Greece: social media scanning and criminal liability

The Greek government is taking vaccine deniers and fake people seriously. Takis Theodoricakos, Minister of Civil Protection, ordered the scanning of social media.

The authorities intend to quickly detect the disseminators of false information about the effectiveness of vaccines and their dangers. The tsunami of digital misinformation is growing and is turning into a slowly burning “bomb” threatening public health.

Theodoricakos’ order is aimed both at users spreading fakes about vaccinations and at denying parents. In each case, the intervention of the prosecutor is expected.

Vasilis Papakostas, Director of Cybercrime Investigation, was appointed as the main executor of his order. It is designed to promptly investigate the origins and identity of the administrators of websites and social media accounts calling on citizens to take action related to public health and state security. The obtained data will be transferred to the judicial authorities. After the investigation, it is assumed that the actions provided for by the legislation will be carried out.

Already the first information collected by the Cybercrime Investigation Office suggests that an entire “industry of fraud” has been created, hiding behind websites and individual groups of vaccine opponents. They provide legal advice on the established “price lists” for unvaccinated citizens to initiate claims, acting on behalf of non-existent companies, and even provide financial support.

Law enforcement officers are looking for incriminating data about the managers of these pages. It is pointed out that incitement to disobedience on the part of website administrators can be considered a crime, since they are part of the spread of fakes about the coronavirus. It is possible that the prosecutor will decide to open a criminal case against some of them.

Prosecutorial intervention is also expected for parents who deny the established measures against coronavirus and file claims against teachers who comply with the law. The prosecutor’s office of first instance, in conjunction with the local appellate instance, will promptly investigate the alleged crime of the parents’ actions against the teachers. Once recognized as such, the authorities will act in accordance with the law. Yannis Oikonomou, a government spokesman, has already warned that parents who deny government-imposed measures against coronavirus will face the law: “The government and the educational community cannot tolerate this behavior. There are specific laws, regulations and clear instructions. “

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