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

The Journey Begins…

Jordan | Posted 2009.09.08 at 6:00 am | Perma

Soon I may be visiting you!

Today I will embark on an epic journey with my friends Bilal Ghalib and Paul Jehlen to travel across the U.S. and Canada. Our mission? To record hackerspace history. We’re calling this film adventure the Two Hands Project… because along with everything else ever made, it will be produced with two hands!

Why are we doing this? As a member of Pumping Station: One, I know what a hackerspace is, but many other people don’t. If you are a member of a hackerspace, I’m sure you’ve had to explain it before, and it’s not always easy. If you aren’t a member, then I’m sure you’ve wondered yourself. We want to help explain what a hackerspace is, why they are important, and what it means to be a member of such a place.

So, we’re setting out to film the creation of projects, ideas, and whole new hackerspaces! We feel that now is an important time in the history of these spaces, and it is our responsibility to record that history.

For more information about the project, visit www.TwoHandsProject.com. I plan to blog here as much as possible along the way, so stay tuned for updates on our adventures!

Cheers!
- Jordan Bunker

Respect the Past, Examine the Present, Build the Future

Nick Farr | Posted 2009.08.25 at 5:00 pm | Perma

Hackerspaces aren’t a recent phenomenon. The latest crop of Hackerspaces to emerge over the past two years represent a Third Wave, something approaching a critical mass in a longer continuum of efforts Hackers have made to collaborate in physical spaces.

Spaces like the L0pht, New Hack City (Boston and San Francisco), the Walnut Factory, the Hasty Pastry, and many other First Wave spaces that date back to the early 1990s are the stuff of legend. Some of my most cherished memories among Hackers took place at NHC, circa 2001. I wish New Hack was still around, just down Market street under the “We Buy Diamonds” awning, only evidenced by a buzzer button labelled “SETEC Astronomy”.

Did spaces like NHC contribute to excitement over hackerspaces? Absolutely. Did they inspire the Hackers in Germany and Austria who began building spaces of their own in the late 90s? It’s a question worth looking at, it points at a need for expanded theoretical discussions about the development of Hackerspaces. Hackers throughout Europe fueled the Second Wave of spaces, proving Hackers could be perfectly open about their work, organize officially, gain recognition from the government and respect from the public by living and applying the Hacker ethic in their efforts.

With a decade of experience and the collected wisdom of the Design Patterns, efforts like C-Base and the C4 inspired the Third Wave of spaces like NYCResistor, HacDC and Noisebridge.

I choose to view the Hackerspace phenomenon under a Toffleresque framework of successive waves. You might frame it more elegantly, or not frame it at all, and I will probably happily agree with your conclusions. As I wrote on the Hackerspaces discussion list, looking at the theory of hackerspaces is not about casting firm definitions or assigning motivations. It’s about identifying patterns, trends and theory that help us frame and examine what’s happening with Hackerspaces. It’s an invitation to open debate and documenting our thoughts and feelings about our spaces so we can benefit from each other’s experiences and give new spaces the benefit of our collected wisdom.

Firm debates along clear lines such as hackerspaces vs. non-hackerspaces, serving members vs. serving the public and spaces of old vs. spaces of new are not as clear cut as they’re sometimes framed. Simplification allows us to discuss generics and trends while lending others a framework for examining their own efforts. Developing and sharing theory is about being inclusive.

We could very easily kill the enthusiasm behind the movement if we use theory as an exclusionary fence. Theory should illustrate progression and suggest the best paths for moving forward, not define a set of limitations. If a hackerspace is “a place where people can learn about technology and science outside the confines of work or school”, then a hardware hacking skybox at the Riviera during DefCon, or a food court during a 2600 meeting should qualify as a hackerspace too.

Even the idea of Hackerspaces as a benevolent collectives is worth challenging. As Hackers struggle to find work in the global downturn, why shouldn’t we have patently for-profit hackerspaces? The idea may be initially offensive, but what better way of getting towards a future where soldering irons are as normal in bars and coffee shops as pencils and moleskines are today? Instead of discounting the for-profit idea and other efforts to expand Hackerspaces as a concept, we should be encouraging and participating in such efforts. The global economy being what it is, who wouldn’t support some entrepreneurial hackers with their local parts store and coffee shop?

If we’re not growing conceptually, if we’re not networking as spaces efficiently, if we’re not exciting those younger and more enthusiastic than we are, this incredible global phenomenon we’ve got going is bound to fail. In a way, a certain level of failure is inevitable. Odds are good that we’re going to lose some spaces over the next year. With some continued effort and global cooperation, we can keep most of the explosive net growth we’ve had over the past two years. We can build a future where a hackerspace is already waiting in the next place our life takes us.

The First Wave showed us that hackers could build spaces. The Second Wave showed us how to make it sustainable. The Third Wave will ultimately provide us with critical mass, or it’ll peter out. So much effort goes into building these spaces and so much good comes out of them that I believe we must focus on ways of keeping them alive and vital.

Looking at the history of these spaces and the theory behind them is something we can all take part in. Even if you aren’t directly involved in a hackerspace, you can help research old spaces and contribute your findings to the hackerspaces.org wiki. If you have experience with non-profits, write a wiki page on fundraising, or some other aspect you have experience in. If you are involved in a Hackerspace, respond to Far McKon’s Hackerspace organization questions, join the Hackerspaces discussion list and jump on the upcoming call-in!

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