Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis hack websites of human rights NGOs
The website of the Czech Helsinki Committee (ČHV) has been targeted for attack by "nationalist" hackers from the White Media group. The hackers publicly announced on their own website that they attacked the human rights organization as part of their annual "Week against Anti-Racism and Xenophilia", which began on 28 September.
In addition to the ČHV's website its Facebook profile was attacked, as was the personal Facebook profile of director Lucie Rybová and her personal email account. The Brno branch of Amnesty International in the Czech Republic was hacked as well.
"It's alarming how defenseless you are in such a situation," Rybová told news server Romea.cz. While negotiations with Facebook regarding the blocking of the profiles and creating new slogans took place fairly quickly, negotiations with the operator of her email account and the operator of the ČHV website are remarkably problematic, according to Rybová.
"The operator of the Czech Helsinki Committee's website, the Forpsi server, says it has never encountered such a situation. We reported the hacking to them and asked them to post a text on the site explaining why the pages are not available, but all that shows up there is the message "inoperative", thanks to which we seem unreliable. It looks like we haven't paid for the domain, and it is also harming us in other areas, including our clients - they can't access our contact information so they can't call the counseling center," Rybová said.
In addition to the organization not being able to fully focus on some of its activities because of its non-functioning website, ČHV also cannot now report online about those activities, which is usually a frequent obligation with respect to projects. Addressing the situation with the stolen email account is even more complicated.
The hackers have stolen Rybová's password to her personal email account on Seznam and have changed it. "I have to prove the email is actually mine, using the same online form as when you forget your password. I have done it three or four times and nothing happens. When I call the hotline they refer me back to the online form and are unable to connect me with anyone who can handle my situation or even temporarily block the account," she explained to Romea.cz.
While Seznam has taken a passive approach to the situation for several days already, the neo-Nazis have continued to enjoy unfettered access to Rybová's personal email account. ČHV is considering filing a criminal report against the hackers.
Even that, however, will not be easy, because while the racist and xenophobic content of the White Media website violates Czech law, its domain is registered with a web hosting company in California and is subject to the laws there. Those laws are much more benevolent when it comes to freedom of speech, including the dissemination of hate, than are laws in the Czech Republic.
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