Moves to shield whistleblower site from pressure over its decision to release some 76,000 classified US documents concerning the war in Afghanistan, as well as strengthen its ability to disclose controversial material in the future.
The Swedish Pirate Party continues to make waves with news that it signed an agreement to begin hosting whistleblower site WikiLeaks servers.
“The contribution of WikiLeaks is tremendously important to the entire world,” says Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party, in a statement. “We desire to contribute to any effort that increases transparency and accountability of power in the world.”
The Pirate Party will begin providing free bandwidth to the site much as it has already done for Swedish BitTorrent tracker site The Pirate Bay.
“This is one of our signatures,” adds Falkvinge. “We don’t just talk. We act. Using our own resources and time, we help change the world rather than pass the buck, commission reports, and avoid responsibility like other politicians.”
WikiLeaks has been at the center of a media firestorm over the past few weeks for its decision to release some 76,000 classified US documents concerning the war in Afghanistan.
“We welcome the help provided by the Pirate Party,” says Julian Assange, spokesperson for WikiLeaks. “Our organisations share many values and I am looking forward to future ways we can help each other improve the world.”
It claims to have another 15,000, “more sensitive,” documents to release in the coming weeks once it has a chance to vet them and remove names of Afghans assisting coalition troops, something it failed to do the first time around and for which it was rightly criticized by a number of leading human rights organizations.
The Pirate Party, by hosting WikiLeaks, hopes to provide it a safe haven much as it’s done for The Pirate Bay.
“We hope that the new Parliament will give serious consideration to further strengthening Sweden’s press protection legislation,” says Assange. “Western democracies are not always as free as one might think, and freedom of the press needs constant vigilance. In particular, we would welcome Sweden copying Iceland’s Modern Media Initiative, something that the Pirate Party also desires.”
Assange also says that he sees “more opportunities down the road” in which WikiLeaks and The Pirate Party can cooperate with one another. What this means is unclear.
The Pirate Party, for its part, knows that by hosting WikiLeaks servers the threshold for the confiscation is much, much higher.
“If the servers are placed at an ordinary web hotel the threshold is of course already high when it comes to making a raid and removing them,” says Anna Troberg (PP), deputy leader of the Pirate Party. “But the political price for touching the servers of a political party is even higher. So we can offer them some added protection, of which they are in great need.”
Some have also argued that WikiLeaks lacks the publishing certificate needed for full press freedom protection in Sweden. Now that The Pirate Party is hosting WikiLeaks the matter is no longer of concern.