Re: This will be interesting and maybe nasty
No, the law "just" requires websites to hand over the IP address and time stamp a comment was posted from. It also requires ISPs to give out names and address of their customers based on that IP address and timestamp records to lawyers.
No credit card required. The lawyers get their names & addresses directly from the ISP - without a court order or any other due process.
Aha, well that's a "let off" for the OtT social networks, and a cost burden for the ISPs. I wonder how the ISPs feel about that...
Question is, how reliable that is? If it were to come to a prosecution, one wonders whether the combination of the social network's and ISP's records would be good enough to identify a user's identify beyond reasonable doubt. Given the poor quality of most ISP's systems it would be comparatively easy for a defence lawyer to argue that there is some doubt about the accuracy of the records.
And it doesn't work if the ISP is using NAT at their level (like some ISPs do to make IPv4 addresses go a bit further).
Anyway, it may not have to work very well. If there's a sudden rush of people being held to account for things they post, it might just lead to people generally behaving better on line.
That, combined with very high fees of up to 50M€ for non-complying companies nearly guarantees abuse of this legislation to curb all sorts of private, political or commercial critics.
So looks like using TOR will become mandatory for posting anything potentially controversial in Germany...
I doubt it. Justifiable comment is always going to be dependable, so long as it is backed up with actual evidence.
At least, we all need that to be the case, and German courts aren't noted for their irrationality. A proper court is never going to interfere with fair comment, subjective opinion, political differences of opinion, humour, etc.
Such evidence can range from actually having the documents, VHS tape, cinema ticket, log book, photos, whatever. And it would be unwise of a complainant to take someone on in court if it turns out they really do have the documentation to prove a claim. Doubt is better than the absolute certainty having taken a critical to court and losing.
Indeed, if people get used to the idea that they have to have documentary back up or some other unarguable justification before posting something like an accusations, embarrassing revelation etc, it might lead to fewer libel cases. Complainants would also know that the defending party would likely have taken care to prepare a strong collection of evidence to defend themselves.
Anyway, it's a good thing that if someone is simply making some unjustified dross up about someone else they get to explain themselves.
I do wonder though if there ought to be some guarantee of legal aid, to defend one's self in such cases. It would be very easy otherwise for someone rich to use their wealth to out-lawyer someone poor. The inquisitorial systems of justice are better for this, less so the UK, US, Common Law adversarial system.