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Web tightens for Internet crimes in Greece February 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet & Web, Police & Crime.
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Greece is set to enhance the powers given to authorities to investigate Internet crimes following a series of defamation suits against the people behind the controversial press-gr news blog, it emerged yesterday.

The Justice Ministry is working on a bill that will give police the right to examine the personal data of anyone suspected of conducting an offense online.

Service providers will also have to take immediate steps to preserve any information that pertains to someone suspected of an electronic crime.

Police will also be allowed to conduct their investigations in real time and not have to wait for an offense to be committed in order to collect information about a suspect.

Authorities came up against a brick wall yesterday in their attempt to find out who had posted an allegedly libelous story on the press-gr blog while using a computer inside Parliament.

The blog has come under scrutiny after more than 150 people filed libel suits against the people that run it. One of the controversial items appears to have been uploaded by an MP or someone else working in Parliament.

However, Parliament’s general secretary Nikos Stefanou said yesterday that the Internet Protocol (IP) address provided by the police is one of 25 that is available to some 1,500 computer users in the House. He also said that there was no system set up to monitor the use of computers in Parliament.

Officers also checked out two other places from where messages were posted on the blog. Both were Internet cafes, one on Syngrou Avenue and one near Syntagma Square.

Press-gr is a news blog that hosts comments on politics, social and diplomatic issues by users who are frequently anonymous and often use abusive language. The blog is hosted by Web search giant Google, which has agreed to help Greek authorities with their enquiries.

UPDATE > March 1, 2008 >>> No threat to blogs, says PM

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis denied yesterday opposition accusations that the government is seeking to clamp down on the freedom of Internet users in the wake of a probe into a news blog that prompted defamation suits from government politicians.

PASOK leader George Papandreou accused the government of «viewing every young person with a computer as a potentially dangerous blogger» after the Justice Ministry announced plans this week to give authorities greater powers to look into possible offenses conducted online.

Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) politician Nikos Voutsis said the government was in danger of «throwing the baby out with the bath water.» «We must not develop a prosecutor’s culture with regard to blogs,» said Voutsis.

Karamanlis said that the government has no intention of reining in the freedom of bloggers to express themselves and that Greece is simply adopting international regulations that it is obliged to make part of its legal framework.

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