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Greek Blog Aggregator Arrested 180

Posted by kdawson
from the careful-what-you-link-to dept.
arcanumas writes to tell us that Greek authorities have raided the house of Antonis Tsipropoulos, administrator of the blog aggregation site Blogme.gr. His hard drive was seized and he was arrested. The impetus was a satiric website, not named in the stories, that apparently offended a Greek public figure (also unnamed). The site in question was not hosted by Tsipropoulos but was merely linked to by his RSS fed. From the first article: "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."
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Greek Blog Aggregator Arrested

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  • The big boys don't like to look bad.
  • Monsters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 29, 2006 @05:31PM (#16635524)
    It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster. - Voltaire
    Seems to be a monster in the Greek government. I would love to hear some of the luminaries at the conference discuss this and embaress the Greek govenment publicly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Are the quotes picked randomly or are they chosen or picked automatically by keywords?
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by headkase (533448)
        Its just the abstract entity that lives in the fortune's random number generator trying to get through to you in it's own special way ;)
        But seriously, the human mind is a correlational machine. Think of a number, say, 711. Now look for it - you'll find it everywhere, twice a day on your clock, on a receipt, going to the corner-store, part of a license plate, and everywhere. It's not that you're looking for it it is that you notice when you see it and that therefore strengthen the action of subconsciousl
        • by thripper (965380)
          "Think of a number, say, 711. Now look for it - you'll find it everywhere, twice a day on your clock, on a receipt, going to the corner-sto..." You forgot the quotes. This idea wa presented in a movie , PI
    • by kfg (145172)
      You don't suppose that this is a signal that such behavior won't be looked on kindly by the Greek authorities? The most effective censor is yourself.

      KFG
    • by Rich0 (548339)
      Keep in mind that this is a country that still hasn't figured out separation of church and state...

      Greece is generally democratic, but it isn't really a towering symbol of European freedom. So, an article like this should hardly be surprising, when stuff almost as bad as this happens occasionally in the US/UK/Germany/etc.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by CRCulver (715279)

        Keep in mind that this is a country that still hasn't figured out separation of church and state...

        The concept hasn't existed for most of human history, why do you think this creation of 18th-century French and English nihilists is the One True Way?

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Because it is an requirement for true religious freedom. Besides, it makes sense.
        • Re:Monsters (Score:5, Interesting)

          by chill (34294) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:08PM (#16635808) Journal
          Because government and religion are the two main bastions of power. The only way the little guy has a chance is to play them off each other.

          Religion, as a whole, is a very bad thing to base government off of because it is so absolutist. "This is the word of God. You can't argue with God. The gov't is God's will on Earth, so arguing with the gov't is like arguing with God, you heretic." The problem is, God isn't around to run things and the people that do, in His name, are frequently bloody autocrats.

          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by CRCulver (715279)
            The Orthodox Church, which is the majority faith in Greece, has fond memories of the Byzantine Empire. While there were autocratic episodes (generally by those who turned away from the Church), the rule of the Empire was generally benign and the spiritual well-being of the people was much higher than now, when now much of Greece is experiencing an existential crisis from the empty values imported from the West.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Rakishi (759894)
              The blind look towards the past and envision utopias while unable to see all the filth their little eden swam in.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by drsmithy (35869)

              While there were autocratic episodes (generally by those who turned away from the Church), the rule of the Empire was generally benign and the spiritual well-being of the people was much higher than now, when now much of Greece is experiencing an existential crisis from the empty values imported from the West.

              The separation of Church and State does not remove the former's role as a spiritual leader, merely its ability to be a spiritual dictator.

        • by rthille (8526)
          On the other hand, there's no evidence that the concept of 'state' existed for 'most of human history'...unless you count the tribe of humans living in a valley a 'state'.
        • by Rakishi (759894)
          It has existed in various forms before that, it is simply an extension of religious freedom which has existed in Rome for example (as long as you made a gesture of loyalty to the emperor which unfortunately was against Jewish and Christian views). It is interesting to note that the Roman Empire/Republic had a rather large amount of such freedom and is seen as a rather good place. On the other hand the next thousand years in the same area had very little such freedom and is looked down upon with horror.
          • by CRCulver (715279)

            It is interesting to note that the Roman Empire/Republic had a rather large amount of such freedom and is seen as a rather good place. On the other hand the next thousand years in the same area had very little such freedom and is looked down upon with horror.

            You mean the Western part of the same area. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire passed into the Byzantine Empire for the next thousand years, which also had little freedom but is regarded by most modern historians as a productive and civilized socie

            • "Freedom and "good place" do not necessarily coincide."
              As much as we love the idea of Democracy, there are alot of good arguments for a Benevolent Monarchy as the best form of government. The practicle problem seems to be the benevolent part.
              • by Rakishi (759894)
                My own view is that all forms of government are like food, they all spoil with time. Democracy just spoils slower than the rest. Any human monarchy will implode given some time as either idiots, the power hungry or just plain bastards come into power. If nothing else democracy makes sure that at least a good number of the rulers don't stay in power long enough to become too used to the position.
          • Actually, IIRC, the (pre-Christian) Romans had a bit of ulterior motive in providing for local autonomy in religious matters - namely, they didn't want to piss off the local gods. One of the reasons that Christians were persecuted against is that Christian soldiers wouldn't worship the local gods, which the other soldiers saw as bad luck.

            I'm afraid I don't have any sources for this, this is just something I heard somewhere.
        • It is the One Acceptable Way, because if the "state supported religions" are "false" then forcing them onto the citizens is an abomination.
          If they are "true" forcing them onto the citizens supresses the difference between trully religious people and cowards that are just afraid of the cops.

          For example currently the worst place to be a good muslim (exept for converts) is in Saudi, since if you are born there of muslim parents NOT being a muslim is forbiden, so if you are a sincere believer and want to share
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by misterpib (924404)
        Keep in mind that this is a country that still hasn't figured out separation of church and state...

        Oh, you mean kinda like the USA?
        • No.

          Yes, religion has some effects on U.S governments policies, but that is a given considering laws are made by people and religion is a huge part in many people's beliefs.

          In "Separation of Church and State", "Church" refers to a group, not a set of beliefs. Laws will always be based on beliefs, and many of them will be religious or semi-religious (not based on any solid facts). The idea that we should have freedom of speech is not a scientific law, or mathematic property.

          Laws should be made by an elected g
      • by mc6809e (214243)
        Greece is generally democratic, but it isn't really a towering symbol of European freedom.


        Don't confuse democracy and freedom. They're not the same at all.

        • by Joey7F (307495)
          They are only different in definition. Free societies are uniformly democratic and vice versa (mostly).

          --Joey
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pig Hogger (10379)

        Keep in mind that this is a country that still hasn't figured out separation of church and state...

        That's not it. It's simpler than that.

        It's "southernness".

        In general, "southern" countries, that is, countries which do not experience overly cold climate have in common the fact that democracy is either poorly developped or a newfangled phenomenon (think of Spain, Greece and Portugal who ditched their fascist dictatorships [often installed by the US] around 30 years ago).

        In these countries, the mild c

        • by QuoteMstr (55051)
          Do you have any more academic sources for that point of view? That's a very Jared-Diamond-esque way of looking at how geography influences behavior, but neither JD nor anyone else I've read has explicitly tied democracy to a harsh climate (though it makes senes on the gut feeling level.)

          Why would some of the world's first (sort-of) democratic societies, ancient Greece and the Roman Republic, have evolved in these "southern" countries?

          Thanks.
          • by Pig Hogger (10379)

            Do you have any more academic sources for that point of view? That's a very Jared-Diamond-esque way of looking at how geography influences behavior, but neither JD nor anyone else I've read has explicitly tied democracy to a harsh climate (though it makes senes on the gut feeling level.)

            No. It's just my gut feeling.

            Why would some of the world's first (sort-of) democratic societies, ancient Greece and the Roman Republic, have evolved in these "southern" countries?

            Those societies were far from being d

            • I wouldn't call the traditional Inuit society democratic so much as egalitarian. This is true of most nomadic cultures. It's a bit tough to lord it over everybody else when your belongings are limited to what you can lug around. Which would you say is a more "democratic" culture - the Inuit or the Maasai? (It's difficult to imagine a culture more "southern" than the Maasi...)
          • No, I wouldn't accuse Jared Diamond of this sort of thinking. Arnold J. Toynbee did have something like that - IIRC, he believed that cultures from colder climates (Northern Europe, for example) were more advanced than cultures elsewhere because they had to develop technologies to deal with the harsher climate. Most modern historians/social scientists, etc., disagree with him rather strongly, but at least it was an alternative to some more racist views his contemporaries were spewing.

            What Diamond does is ex
        • Do you realize that for hundreds and even thousends of years cultures like Faraonic Egypt, classic Greece, Rome, Persia, the Ottomans, the Maya, the Inca developped on those countries you mention while people in colder climates lived in huts in what can be only kindly described as townships?

          Your monumental ignorance about universal history is only matched by the idiotic conclussions reached by your uninformed, baseless arguments.
  • Maybe it's time to start using I2P [i2p.net] or similar?
  • If find this link in the main story to be just as alarming or worse: Swedish programmer in Greek spam probe protests innocence [theregister.co.uk]

    The Greek police will arrest you on suspicion of spamming. Given the coincidence they have followed as "reasonable grounds" it would seem anyone that gets a virus or trojan that might scan your address book is in jeopardy if they visit Greece. This is just crazy.
    • by arcanumas (646807)
      Worse.
      There was a guy who had setup a website were he supposedly, for a given price, would find you a job as a civil servant by using his 'connections' to elected official (effectively satirizing the situation in Greece).
      Anyone who who has been on 'the internets' for more than 5 minutes and has an intelligence quotient over 70, could tell it was a joke (it even had badly photoshoped images)
      Guess what happened. Not only was he arrested, but the mainstream media in Greece (tv, etc) reported it as complet
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        He's Dmitri Fotiou. His website was a riot. The lack of intelligence of these Greek authorities is amazing - they didn't even check the HTML. That's how bloody incompetent they are.

        Fotiou still has to report to the police every month. Incredible. They still insist on holding a trial, despite the fact the situation is totally ridiculous.

        See these links for more on the Foutiou story.
        http://rixstep.com/1/0/20060505,00.shtml [rixstep.com]
        http://rixstep.com/1/0/20060507,00.shtml [rixstep.com]

        Visit Dmitri's blog here.
        http://fotiou.net/blog2 [fotiou.net]
    • by Jessta (666101)
      You are responible for the actions of computer systems that you own. If this were not so, then crackers and spams could just deny that they knew their computers were taking such actions.
      • by DumbSwede (521261)
        Sure they can deny it, but in their cases there should be a money trail and source code.
        I'll bet over 50% of computers have had at least some minor level of compromise at sometime, should we jail 50% of the population?

        If you own a computer and someone else, an uncle for instance downloads some kiddy porn on it while you are away are you responsible for this? You should only be held responsible for your actions directly.

        I wouldn't kick if there were some kind of (minor) penalties for your computer be
  • Typical (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The Greek government is not particularly known for its respect of people's rights. Just ask them if they have any minorities in their country, and how many Greek minorities there are in other countries bordering Greece.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Don't trust the results, though--the Greek government will only admit to the existence of minorities specifically mentioned in their international treaties.

      Also, their human trafficking record is a good place to look for Human Rights issues.

      For a more general picture, consult The Human Rights Watch scoop [hrw.org].
    • by satan666 (398241)
      STFU because you have no idea of what you're talking about.

      Greece is a country of 10 Million people, what minorities are you talking about idiot?

      Last time I was in Greece I saw Albanians, Bulgarians and not to mention other Balkan nationals working in many jobs
      and owning many stores.

      So, your statement, unsupported by facts, is just plaint bullshit.

      So, again, STFU!
      • by gclef (96311)
        Reading comprehension, my friend. He didn't say to look around for how many minorities there *are*, he said to ask the government how many *it* *thinks* there are. The difference between what the government thinks and reality can be surprisingly large.
  • Could be this one: http://funel.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
    Also, the wikipedia entry on Dimosthenis Liakopoulos is very entertaining: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimosthenis_Liakopoul os [wikipedia.org]
    • by jbourj (954426)

      Although Tsipropoulos gave no clues to the identity of the plaintiff, the only satirical blog known to appear in blogme.gr lampooned televangelist and national mysticist Dimosthenis Liakopoulos.

      But it couldn't be! Televangelists never go to extremes; when was the last time you heard of a religious evangelical wako with enough influence in governemnt to get people arrested?

      But seriously now, maybe Liakopoulos just took the advice of Ted Haggard [wikipedia.org].

  • Freedom of Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

    by photomonkey (987563) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @05:46PM (#16635658)

    I know sometimes it's hard for us living in the US to remember that our case of (mostly) free speech is not common in other parts of the world.

    Even Great Britain has no guarantee of free speech, per se.

    Now, if only we could start spreading that around the world instead of spreading DemocracyTM, real democracy might ensue.

    • by slusich (684826) *
      And here in the US we are dangerously close to loosing what we have. "Free Speech Zones", talk of putting newspaper editors on trial for treason and a goverment which is more and more inclined to shroud itself in secrecy all threaten the rights to which we've become accustomed.
      • All the while, I find myself wondering how much of the US population knows, or cares that we're headed for a place where speech is free as long as it's popular.

        • by ThJ (641955)
          Hasn't most of Western Europe got free speech? In Norway, there are a couple of exceptions. One is quite archaic: it's illegal to insult His Majesty the King. Also, I think hate speech may be illegal. This would generally apply to the rest of Scandinavia too. When Americans speak of the rest of the world and how unfortunate they are, it touches a nerve in me...
          • by MightyYar (622222)
            To an American, the restrictions in Norway sound appalling. Some Americans would agree with a ban on hate speech in principle, but would sour to the idea when it came to letting someone else decide what hate speech consists of.
            • by Joey7F (307495)
              Right, another way of saying that for our Scandinavian readership is that we feel the most appropriate punishment for hatespeech mongers is to be marginalized and ridiculed.

              I was thinking about the hate speech exclusion in several western European nations the other day listening to a satire on the radio. A man in New York city had on a Nazi helmet (complete with flag) and tried to get a taxi at the same time a black guy was trying to get the cab. In a best of 7 match, the Nazi won 4 to 3. I wonder if that w
    • IS free speech. This is where it starts. ( and remember, that we here in the US dont have a democracy.. never really have.. we have a Representative Republic. However, free speech is still its cornerstone.

      Thus the reason for the first amendment.

      After that, you have to be able to stand up and fght for your rights .. thus the 2nd amendment... This is the mortar that holds the stone of free speech together.
      • by node 3 (115640)

        we have a Representative Republic

        That's a tautology. Republics are defined, in part, by having representatives.

        Additionally, republics *are* democratic. They aren't democratic in the sense that every single action taken by the state is put up for a vote, but democratic in the sense that the representatives are elected by the people.

        In other words, a republic is a form of democracy. The only reason people (*ALWAYS* from the right-wing, both conservative and libertarian) try to make a distinction between demo

        • by Joey7F (307495)
          How are libertarians right wing? Is it because they aren't left wing? In the standard compass of political beliefs, North is Libertarian, East is Conservative, South is Totalitarianism, and West is Liberal.

          I want people to have power, but I don't want people confused by what we have either. By the way, for American readers, early voting is probably starting this coming week/weekend. There is no excuse to not vote :)

          --Joey
          • by node 3 (115640)
            You did not address the issue that republics are democracies.

            How are libertarians right wing?

            Because in America, libertarians are right-wing. They identify more with Ronald Reagan than Bill Clinton.

            I want people to have power, but I don't want people confused by what we have either.

            That would be more convincing if you weren't actively trying to deny an integral aspect of our republic--namely that it *is* a democracy.

            By the way, for American readers, early voting is probably starting this coming week/weekend

            • by Joey7F (307495)

              How are libertarians right wing?

              Because in America, libertarians are right-wing. They identify more with Ronald Reagan than Bill Clinton.

              I am not sure that makes them right wing. Plus I tend to think that most people approach libertarianism from the left or the right. I tend to approach from the right, because I view fiscal issues as being more important than social ones. I may not be a Libertarian but I am libertarian and registered as a Republican.

              I didn't address the democrac

            • By the way, for American readers, early voting is probably starting this coming week/weekend. There is no excuse to not vote :)
              Agreed.
              What if you are firmly convinced that the whole election process (and indeed the whole of the US political machine) is corrupt beyond retrieval? Voting means acting to perpetuate the broken system, no?
    • by avxo (861854)
      The "other parts of the world" that you specify don't include Greece. There, free speech and the freedom of the press is guaranteed by the Constitution (Section II, Article 14) with exceptions similar to those in force of the U.S.A. by Court fiat (such as yelling "fire" in a crowded theater or publicizing details detrimental to national security) and two additional restrictions against insulting the person of the President of the Republic, and the Christian faith, which is the de jure national religion.
    • Article Ten of the European Convention of Human Rights explicilty grants it. (and article nine is essentially freedom of religion). http://www.hri.org/docs/ECHR50.html [hri.org] The ECHR specifically supersedes any existing national laws that it may conflict.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by LabRatty (96497)
      You may not be near a dictatorship, but you are not as good as you seem to think you are. And certainly not better than the UK.

      Freedom of the press survey - http://www.worldaudit.org/press.htm [worldaudit.org]

      Including democracy and corruption figures - http://www.worldaudit.org/democracy.htm [worldaudit.org]
    • Hang on, Great Britain (just the biggest island of the British Isles, the country is the United Kingdom) has the Human Rights Act, an EU-wide declaration of human rights, which explicitly includes freedom of expression, thought, conscience and religion.

      Oh and please, USA, put your own house in order before spreading it around - things like industry lobby groups buying laws (Disney, RIAA, oil), unsafe elections (Diebold et al), massive religious interference in policies and laws, etc.

  • I don't want to scare my buddies in the aggregator "business", but this is bad news if the arrests happen in the West too. Aggregators aren't huge in the American blogosphere, but they get lots of traffic in Canada, where Blogging Tories, Progressivebloggers.ca [progressivebloggers.ca] and even local ones like Sask Blogs Aggregator [catprint.ca] get more traffic than most individual bloggers.

    Lance at Saskblogs has a nice little disclaimer:

    Disclaimer:

    Catprint Computing, Lance Levsen, and the blog, "Catprint in the Mash" does not endorse and is n

  • by grev (974855)
    How is this illegal?
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thanasakis (225405) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:13PM (#16635840)
      Obviously it is not illegal. The guy was set free the next day. And after all this publicity, I suspect that he will have no problem being acquited in trial.

      This is yet another example of litigation used as a means of threat. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen around Greece only. The guys that started all this probably don't have a chance in court, but they sure caused a whole lot of trouble to that guy. I only hope that he will countersue them for moral damage and demand a shitload of money in compensation.

    • That's the gist of it. No one in Europe wants another Hitler/Mussolini/Stalin type debacle, and they think that making people say only nice things will keep the peace.
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @05:53PM (#16635708) Journal
    I still find it ironic that I get a lot of trash talk about how "unfree" speech is the US, yet I see US policitians call each other worse stuff during any election cycle, and no one goes to jail. Just as you can't have a pro-nazi site in Germany, and a host of other restrictions in every other country.

    We have our own problems here in the States, (ie: 2600 getting sued for linking to DeCSS code...) but at least pretty much anything goes when it comes to politicians.
  • Name of the accusor (Score:4, Informative)

    by Project2501a (801271) on Sunday October 29, 2006 @06:04PM (#16635780) Homepage Journal
    the name of the suitor is Dimosthenis Liakopoulos, a well-known tv-bookseller and demagogue in Greece, who also "happens" to belong to the ultra-right wing in Greece I'm Greek, and i got to say I find myself being ashamed one more time, after the "Greece bans Videogames" thingie
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Etz Haim (856183)
      And what a guy Liakopoulos [wikipedia.org] is...
    • Liakopoulos is crazy (well, if he believes what he says, anyway). He sells books and is always on about how Greeks are better than everyone else and how we've descended from aliens and will conquer the world. Odd that they'd actually raid a house based on what he says, though, I thought he was rather harmless (until now).

      I don't think this will go well for the authorities.
  • Did anyone else read this as "Geek Blog" instead of "Greek Blog"?
  • a satellite and host all those "Too hot to handle sites". It would be great having the first public site where anybody in the world can post their thoughts without fear of the jack booted govs throwing them in jail.
    • Won't work. Orbital positions belong to countries, and conceivably the owning country could apply its law to the infringing satellite.

      And no, they won't need to launch anti-sat weapons at it to enforce their laws, they just confiscate the ground equipment controlling it.

      • by TobascoKid (82629)
        Isn't that just for geo stationary satellites? Wouldn't something like a hamsat [amsat.org] be outside of any one country's control?
        • Isn't that just for geo stationary satellites?

          Indeed it is.

          Wouldn't something like a hamsat be outside of any one country's control?

          Except you wouldn't need just one satellite, but a whole fleet of them... Unless you're happy with a half-hour coverage per day...

      • Orbital positions belong to countries, and conceivably the owning country could apply its law to the infringing satellite.

        Who allocates these, and on what grounds? I'd guess the only reasonable territorial claim would be by equatorial nations directly below the geostationary orbit. So, hang a geostationary server over the middle of the Atlantic, within sight of the eastern US and western Europe, but located above international waters. Who exactly owns that space?

        • Who allocates these,

          The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) [itu.int] and on what grounds?

          Procedures are a mess (a mixture of first come/first served, proportionality to country's size, use-it-or-lose-it, and just plain "who shouts loudest at the WRC [itu.int]"), and described here [itu.int] (sorry for the Word doc, but ITU is somewhat akin to a banana republic...)

          I'd guess the only reasonable territorial claim would be by equatorial nations directly below the geostationary orbit.

          Nope, any country can apply. Obviously the

  • AnoNet (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    To those who feel they might be unjustly persecuted, AnoNet has helped immensely in the direction of anonymity - http://anonetnfo.brinkster.net/ [brinkster.net]
  • Shame on the Greek Authorities (Body of Electronic Crime included), really. They've done a pretty good job in arresting criminals that take advantage of child pornography or thieves that take advantage of people's ignorance over the use of electronic payment methods, but some times I doubt if they have the judgeship of how things really work over the internet. Unfortunately there are public prosecutors that simply don't laugh at such accusations.
    However, Greek Law is somehow up-to-date for such accusations
  • by Salvance (1014001) *
    And there's so much talk on here (particularly by foreigners) about how bad the U.S. has gotten. I guess nobody in Greece allows unmoderated comments on their blogs ...

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