International Cooperation

The Internet does not recognize national borders – for the complaints offices to work effectively, it is therefore important to be well connected worldwide.  

Given that it is only possible to effectively combat illegal Internet content through well-established international cooperation, eight organizations – including eco and the FSM – founded INHOPE (International Association of Internet Hotlines) in November 1999 with support from the European Commission’s “Action plan for a Safer Internet”. INHOPE is the international umbrella association of Internet complaints offices that operate worldwide and receive complaints about illegal content (particularly images of the sexual abuse of minors) on the Internet.

Within the network, which now consists of more than 45 complaints offices from over 40 countries, national complaints offices can forward complaints to the respective INHOPE partner. As a result, complaints can be pursued in the land of origin. Complaints about illegal online content which is not hosted on a server in Germany are therefore forwarded by eco and the FSM to the – for each complaint individually – relevant responsible INHOPE member.

This process has proven itself: The large majority of countries where illegal and damaging content is hosted are equipped with INHOPE member hotlines. And the network is growing continuously, incorporating new complaints offices every year. The fast and secure exchange of information across country borders has already led to the breaking of a multitude rings specializing in child sexual abuse material.

INHOPE itself is not a complaints office, but it supports the cooperation of the member hotlines in the individual countries. The umbrella organization determines the minimum standards for the processing of complaints and the exchange of complaints within the INHOPE network, and offers regular training for complaints office staff.

The FSM and eco are regularly represented on the INHOPE Board:

  • 2002 to 2005: Thomas Rickert (eco), Sabine Frank (former CEO of the FSM)
  • 2008 to 2012: Frank Ackermann (eco)
  • 2012 to 2014: Imme Pathe (FSM)
  • Since 2016: Gregor Schwarz (FSM)

 Further information on INHOPE can be found at