from the making-Franco-proud dept
After a series of moves that include introducing copyright laws that threaten the digital commons and open access, as well as criminalizing online calls for street demonstrations, Spain is fast emerging as a serious rival to Russia when it comes to grinding down the digital world. Unfortunately, it seems that lack of understanding extends to the judiciary too, as shown by recent events reported by Rise Up, an "autonomous body based in Seattle", which aims to provide secure and private email accounts for "people and groups working on liberatory social change". Here's what happened to some of its users in Spain:
On Tuesday December 16th, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centers were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa, and Madrid. Books, leaflets, computers were seized and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiencia Nacional, a special court handling issues of "national interest", in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management, and membership of a terrorist organisation.
The charges are extremely serious, and yet according to the Rise Up post, the accused have not been provided with any details of their alleged terrorist crimes. The judge in the case has, however, given a rather worrying justification for keeping many of them in prison:
Four of the detainees have been released, but seven have been jailed pending trial. The reasons given by the judge for their continued detention include the posession of certain books, "the production of publications and forms of communication", and the fact that the defendants "used emails with extreme security measures, such as the RISE UP server".
That is, merely trying to keep your email secure is now viewed in Spain as evidence that you are a terrorist. As the post points out:
Many of the “extreme security measures” used by Riseup are common best practices for online security and are also used by providers such as hotmail, GMail or Facebook.
The European Parliament’s report on the US NSA surveillance program states that "privacy is not a luxury right, but the foundation stone of a free and democratic society".
But in Spain, it seems, daring to lay down that "foundation stone of a free and democratic society" (pdf) is now taken as evidence of terrorist tendencies. The country's long-time dictator, "El Generalíssimo" Franco, would doubtless have been proud of his successors.