The new Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) wants to take on the Telegram messenger service. According to the assessment of the security authorities, the chat service, which also offers the possibility of a social network, is used particularly often by right-wing extremists and believers in conspiracies for mobilization. She told the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”: “We are a constitutional state, but we cannot rule that out per se either. Switching off would be very serious and clearly the ultima ratio. All other options must have been unsuccessful beforehand.”
When asked how such a “shutdown” could be achieved in practice, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior was unable to provide any technical or legal details in Berlin on Wednesday.
Faeser told “Zeit” that it was striving for a European solution to force Telegram to cooperate. She pointed out: “Today Telegram is in Dubai, tomorrow maybe in the Cayman Islands. We will need a lot of strength to enforce the law. As a German nation-state we cannot do it alone.”
Telegram: Is there even a threat of shutdown in the end?
Many people around the world use Telegram primarily for 1-to-1 communication in a private or professional context, such as Wire, Signal, Whatsapp, Threema or other messenger services. For some users who have been blocked from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook or other social networks because of extremist content, Telegram is an alternative platform.
Ultimately, the German authorities would only have one drastic means left: to convince Apple and Google not to offer the Telegram app for download anymore. But those who have already installed it could continue to communicate about it. However, the app can also be downloaded and installed on Android devices outside the Google Play Store, including directly from Telegram itself. Theoretically, network blocks that are more or less effective would also be conceivable. This would, however, follow a similar path as authoritarian states.