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 located in separate rooms).
However, one has to wonder who the real target of the raid was. Why would the police need IT specialists to raid a punk concert? Why would they remove several pieces of equipment of material and operational value from the hackerspace? And why would they photograph and ID the present members of the hackerspace, and generally treat them as hostile subjects? Was Forskningsavdelningen the real target - and was the official reason for the search malicious and intentionally false?
We are members of the Metalab, a hackerspace in Vienna - and as such a sister project of Forskningsavdelningen. Metalab is an organization that is privately financed as well as publicly subsidised and has been host to widely recognized talks, conferences, and other activities. Moreover, the Metalab has given birth to various commercial, civil, philantropic and generally experimental social ventures of various forms. These kind of social and technological advances can only grow in certain environments, and the Metalab - like all hackerspaces - strives to provide such an environment.
Hackerspaces enrich the cultural and technological scene 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, originated in 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 send the message that engaging in creative collaboration might put you in danger of being prosecuted - for mysterious reasons. 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. We 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 into 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 work.
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:
The Metalab is a non profit organisation located in Vienna, Austria and counts more than a hundred paying members. For more information in english, please visit:
This statement will be communicated to the media, the austrian Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Swedish Department of Justice.