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US company shuts down neo-Nazi website "White Media" at the request of the Czech authorities

18.1.2019 10:18
The Czech-language neo-Nazi website White Media. (PHOTO:
The Czech-language neo-Nazi website White Media. (PHOTO:

A press release from the Czech Republic's Office for Personal Data Protection (Úřad pro ochranu osobních údajů - ÚOOÚ) issued on 14 January informed the public that since 8 January 2019 the neo-Nazi website White Media has not been accessible. After being warned by the ÚOOÚ, the US web hosting company providing the space for the hateful, racist website ceased to host it.

White Media used to publish texts and videos with racist, xenophobic subject matter. "Most of the texts and videos there contain Islamophobia, racism and xenophobia," the Czech Interior Ministry published in their analysis of the site in 2011.

The website also published lists of people who had publicly stood up for the victims of racist assault, who had given aid to refugees, who had foreign nationals as their life partners, or who supported same-sex marriage, describing all of them as "traitors", and neo-Nazis also used the website to publish hacked e-mail messages from people associated with nonprofit organizations or the e-mails of former Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Last week information began to spread on social networks that the neo-Nazi website was inaccessible, and speculation began about whether it had been closed down or whether those owning it had not paid for the web hosting service.

The ÚOOÚ published the explanation on its own website on 14 January. "The Office had previously reported that it was investigating, on the basis of motions filed with it, illegal processing of personal information in association with the running of the website," the press release said.

"The Office ascertained that this domain was anonymously registered with the American company DreamHost. At the same time, the company DreamHost, LLC provides web hosting for that site," the authority described.

"The Office therefore, at the close of 2018, warned this company of the illegal content on that website and called on them to cooperate," the press release said. The Office warned the American web hosting company that the website had processed personal data in contravention of the general regulation on the protection of personal data.

"That processing consisted of publishing personal data, obtained without authorization, about persons in the Czech Republic, such as their name, date of birth and address, at the very least. The website included other data such as copies of their identification cards, photographs of them, and contact information for them," the press release says.

"The operator of the website had no legal basis for processing that personal data and, at the same time, obviously violated other obligations flowing from the general regulation," the Office said. "As a consequence of this procedure, the company DreamHost, LLC, informed the Office at the beginning of 2019 that it had decided to stop providing hosting services in relation to that domain, as it considered the basis for the Office's communications to have proven that legal regulations were being violated by those operating the website."

"Beginning on 8 January 2019, therefore, is no longer accessible," the press release reads. White Media had existed since 2009.

Neo-Nazis used the website, for example, to express approval of Anders Breivik who, in 2011, perpetrated a series of terrorist attacks during which 77 people died in Norway. Breivik's actions were, according to the neo-Nazis, comprehensible and inspired other people fighting against multiculturalism.

The neo-Nazis following the White Media server also hacked several nonprofit organizations in 2014, such as the Czech Helsinki Commitee (Český helsinský výbor - ČHV). At the close of September and beginning of October 2014, White Media announced its so-called "Week against Anti-Racism and Xenophilia".

In addition to the ČHV website, the Facebook profile of the organization was hacked, as was the personal Facebook profile of ČHV director Lucie Rybová and her personal e-mail account. Amnesty International's Brno branch was also hacked at that time.

In 2015, White Media claimed responsibility for hacking the Twitter account of then-Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. The contents of Sobotka's e-mail correspondence were then published on the White Media website.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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