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Debate rages in Hungary over who has the power to shut down a website

There's a debate raging in Hungary right now about who has the power to shut down an anti-Semitic website. The site is hosted by a webserver in the USA although edited and operated from Hungary. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has written to the US Congress and asked then to 'assist in terminating the anti-Semitic provocations in Hungary supported from the United States'.

Comments on various blogs here show that many believe that the US government has the power to shut down the site, but won't as it will be seen as a denial of free speech. Others think that Orban would be best served in going for the editors of the blog rather than its host.

This site has been shut down once before. And the man responsible for that has posted his own answer to the current debate.

Because I was the one who once managed to shut down kuruc.info, which was using a server in the United States, I know that the U.S. government does not have the authority  to forbid the operation of an objectionable website. That is legally and physically impossible. We are talking here about a civil contract that is the outside the purview of the American government.

Bartus goes on to raise another interesting point:

The owner of the server spells out in his “privacy policy” to what extent he allows the use of his server for racist, homophobic, or pedophiliac content.  But if the American server owner doesn’t know Hungarian, he has no idea that the site doesn’t conform to the terms of the privacy policy. This was the case with kuruc.info and its American server owner.


One wonders where the governance is...

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Comment by Enock Othin on July 9, 2012 at 9:29am

I agree with Bartus the US government has no powers to shut down the website and they should respect the sovereighty of other states.I think there are laws in place for the "privacy policy".

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