German Police Develop a “Nazi Shazam” to Root Out White Supremacy…

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German police have developed a Shazam-like app to identify neo-Nazi music and its followers.

Der Spiegel reports that the prototype can identify neo-Nazi music by analyzing a brief sample.  The technology is intended to identify music on internet radio stations and at neo-Nazi gatherings. It was developed by Saxony police because neo-Nazis typically use music to lure young people into hate groups.

Last year, the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors imposed sales restrictions on 79 pieces of neo-Nazi and racist music.

A government assessment said the app helps to lighten resources and enable quick investigations. Interior ministers will meet this week to discuss the technology. Der Spiegel says “lawyers need to determine whether the automatic identification of music being played in a hall would constitute acoustic surveillance“.


Image by Elvert Barnes, adapted under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).

9 Responses

  1. ben

    Last year the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors imposed sales restrictions on 79 pieces of neo-Nazi and racist music. They are banned from being accessible to minors.

    Minors aren’t stupid! The web is full of ‘censored’ music, movies and games.

  2. wallow-T

    How does Discovery Moment Monetization fit into this application, exactly?


    • TuneHunter

      Discovery Moment Monetization is the only way to go, kindergarden explanation of this primitive method coming soon.

      I hope brilliant minds at the labels will notice and jump in to this simple cash bucket.

      • TuneHunter

        …advice for German police (more German taxpayers) The Echo Nest will do all the snooping for free
        (at the investors expense) in exchange for video press conference with Guardian.

        Humans do a lot just for fame!

  3. Paula

    Well, well. Somebody’s actually worried that something bad might happen to kids listening to too much Neo Nazi hate music, eh? Kol ha kavod.
    I wonder if these same German lawmakers ever stopped to consider the staggering amount of misogynist hate mongering, expressions of open derision and calls to commit acts of sexual violence on women their kids consume daily in “harmless” mainstream music? Or if they ever considered the enormous damage all that negative brainwashing might inflict on the attitudes of both boys AND girls toward the opposite sex?

    • Paul Resnikoff

      I’m not an expert in German media and attitudes towards ‘bad stuff,’ though in my travels I have noticed that there’s more interest in limiting violent content than pornographic content. Flipping the lens onto the United States, we seem to have this paranoia about anything sexual (see: Boobgate), while having no problem showing our children to most extremely violent movies (with exceptions, of course).

      But the bigger issue you’ve outlined is important: censoring ‘bad stuff’ (however defined) is usually only marginally effective. Take the US: accessing extreme pornography is easier than ever online, and the youngest users are often the best at finding it (in fact, it is getting pushed on them in a very aggressive way). Yet, radio stations receive massive fines for saying the ‘f’ word (or, flashing a breast for half a second). Say what you will about pornography, there are a range of opinions, but it’s hard to say that censorship efforts are working or effective.