Web tightens for Internet crimes

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 100 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.