Aggregating blogs in Greece could get you sued
The administrator of Blogme.gr, a Greek blog aggregation website had his house raided, his hard drive seized and was himself arrested by the Greek cybercrime division last week, after having been served with a libel lawsuit without prior notice, because a public figure was offended by a satirical blog that was linked to by his site. The outraged response by Greek bloggers was immediate and unprecedented, reaching in the hundreds of posts within two days of the raid. The developing story coincides with the Internet Governance Forum being hosted in Athens this week, to be attended by Internet luminaries, entrepreneurs and activists like Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and Joi Ito and featuring panels on Openness and Freedom of Expression.
On a related note, Amnesty International recently put out a “Call to Bloggers“, to stand up for Internet freedom ahead of the IGF, while a representative of Reporters without Frontiers (RSF) will also be on hand to attend the meeting. RSF recently published it’s 5th Annual Worldwide Press Freedom Index, which ranks Greece 32nd among 168 places, leading other EU15 members such as France and Italy, as well as the US, but lagging behind such countries as Namibia, Bolivia and Bosnia – Herzegovina.
Prior successes of the Greek cybercrime division include the arrest of Swedish programmer Rick Downes on charges of spreading spam via handshake. Greece also made international headlines four years ago because of the shortsighted and highly controversial electronic games ban. The government was forced by public outcry, both at home and abroad -as well as the intervention of the European Commission- to amend the law and later suspend and deprecate it as unconstitutional.
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