Germany’s federal Cabinet approved a law criminalizing lists containing the names of people who are potential targets of intimidation or violent actions, including hate-filled comments and death threats for their actions.

“We have to better protect people from hatred and agitation,” said Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, according to German media outlet Tagesschau on March 17. 

The legislation penalizes those caught distributing personal data of other people, usually politicians, that could endanger them and the suspects could be sentenced to up to two years in prison or a fine.

The penalty could be up to a maximum of three years imprisonment, if the data is not publicly available, as is the case of the information collected by restricted databases. 

“On the other hand, it is characteristic of ‘enemy lists’ that personal data is disseminated in a context that triggers uncertainty or fear and is perceived as threatening, whereas there is usually no reference to a specific illegal act” the text of the new law states.

These lists are not so rare, nor do they belong to the past, nor are they restricted to remote countries. In the United States, this controversial system of possible reprisals surfaced shortly after the Nov. 3 presidential election. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), was one of those who wrote a message asking if anyone was registering those who defend the integrity of the electoral process, in a tweet on Nov. 6.

In the same tweet she predicted that many people would hide their adherence to election integrity and should be listed.

“Is anyone archiving these Trump sycophants for when they try to downplay or deny their complicity in the future? I foresee decent probability of many deleted Tweets, writings, photos in the future,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. 

This message is taken as an attempted threat sent by Ocasio-Cortez to intimidate Americans working to protect the integrity of the election process, Townhall editor Bronson Stocking felt on Nov. 6. 

Likewise, attorney and writer Will Chamberlain criticized Ocasio-Cortez’s message.

“The left spent four years screaming that Trump was a fascis. And yet the moment they think he will lose, they are writing up lists of people to strip of their rights and property,” he tweeted.

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