country drags on it; it makes him sharper. How far this goes, you will see this Friday, if the Plan is on the agenda of the Federal Council.

It is true, of course: Criminals use the anonymity of what the Darknet operators offer you; for drug or arms deals, or for worse. So it is with freedoms. You can also be used for Evil. But this is still not a sufficient reason to abolish it.

A remarkable set came recently from a close colleague, Horst Seehofer's. Anonymous Browsing - you don't need that in a democracy, said the state Secretary Günter Krings. In a free country there is for the Tor network "no legitimate Use". More: Who is the Darknet, which "usually leads to no Good". This is an Update of the always wrong the old principle: Who has nothing to hide, nothing to fear. The sentence defames all those who want to keep without having to be a criminal, things. The is grip.

to ask only this question - "I Have something to hide?" - the effect that people see with the eyes of the potential observer: Could be something to me a little suspect? Mechanisms of Surveillance that were originally conceived for the handling of the state with offenders and their social disciplining effects were, of course, intended, as always more input in the everyday life. The also of democracy.

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