A German minister’s crusade against Telegram seems to be over before it ever really started; not so long ago, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser threatened to ban the encrypted messaging app in Germany because it was used as a tool of communication by anti-lockdown activists.
Even though this may not be getting widely reported by mainstream media in Germany, and elsewhere, anti-lockdown gatherings are quite frequent, and those behind them like to use independent and secure apps like Telegram to organize and coordinate.
But that got them in trouble with Faeser, who seemed determined to pin “trigger warnings” such as “hate speech” and “online violence” on Telegram and thus quickly vilify the app, with the goal of getting rid of it all together.
Faeser even found a law that she said Telegram was “violating,” thus justifying banning the service in the country – and where the state apparatus couldn’t reach, she naturally expected collaboration from massive corporations like Google and Apple.
Those two, the way the minister envisaged running Telegram in Germany into the ground, would kick both apps from their store. This would critically lower Telegram’s visibility and accessibility to (regular) users.
It didn’t take long for Faeser to realize that she would at the very least have to rephrase her plan of mass-scale, coordinated censorship, from what seemed like the flimsiest of accusations.
According to the German press, Faeser is now seeking to distance herself from the previously clearly stated desire to “switch Telegram off” – claiming that was never her goal.
No, Faeser told Der Spiegel, the idea was just to “increase the pressure” on Telegram – but to deliver what? Ostensibly whatever Germany threatened to make the app do by force?
It’s not clear at this time what caused Faeser to walk back her previous radical comments – maybe she’s had a “democratic epiphany” and realized that this shutting down of communication channels is simply how things are not done in democratic countries.
Reports say that Berlin is now exploring other ways to try to achieve the same goal – but this time, perhaps come off a little less radical, and ridiculous.