Why Hetzner shut down Gupta-linked website

Martin Peake, a UK citizen who grew up in South Africa, has launched a campaign to shut down websites linked to the Guptas, Times Live reported.

This included blackopinion.co.za, which is registered to Yerushka Chetty, who the report said is a member of Black First Land First.

The site published stories attacking “white monopoly capital” and calling SA National Editors’ Forum members racist, according to Times Live.

Peake complained to the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA), which led to the website being suspended.

Earlier reports that ISPA suspended the website are inaccurate, as the association only provides an administrative role in handling takedowns.

This includes takedown notices lodged against ISPA members in terms of section 77 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.

“This legal process allows anyone to lodge a takedown notice to request the removal of allegedly unlawful content hosted by members of a recognised industry representative body,” said ISPA.

ISPA checks the takedown notice has been completed correctly and then forwards it to the relevant member.

“If a member chooses not to remove the targeted content, ISPA does not and cannot force the removal of a website, but a member opting not to take a particular site down does lose the special limitations on liability for that content set out in the ECT Act.”

Hetzner takes down blackopinion.co.za

The WHOIS record for blackopinion.co.za lists Hetzner as its domain administrator.

Hetzner confirmed to MyBroadband that it took the website down, as it was its domain administrator and host.

Hetzner stated that it acted on a takedown notice from ISPA, but declined to provide further details.

ISPA and Hetzner also declined to reveal details about the complaint, but the association stated that a takedown notice can be based on a claim of unlawful activity.

“The leading category is notice of copyright and trademark infringement, followed by fraud, malware, and phishing. A small number of complaints involving hate speech, defamation, harassment, and invasion of privacy are processed each year,” said ISPA.

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Why Hetzner shut down Gupta-linked website