• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germans want greater state control of internet

DPA/The Local · 4 Dec 2013, 08:00

Published: 04 Dec 2013 08:00 GMT+01:00

Many users are concerned about the threats they face online, above all from computer viruses (72 percent), surveillance of their browsing activity (57 percent) and the misuse of personal data (50 percent), the survey conducted by the Allensbach Institute for the German Institute for Trust and Security in the Internet showed.

But in a seeming contradiction, a considerable majority (61 percent) also believed there should be greater state controls on internet site providers, while 57 percent called for the German government to introduce stricter controls on website content.

Moves have already been made in Germany to increase state control over the web – most notably through the introduction of German-only email systems.

In the wake of revelations on NSA data surveillance, many Germans switched to German email providers and demanded encryption. In October state communications giant Deutsche Telekom reacted by proposing a secure national email network, based on a data security initiative called "Email made in Germany".

Other email providers GMX and Web.de joined Telekom’s initiative, ensuring that all data transferred between the three firms was encrypted and never left German servers.

But Tuesday's survey showed that many people understood that individual countries could not effectively control the internet on their own. Almost 50 percent accepted it was impossible to effectively control the internet and its content.

“This shows a certain fatalism,” said director of the Allensbach Institute Renate Köcher.

"Lots of people support state intervention but in practice are suspicious of internet surveillance. You have to recognize that people contradict themselves."

The study suggested that Germans were more concerned by the online threat posed by companies than by the state.

Two thirds of those surveyed complained about companies misusing personal data to offer internet users products they did not want.

State control was only considered an infringement to personal freedom by 49 percent of Germans.

Story continues below…

Internet users were particularly concerned about the exploitation of data because many were unaware how companies use their personal information. Köcher said firms should better explain how they use this information.

But such concerns were outweighed by the internet’s many advantages, most people asked agreed, with the main positives being fast information, contact with other users and the ability to compare prices when shopping online.

READ MORE: Can Germany really keep bytes within its borders?

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Analysis
How Merkel reacts to crises better than other leaders
Photo: DPA

It is of critical importance for a country how a leader chooses to react to an act of terrorism. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cool head sets an example for the rest of the country.

Turkey demands Germany extradite Gülen supporters
Fethullah Gülen. Photo: DPA

Ankara called on Germany on Thursday to extradite supporters of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government accuses of plotting a failed coup earlier this month.

German police raid 'hotbed of radicalization'
Police entering one of the residences. Photo: DPA

A mosque and eight residences were searched.

Germany boasts Europe's best value beaches
This beach just got named Europe's cheapest. Do you know where it is? Photo: DPA

Forget Mallorca or the Costa del Sol - the best beach bargains can be found in Germany. But where?

After rampages, Merkel says again: Wir schaffen das
Photo: DPA

Speaking for the first time after a Syrian refugee blew himself up in southern Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed her commitment to helping refugees on Thursday.

The Local List
Germany's five most mind-boggling conspiracy theories
What's the point of this mysterious tower at Tempelhof Airport? Photo: DPA.

Think that wacky paranoid types only exist in the USA? Here’s a few crazy German conspiracies to prove you wrong.

Munich shooting
Gunman's friend arrested for 'planning school attack'
File photo: DPA

Police found chemicals and instructions for making explosives, as well as evacuation plans of his school in the youth's possession.

Bremen mall evacuated due to escaped psychiatric patient
Police outside the mall. Photo: DPA

The man had reportedly made worrying statements relating to Isis and last week's shooting in Munich.

German ambassador to Turkey left out in cold
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: DPA

The Turkish government has been giving German ambassador Martin Erdmann the cold shoulder for weeks, after German parliamentarians passed a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide.

Ansbach suicide bomber was interviewed by Bulgarian TV
Photo: DPA

A Syrian who blew himself up outside a German music festival at the weekend was interviewed twice by Bulgarian television while living there in 2013, footage showed on Wednesday.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
DPA
Gallery
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,746
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd