Over recent weeks and months there has been much talk among politicians about regulating the internet while, conversely, they discuss freedom of speech. Only last month the Guardian had an article on this subject while the Economist reported on a United Nations conference on telecommunications governance in Dubai last December. Business Insider also had a report on this conference as did the Independent.
We now turn to “little” Iceland – readers may recall that this is a country will less inhabitants than Croydon, yet has its own government, but I digress – who it would appear has done “a Norway”, of which more shortly.
Courtesy of Ian Parker-Joseph I learn of the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), from which:
“On June 16th 2010 the Icelandic Parliament passed a proposal for a parliamentary resolution tasking the government to introduce a new legislative regime to protect and strengthen modern freedom of expression. The proposal was passed by votes from parliament members of all parties.
Birgitta Jonsdottir, the chief sponsor in parliament of the IMMI proposal said: “Iceland will become the inverse of a tax haven; by offering journalists and publishers some of the most powerful protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. Tax havens aim is to make everything opaque. Our aim is to make everything transparent.”.”
To return to the matter of Iceland doing “a Norway” readers will recall that on 14th December last year I pointed out that Norway had refused to implement the 3rd Postal Directive – well it seems Norway is not the only EFTA member with backbone. From this pdf (page 7):
(click to enlarge)
Something which I believe it is correct to say Iceland still refuses to do.
From the FAQ section of the hosting data we find:
“I found content on website hosted on your servers that I find offensive. How can I ask you to remove it?
We are a free speech hosting provider and the cost of that is that there may be content hosted on our servers that some people might find offensive. Once we would start taking down such web sites, then we are no longer a free speech hosting service provider.
How do you react if you receive a complaint regarding site content hosted on your servers?
In case the site does not contain anything illegal and it’s content is not against our TOS, we ignore such complaints. Privacy of our clients is really important for us. Therefore every time we are contacted by third party regarding our clients website or information we inform our client about it. We encourage you to read our TOS every time you visit our website.”
From the Terms of Service (names have been changed for obvious reasons):
“Sites hosted on Orangewebsite’s service(s) are regulated only by Icelandic Law.
Orangewebsite is not in a position to investigate and validate or invalidate the veracity of individual defamation claims, which is why we rely on the legal system and courts to determine whether or not material is indeed considered defamatory.
In any case in which an Icelandic court order indicates material is defamatory, libelous, or slanderous in nature; we will comply and remove or disable access to the material in question.“
To quote IPJ: In other words, unless they have an Icelandic court order, they can run, hop, skip and complain as much as they like…. Another interesting fact is that any person complaining has to appear in person, so sending a lawyer to plead your case just ain’t gonna happen.
Anyone interested hosting their blog in Iceland? Then refer to the right hand side bar on this blog!