WTF is up with Sweden

kugg | Posted 2010.01.22 at 2:33 pm | Perma

The recent history of what has happened at “the Forsk“, a hackerspace in Malmö, Sweden before and after the police raid(s).
Let’s start with a timeline to give you a quick round-up of where we are, since unfortunately many articles referred to are written in Swedish.

21-11-2009

Forsk makes public appearance in local newspaper:
http://sydsvenskan.se/kultur-och-nojen/article568467/Det-finns-inga-sparrar-allt-gar-att-knacka.html
( Swedish )

28-11-2009

Police makes a raid against the whole house where the hackerspace
forskningsavdelningen is seated.
This is partly filmed and published live in English

http://bambuser.com/channel/forskningsavd

The raid did not have a search warrant.
All the background can be found here in English

http://hack.org/mc/writings/hackerspace-raided.html

29-11-2009

We made statements in papers and blogs in English
http://forskningsavd.se/2009/11/29/i-can-haz-moar-bout-teh-reid/

At the same time, the police made statements about the club below our space in Swedish

http://www.polisen.se/Skane/Aktuellt/Nyheter/Skane/2009/okt-dec/Alkohol-och-slangbomber-beslagtogs-vid-tillslag-i-Malmo/

09-12-2009

The prosecutor gave a statement on that we can have our computers returned, since all data has been “secured”

http://sydsvenskan.se/malmo/article591271/Datorer–aterlamnas-br–efter-kopiering-av-data.html
(Swedish)

At this point (22-01-2010) there are still no allegations concerning the hackerspace, but in statements towards press people, these terms get mentioned:

  • “Preparation for Grand Theft”
  • “Computer intrusion”
  • “Breaking of the special knife law”
  • “Fencing “
  • “Breaking alcohol laws”

Asked about these allegations, the prosecutor claimed that this is nothing they will press charges on. (or something similar)

10-12-2009

When we ask the police to return our stuff, they say no as they haven’t been able to use or understand any of the data they
cloned of any of the disks. For this reason, they decide to keep the machines to bargain with.
(one laptop unrelated to the hackerspace is handed back, but is totally wrecked (one disk is overwritten with garbage data, dvd-player is broken))

18-12-2009

Police contacts employers and relatives to people in the hackerspace to push them in to give up information on people in hackerspace and what “passwords” they may have.

04-01-2010

Police decides to hand back ink, wifi-antenna, Linksys-router and three out of ten bus cards.

19-01-2010

Police raids founder of hackerspace grill-bit (MMN-o) in Swedish city Umeå (and blog host for forskningsavd). During this bust, the police confiscates four servers, one laptop and one external USB-drive. The forskningsavd.se blog goes offline due to the raid.

http://blog.mmn-o.se/2010/01/19/polisen-raidade-mitt-kontor/ (Swedish)

20-01-2010

The police accuses MMN-o of computer intrusion, prosecutors disagree on the charges but continue with charges.

The charges are based on MMN-o using the Internet connection at his rented office to set up a VPN.
According to the ISP this VPN disturbed the service for other customers since it was “complex to limit its bandwidth” and this type
of connection was not agreed upon. Further the ISP refused to contact MMN-o in person since this would “give him a chance to remove
something illegal before the raid”.
Here is an article written by MMN-o in Swedish

http://blog.mmn-o.se/2010/01/20/misstanke-om-dataintrang-ansluta-till-internet-olagligt/

Update:

26-01-2010

Forskningsavdelningen send a letter to the prosecutor to claim back equipment and send a reminder on the legal state of this case.

http://forskningsavd.se/files/docs/prosecutor_letter.doc

1-01-2010

Police responds with a letter announcing the release of all computers. YAY

http://forskningsavd.se/2010/02/03/we-sent-a-letter-and-one-week-later-we-got-an-answer/

Current list of missing equiment is:

  • Metal files
  • Blank keys
  • Pocket calculator
  • Lock-picking practice locks
  • 2 key cutters
  • 1 external 2.5″ hard drive
  • 1 backpack
  • 6 RFID cards (Jojo Skånetrafiken) (the cops took 10 of them and have returned 4)

Legal implication

Most likely all charges in all of these “investigations” will be dropped. Further there is a fair chance that no equipment or data
content will be handed back before it’s “useless”.

All charges that will/may be raised against police will be dropped no matter what they are or how much evidence there is.

History

You all probably remember the raid of hackerspace Abbenay
(http://blog.hackerspaces.org/2009/09/29/the-situation-at-abbenay-hackerspace/)
or maybe the raid of the service provider PRQ (when all customer machines where
cdonfiscated) http://www.thelocal.se/3963/20060601/

This kind of events/mentality has a history older then these recent years.

The current head of IT-police in Sweden, Stefan Kronqvist, made this statement about hackers back in 1984:

The youngsters, like the so called “hackers”, have created their own etic rules where you must break every rule possible. To be the worst is the best. This point of view is a direct copy from America.
http://www.textfiles.com/magazines/SHA/shanews1.txt

More recently he made this statement, as an argument to why police had decided to put “thepiratebay.org” in the countrywide DNS filter against childporn:
The police have documented evidence that child-pornographic content is
hosted at The Pirate Bay

http://www.idg.se/2.1085/1.114684 (Swedish)

These statements set the standard.

Future

“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.
We will not be victims, we wil continue we will grow and we will
learn, build, recycle and change!
Forskningsavdelningen means Research Department. “Forskning” is the
idea of analyzing circumstances and document them to learn and change
behaviour. Our department are good at this. We are not sad, hurt,
outraged or offended we are innovation we are change we are friendship
and we “forsk” our way to the future. We will not excuse our selves
for our curiosity.

Hack on!

// kugg at forskningsavdelningen Sweden

Abbenay Hacklab Shut Down, AK4 Evicted

Nick Farr | Posted 2009.10.08 at 6:35 pm | Perma

Bad news regarding Abbenay Hacklab, for whom we put out a call for support last week:

I am sorry to inform you that early this morning the cops raided the AK4 squat where the Abbenay hacklab was set up, and 16 people were arrested. The joys of Sweden…

So far, I do not know if Fredrik Winberg made any further contact with anyone involved, nor if the squatters have been released.

More news and updates on the aftermath over at the Hackerspaces Discuss list.

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The Situation at Abbenay Hackerspace

Nick Farr | Posted 2009.09.29 at 5:54 pm | Perma

The one-month old Abbenay hacklab has put out a call for support from the Hackerspace community. In the spirit of ASCII and PUSCII, they opened up operations in a squat in downtown Stockholm. While squats are unusual in Sweden, this particular space has been able to stay open for a month.

We are however facing an imminent eviction threat and police pressure has been significantly increasing lately – with civil cops coming very often to take pictures of the house and sirens waking us up early in the morning. This call is asking you to contact the landlord to show support to the hacklab and the squat…

Herein lies a rather unique opportunity. While you may not agree with the politics behind squatting, Abbenay’s call for support is asking for an open dialogue with the building’s landlord, advocating on behalf of Hackerspaces and asking for reasonable accommodation. Here is an opportunity to purposefully advocate for a fellow Hackerspace, not by necessarily aligning yourself with the politics of the situation but by appealing to a property owner why it’s in his community’s best interest to allow Abbenay to continue.

Hellekin’s very reasoned and well-argued letter is a great example of how you can voice your support:

Although their methods are questionable, please consider what benefits you and your fellow citizens could enjoy from having such a dedicated team of goofy researchers in your capital city. Beyond the obvious press coverage…you would be surprised … how productive and ingenious these people can be, and how shaking and beneficial such an endeavor can be for the local community.

Those of you who have started hackerspaces know how difficult the bootstrapping process is, as well as how beneficial these spaces are to the technically creative and curious where you live. While your hackerspace probably took a different route in coming to be, consider that every Hackerspace confronts its own forming and operating challenges differently. Consider how you give and receive help at your hackerspace and consider that what Abbenay is asking for isn’t that much different.

While this post is a bit of a departure from my theoretical musings of late, I believe this is a fascinating situation with a good working solution that shows promise. Even if Abbenay is ultimately evicted, the mere process of reaching out to a property owner in another part of the world can help you frame your own thoughts about your Hackerspace and how the magic and struggles in your space relate to those in spaces throughout the world.

If you do decide to contact Fredrik Winberg, be sure to post what you said or wrote to the Hackerspaces Discuss list. His contact information can be found in the initial call for support. There is also a Facebook group you can join as well!

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