Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

Easy to publish, 'almost impossible' to remove

Thursday, May 13, 1999 Published at 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK


Easy to publish, 'almost impossible' to remove

Uploading a Website onto a new ISP can take just minutes

The UK Government has been playing cyber catch-up with renegade spy Richard Tomlinson since the end of last month.

As soon as they shut down the former MI6 man's Swiss-based Website - because he was believed to have revealed the identities of other spies in it - he merely uploaded the site onto another internet service provider (ISP), Geocites.

Even though Geocites soon became aware of the injunction taken against the Swiss-based site, and promptly evicted Mr Tomlinson from its cyberspace, theoretically it could only be a matter of time before he sets up again with another ISP.

"It is incredibly easy to set up a Website, especially with free ISPs," said Nicholas Ispanayis, of Freedom2Surf.

"Free ISPs can allow you to have your site up and running within minutes - and it can be very difficult to know who has set up the Website if they have registered online. You could very easily give false personal details in the registration procedure.

"Basically, anyone can log on to a free ISP, provide any kind of identity, and set up a site. If that site contains illegal information, it may be shut down, but then it is very quick and easy to upload all the code onto another ISP."

ISPs are only too aware of the problem. The vast majority of the Internet's bad press comes from the relatively small amount of illegal information which is published on it.

Nicholas Lansman, General Secretary of the Internet Service Providers Association, says the industry is making great strides in the area of self-regulation.