German government refuses to rule out Telegram shutdown due to hate threats

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The app has given a platform to far-right groups and people opposed to pandemic restrictions, fearing it will lead to increased violations of German law.

Germany has not ruled out the idea of ​​shutting down cloud-based messaging service Telegram.

The app has given far-right groups and people opposed to pandemic restrictions a platform, raising fears it has led to an increase in violations of German law.

Home Secretary Nancy Faeser said in remarks released Wednesday: “We cannot rule this out, a shutdown would be serious and clearly a last resort, all other options must be exhausted first.” she told De Zeit Weekly.

Faeser added that Germany was discussing with its partners within the European Union ways to regulate the service.

Messages are protected against eavesdropping as they are sent between users in an encrypted chat, and a group system allows messages to be broadcast quickly.

The service is considered one of the easiest ways to send encrypted messages, which leads to an increase in its popularity.

The features proved controversial, as they allowed people to organize criminal activity out of the sight of law enforcement.

The service is seen as a source of conspiracy theories and hate speech in Germany, especially as the Covid pandemic has come into effect. Anti-lockdown activists are believed to favor the platform.

A minority of Germans have shown strong resistance to vaccinations, and the latest figures indicate that 72% of people are “fully vaccinated”.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has backed calls for a vaccination mandate in Germany and MPs are expected to start debating the issue later this month.

Other countries such as China, India, and Russia have introduced bans or regulations on Telegram, which means Germany isn’t alone in looking for potential regulations on the service.

Governments have justified their decisions to block or ban the app by pointing the finger at the criminal and problematic content being broadcast on the platform.

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