DRAFT - DO NOT LINK please correct, clarify, reduce, compress
It has come to our attention that on Saturday November 28th the police of Malmoe committed an apparently unwarranted search in the location of the hackerspace Forskningsavdelningen.
Responsible authorities claim that the raid was provoked by a punk concert taking place at Utkanten, a social center sharing the premises with the organization Forskningsavdelningen (but being located in separate rooms).
However, the raid obviously targeted the hackerspace in an unreasonable fashion: several pieces of equipment of material and operational value were removed and present members of the hackerspace were photographed, ID'd and generally treated as hostile subjects. Since the raid not only included police in riot gear but also IT specialists, one has to wonder that the hackerspace organization was the original target of the raid, and the official reasoning for the search was malicious and intentionally false.
The Viennese sister project of Forskningsavdelningen is the Metalab, an organization located in a 200m² venue near the city hall. The Metalab is privately financed as well as publicly subsidised, and has not only been host to widely recognized talks, conferences, persons and activities, it also provides an environment that has given birth to various commercial, civil, philantropic and generally experimental social ventures of various forms. It stands to reason that these kind of social and technological advances can only grow in certain environments.
Hackerspaces in general strive to create this particular atmosphere and enrich the cultural and technological of the area they are located in. Hackerspaces are places of information, discussion, experimentation and openness. They are the real world manifestations of a new paradigm, originally created by the free, borderless and undiscriminating nature of the internet and its communication structures. Hackerspaces are places where freedom of opinion meets creativity.
One would certainly expect that it is in the public interest to foster this kind of organisation, as it is the case in Vienna and many other places around the world.
Not so in Malmoe. Not only were the actions of the Swedish police in violation of the civil rights of the club members, they also put a very valuable breeding ground for a new age in peril by subjecting them (and thus us all) in the dubious danger of being prosecuted for mysterious reasons which can not be anticipated.
Hackerspaces, being what they are, create potential for all of us. To put such kind of organizations in random legal peril will eventually prove detrimental to a free society as a whole.
Thus, we hereby strongly object to the actions in question and expressly state solidarity with our friends in Malmoe and request the responsible authorities to cease and desist from any further measures as well as to return all confiscated equipment immediately and compensate Forskningsavdelningen for damages.
Additionally, we demand a public investigation about the true nature of this sting operation as well as against the agitators in charge whether they maliciously presented false reasoning to perform a sting operation on a private interest organisation without legal grounds.
We also request a statement of Austrian and Swedish authorities as to what legal insecurities organisations such as ours have to face in continuing our collaboration.
A next to complete list of activities, visitors and press coverage in the metalab:
Some commercial ventures originating at the metalab:
For more information about hackerspaces, please see: