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German police develop app to detect neo-Nazi music

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2013-12-03

Police in the eastern German state of Saxony have developed a smartphone app, similar to the popular Shazam, which can recognise banned neo-Nazi music. Ministers will debate whether to implement the "Nazi Shazam" later this week.

German police have developed a smartphone app that can identify neo-Nazi lyrics in songs, the regional authorities in Saxony told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday.

The software program, similar to the popular Shazam app that allows smartphone users to identify music, can detect “in a couple of seconds” if a song is breaking German law by hailing Nazi ideology.

The German constitution strictly prohibits any glorification of the Third Reich.

By switching on the so-called “Nazi Shazam” app and holding the device in the air, police can tell immediately if a song played at a concert or in a nightclub is on a list of banned music.

“The idea is to free up officers’ time,” said a spokesman for the Saxony police. “They will no longer have to delve into the minutiae of the music to prove it’s breaking the law.”

‘Gateway drug to the far right’

The application, developed by police IT experts in their spare time, could be used to identify more than just neo-Nazi music, which the police spokesman described as “the gateway drug to the far right”.

“This application could easily be used to identify any music that is known to incite hatred or violence,” he said, adding that police were also concerned about the far left as well as Islamist music calling for terrorist actions.

“Digital Audio Fingerprint”, which is still in a development phase, will be examined by ministers from Germany’s sixteen regional states later this week.

The police recognise that there may be legal obstacles, especially in the wake of the NSA spying scandal which has particularly shocked Germany.

According to German daily Der Spiegel, using the app in clubs or at concerts may break Germany’s strict laws on recording people’s conversations without a court order.
 

Date created : 2013-12-03

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