Internet Privacy in Greece: Laws, Threats, and Protections

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Greece has been one of the regions that have driven civilization for centuries.

However, in the modern era, the old heads of wisdom have gone missing, and ignorance and vanity prevail.

While the country was the center of a crisis a few years ago where people had to face significant economic hardships, the country’s online environment had been infected by plagues and viruses long before.

We take a look at the situation of internet privacy in Greece, specifically how a lack of it has brought down the standards of journalism in the country.

Stifling Freedom of Expression in Greece

Greece has seen a dramatic change in its fortune in the past decade or so.

It is regarded as the most corrupt nation among the EU, and that nature has affected the situation of internet privacy in the country.

It can all be dated back to 2010 when the country’s most famous blog Troktiko was shut down.

It was a space for posting sensitive issues and discussing scandals, rumors, and other salacious news stories. In 2010, its co-founder and administrator Sokratis Giolias was dragged out of his apartment and shot at close range by masked extremists.

This gave birth to an environment that made it dangerous for journalists to report honestly about the issues in the country.

Since then, many businessmen and politicians have used violence to silence voices against them.

In recent years, they have not needed violence and have taken to censoring the internet to prevent such things making their way to the online space in the first place.

The effect of these practices can be seen from Greek’s fall in the list of World Press Freedom Index in 2013 from 31st place to 84th.

Protests against the authorities result in a violent backlash from the police, and those reporting on these issues are reprimanded and silenced.

Internet Privacy in Greece

Internet censorship is a tool the Greek authorities have used in recent years to control the flow of information within the country. While journalists are acted against if found to report on sensitive issues, there are other cases which point to a growing trend of online censorship in the country.

The first case was the 2012 Elder Pastitsios case where a Facebook page ridiculed the well-known Greek monk. The Golden Dawn organization called for the arrest of the 27-year old behind the page, and privacy enthusiasts protested against the quick arrest of the said individual.

It brought to light that an organization had helped the government find an individual based on their internet usage by taking advantage of the grey areas in the legislation regarding censorship.

Since then such instances have become too frequent.

People in business sue journalists, bloggers, and Wikipedia administrators whenever they post something against them.

Journalist Popi Christodoulido was charged under the military penal code for publishing sensitive information relating to coast guard divers being used to guard land targets.

Although the information was also available publicly, the journalist was charged under articles 143, 144, and 195 of the penal code.

The Lagarde List

The October 2012 case of the Lagarde List was another where online censorship prevailed. A Greek journalist posted a list of 2,000 tax evaders with accounts in Swiss Banks.

The journalist was imprisoned but acquitted a few days later by a court.

How Can the Greeks Protect Their Freedom of Speech Online?

Greece is part of the EU, so all the internet laws are applicable there as well.

Apart from that, there are reasons like language problem and surveillance of the internet activity of the users which make it viable for you to hide your online identity.

This is so that you can have free speech on the internet.

Follow these points to have that:

  • Do not leave your social media or email accounts signed in on public networks. These networks don’t have a lot of security and leaving a logged in account makes it child’s play to see your identity and activity through it.
  • Make sure you have strong passwords and two factor authentication for your online accounts. These prevent someone from gaining access to them. You should also tweak the privacy settings of your online accounts.
  • Use a VPN to hide your online activity from all prying eyes. VPNs encrypt your connection and keep you hidden, giving you the best freedom of speech online. You can use one of the top VPNs for Greece for this.

The reputation of Greece has deteriorated drastically in the last decade or so.

Questionable political tactics have a huge part in that, but the country’s internet freedom is also being curtailed heavily.

Journalists are threatened more and more as the years go by, and they are forced to leave their stations and huddle together to report from the shadows.

Online privacy is fast evaporating globally, but it seems to have taken a nasty turn much sooner in Greece than in other countries of Europe and the west.

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