Sweden: More than ever, the land of internet freedom

Nouvel Observateur/Worldcrunch: “This is happening right now in Homs, Syria…” Hans Eriksson shows a shaky video of column of smoke just after a bombing from Bashar al-Assad’s troops.

Bambuser is the name of the service launched by this 44-year-old Swede, which allows any smartphone user to broadcast live what’s happening in front of him – without any censorship. The service is a precious resource for Arab Spring protesters.

“In these countries where information is – or was – under heavy surveillance, it is crucial to be able to show the details of the repression. The world needs to know,” says Eriksson. His service is used by CNN, the BBC and Al-Jazeera.

From 5,000 to 10,000 raw, unedited videos are uploaded every day by this 12-person start-up. Bambuser is the latest symbol of Sweden’s fight for freedom of speech on the Internet.

Three years ago, the country decided to take a stand for the promotion of freedom on the Internet. Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt launched a dialogue with companies on Internet freedom. He was soon followed by Hillary Clinton, who made an acclaimed speech on Internet freedom in 2010.

“Freedom of expression has always been a cornerstone of the Swedish government, we just extended it to the Internet,” says Ministry of Foreign Affairs Special Adviser Johan Hallenborg. “The freedom to say what we want on the Internet or anywhere else is a human right.” [Continue reading...]

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Julian Assange loses extradition battle

The Guardian reports:

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault. Assange will appeal, his legal team has confirmed. If they lose he will be sent to Sweden in 10 days.

Speaking outside Belmarsh magistrates court in south-east London after the judgment, Assange attacked the European arrest warrant system.

He dismissed the decision to extradite him as a “rubber-stamping process”. He said: “It comes as no surprise but is nevertheless wrong. It comes as the result of a European arrest warrant system amok.”

There had been no consideration of the allegations against him, Assange said. His extradition would thrust him into a legal system he did not understand using a language he did not speak.

Assange said the US government by its own admission had been waiting to see the British court verdict before determining what action it could take against him.

Glenn Greenwald on the Assange extradition ruling, the jailing of Bradley Manning, and the campaign to target WikiLeaks supporters

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