03/10/2009

an interesting international cyberlaw discussion about the anti-pedo site in Belgium

From the start stopkinderporno.be was responsable for more media and political attention than the information that is being published. Well, the site doesn't publish so much information itself, it publishes a telephone number you can use to know if there are any known condemned pedo's living in your neighbourhood with the first letter of their last name and their first name. They say they already have the information about 8 liberated pedo's living somewhere in Belgium.

The Minister of Justice and the Belgian Privacycommission don't agree with these intention and say it is illegal in Belgian for third perons to treat and publish such information. Judicial information can't be treated by private persons or enterprises.

The site has a .be name but is hosted in Holland and this makes it very interesting for a lot of reasons.

You can take down the .be name at the dns level if the justice department asks for it, because you can't use a .be name for illegal purposes.

So the owner of the site will have to come up with another domainextension that doesn't fall under the Belgian law about the use of domainnames. The owner says he is doing nothing wrong according to Dutch law.

By having the domainname taken out, you don't have taken the site or the content out (if you could ever do that). You have neither brought the owner of the site to trial and this will be difficult because the discussion will be between the proponents of the theory that it is the content that matter (independently of where it is hosted) and so national law should be used if a particular national law or interest is at stake and the proponents of the theory that it is the location of the server (in a virtualised load-balancing world this could be anywhere at the same time) that matters when choosing which national law and court will be used.

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