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Without Registration, Swedish Law Does Not Protect Wikileaks Sources 86

Posted by timothy
from the nice-rule-y'got-there dept.
An anonymous reader writes with word that Wikileaks, which currently stores a lot of their material on servers in Sweden, may not be as safe there as once believed. From the above linked article (from April): "Wikileaks is benefiting form Sweden's basic law 'Grundlag' on the freedom of print information, because it also guarantees the anonymity of sources in digital media, say sources at the European Parliament. In Sweden, if a website registers with the public authorities and can prove it has an editor-in-chief, then it can also be protected under the law, argues the parliamentary source." Says the anonymous submtter, "However, it seems Wikileaks never registered with the public authorities (article in Swedish; here it is auto-translated to English), and thus is not protected by the freedom of print information basic law even if they do have an editor-in-chief."
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Without Registration, Swedish Law Does Not Protect Wikileaks Sources

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  • So register (Score:4, Funny)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:33AM (#33173356) Homepage

    What is the problem? Do they get no retroactive protection?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jopsen (885607)
      I would guess that the law also says that the editor in chief is responsible for the content published...
    • by jmerlin (1010641)
      "You must register with the authorities to qualify for anonymity." No.... it can't be.. they must be fucking with us. In order to get anonymity, you must forfeit anonymity? I give up hoping that there's a single sane law maker on this planet.
      • Re:So register (Score:4, Informative)

        by Zironic (1112127) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @12:42PM (#33174242)

        No, you have to register with the authorities to be considered a Newspaper. Once you're qualified as a newspaper your sources are protected by law making it illegal for the government to investigate them. Obviously the newspaper itself can't be anonymous, but their sources can be.

        • by RockDoctor (15477)

          Obviously the newspaper itself can't be anonymous, but their sources can be.

          Hmmm, I see that "Obviously" and I think to myself "Is that obvious? Just what is it about a "newspaper" that precludes anonymity of publisher?"

          • IF your publication takes and charges for advertising, then you probably need to let anonymity slip a little to get paid. But note the initial "IF".
          • Probably the same point if you pay your journalists/ typesetters/ copy-editors, etc.
          • Consumable suppliers too. Obviously all links in the chain
          • by Zironic (1112127)

            The reason it can't be anonymous is because to grant it the freedom of the press (which goes above and beyond the normal freedom of speech) it needs to have an official editor that's legally responsible when it oversteps those freedoms(for instance when it libels someone).

            • by RockDoctor (15477)

              The reason it can't be anonymous is because to grant it the freedom of the press (which goes above and beyond the normal freedom of speech) it needs to have an official editor that's legally responsible when it oversteps those freedoms(for instance when it libels someone).

              Maybe in your jurisdiction. But unless your government is in the habit of invading or nuking other sovereign nations over legal disputes, then your government's jurisdiction ends at your government's borders.

              Which is precisely Assuagues (h

              • by Zironic (1112127)

                My jurisdiction happens to be the country that Wikileaks is located in, remember?

                • by RockDoctor (15477)

                  My jurisdiction happens to be the country that Wikileaks is located in, remember?

                  Hmm, no, I'd missed that point, or forgotten it.

                  So, you're in the country where the Wikileaks domains are registered (America, probably, for some of them at least)? Or the country where the legal entity is registered (Sweden, wasn't it?). Or the country where the keys for the Tor core service are located (probably neither of the above, and probably changes irregularly and unpredictably)? Or the countries where the Tor servers a

                  • by Zironic (1112127)

                    Sweden yes. The point here is that if you register, then the police can't legally track your sources down, they can't even begin an investigation, and you're not legally allowed to disclose your sources without the sources consent either. If you don't register, you might be able to hide behind Tor nodes or what not, but it's a gamble.

      • Re:So register (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @01:06PM (#33174390)

        Please let me clarify.

        If you become a registered publisher in Sweden all your sources anynomity are protected by the law. Your anynomity is however not.
        The interesting part about Swedens laws about protecting sources is that it is illegal for the publisher to tell who his sources is so the source will not need to trust the publisher completely. It is also illegal to ask the publisher about his sources so the police, government or anyone who want to track the source cannot do so through the publisher.
        The law is made to protect the sources, not to protect the middlemen. (There are other laws for that.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Zerth (26112)

          If you become a registered publisher in Sweden all your sources anynomity are protected by the law. Your anynomity is however not.

          So you have to register as the editor of two newspapers and have each be the other's source. Then you'll disappear in a puff of recursive logic!

          Hrm, I think I should stay away from zebra crossings for awhile.

  • by Nichotin (794369) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:37AM (#33173376)

    Sweden's stringent whistleblower laws are protecting the anonymity of sources that have been feeding the controversial Wikileaks website with sensitive government and corporate information, according to Swedish political sources.

    I thought their process of submitting leaks to Wikileaks provided the source with anonymity anyway, so that even if they were forced to give up their sources they would not have the information at all.

    • I suppose it'll come down to Sweden protecting the journalist when it has extradition treaties with other countries who are demanding Julian's head on a platter, errr, I mean a trial for embarrassing those other governments (by revealing the truth of their actions).

      Of course, 'protection' is a weird term because really Sweden would only be protecting Julian (or whomever) from Sweden, because it's not likely that those third parties would stage a military kidnapping.

      It's weird that in Sweden you have to fill

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's weird that in Sweden you have to fill out paperwork to apply for protection of human rights (free speech isn't free under the cloud of kidnapping).

        You don't have to fill out paperwork to protect human rights in Sweden. Freedom of speech for ordinary people is even "more free" then in USA, with no paperwork what so ever. With a publishing license the journalistic freedom is a hell of a lot more free then in USA. Without a publishing license it is still a bit better then in USA.

        A journalistic outlet that is registered can't be asked to reveil its sources of information, even if an informant broke the law to get the information or by reveiling the infor

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:41AM (#33173398)

    WL exists because the sources are anonymous, not because the sources are protected by law. Registration is just a way to denote a person who takes the blame instead of the source. It doesn't relieve the publication from blame, it shifts it. That's not the point of WL. The concept behind Wikileaks isn't journalism, it's making raw information available. It's in the name, you know? If Wikileaks were to be taken offline by any country, servers in other countries are ready to replace them. If push comes to shove, there's Freenet.

    • The sources aren't protected by law (and can't be) because the sources are far outside Swedish jurisdiction in any case. Swedish law cannot prevent the US military from prosecuting Bradley Manning for publishing documents. What the Swedish law is supposed to protect is their anonymity, by preventing an organization or the government from legally ordering Wikileaks to reveal the source (which doesn't help if the source is discovered independently, anyway).

      Of course, if a source manages to contact Wikileaks w

    • by ashkar (319969)

      As much as I respect Wikileaks and what they do, I would argue your point based on their yellow journalism exhibited with the "Collateral Murder" headline and heavily edited presentation. That is a very sore spot with me. I don't see anything wrong with the highlights that they are using to present the latest leaks as they are just that, highlights, but Wikileaks should have been a lot more responsible with the release of the Apache video. If they want to make "raw information available", that's what they s

      • by Pastis (145655)

        Isn't that's what they are doing right now ? They give the raw sources. The only thing they seem to be doing with the telegrams is rendering them anonymous. The journalism part was outsourced to the 3 main newspapers.

  • "Grundlag" (Score:5, Informative)

    by dsavi (1540343) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @10:55AM (#33173496) Homepage
    It literally means Sweden's constitution.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wikipedia article: Constitution of Sweden [wikipedia.org]

      The relevant law in this case is probably the Freedom of the Press Act. I am not a Swedish lawyer, thought.

      • by hpa (7948)

        Actually, it's the combination of Freedom of The Press Act (which covers print media only), and the Fundamental Law of Freedom of Expression, which covers all other media. The reason for print media being treated separately is historical.

    • Re:"Grundlag" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by arth1 (260657) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @12:35PM (#33174188) Homepage Journal

      It literally means Sweden's constitution.

      No, it literally means "ground law". It actually is the constitution.

      I don't normally bother pointing out the difference between literally and actually, but when "literally" is used when explaining what a word means, some precision is required.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        wrong it literally translates to "foundation law" not "ground law"

        • Re:"Grundlag" (Score:4, Informative)

          by arth1 (260657) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @01:17PM (#33174456) Homepage Journal

          Och hur vet du det?

          Your apparent belief that "ground" doesn't mean "foundation" or "base" like "grund" does in Swedish, and that you thus have to use "foundation" is... groundless.

          "Foundation law" is stilted. We say "ground rules", and "ground law" follows the same semantics.

          That "ground" also shares the same etymology as "grund" makes it an even better literal translation.

          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Your apparent belief that "ground" doesn't mean "foundation" or "base" like "grund" does in Swedish, and that you thus have to use "foundation" is... groundless.

            Are you trying to say that his belief is without foundation?

      • I'm just wondering, does this "ground law" also have poor latency? I mean, I can understand, being that it's been around since before modern networking technology.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Chucky_M (1708842)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hazelfield (1557317)
      You have to notice though, that there's a difference between the American constitution and the Swedish Grundlag in that the Swedish one doesn't enjoy the protection of a Supreme Court. In the U.S., proposed legislation can get struck down by the Supreme Court if found unconstitutional. In Sweden there is Lagrådet with a similar function, except it doesn't have the ability to overrule the Riksdag (the parliament that writes the laws). It can only issue recommendations to the Riksdag, who may very well d
  • Original source (Score:4, Informative)

    by akanouras (1431981) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @11:16AM (#33173630)

    Original source [sydsvenskan.se]

    Fucking rumour starters at it once more.

  • freedom... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Freedom is having same without needing to "register with the civic authorities".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    www.wikileaks.com has OLDER news than wikileaks.org

    Why is that? Why 2 different sites for 2 different domains? I thought they pointed to the same news?

  • WikiLeaks Denies (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 07, 2010 @11:46AM (#33173812)

    http://twitter.com/wikileaks/statuses/20558340142

    I really know little about the matter, but I thought it was worth pointing out that WikiLeaks is refuting this claim.

    CAPTCHA was "spinners".

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I wonder who all has access to that Twitter account? I'm betting it is Julian Assange and Julian Assange alone who can post on that account, and of course he would refute the claim because if the claim proves to be true then Sweden is no longer a safe place for him.

      • It's not that it makes it safe for him, it would merely make it safe for wikileaks sources.
        but wikileaks intentionally sets it up so that they cannot identify their sources even if they want to.

  • by Cothol (460219) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @12:06PM (#33173986)

    Another Swedish newspaper (Sydsvenskan) has a well written article in english here [sydsvenskan.se]

  • FUD (Score:3, Informative)

    by dcollins (135727) on Saturday August 07, 2010 @12:25PM (#33174134) Homepage

    "An anonymous reader writes with word that Wikileaks..."

    Sounds like FUD.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ToasterMonkey (467067)

      "An anonymous reader writes with word that Wikileaks..."

      Sounds like FUD.

      Right, how can we trust this isn't disingenuous propaganda if we don't know who they are or at least some context?
      Mr anonymous should post this info to WikiLeaks so we know it's accurate, THEN we can discuss what to think of it on enlightening Internet forums like this one. /sarcasm

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kidbro (80868)

      Perhaps. But the story has been covered by every major Swedish newspaper the last few days.

      Svenska Dagbladet [www.svd.se]
      Dagens Nyheter [www.dn.se]
      Göteborgsposten [www.gp.se]
      Sydsvenskan [sydsvenskan.se]

      It's the Chancellor of Justice [wikipedia.org] that is being quoted...

    • Sounds like false logic to me about the registration of an editor in chief. i.e. (A => B) does not imply (not A => not B). In this case A = "a website registers with the public authorities and can prove it has an editor-in-chief" and B = "it can also be protected under the law". There could be many other reasons why Wikileaks can be protected under Swedish law. Furthermore, if there is no law against it, then it is legal, could be another reason why Wikileaks _may_ not be in trouble as the summary imp
  • Election (Score:2, Insightful)

    by foods (1524953)
    Sweden is having an election to the parliament in september. My guess is that there will be no action on the Wikileaks server before that. The ruling parties would lose lots of votes if that happened. That is actually what happened with the Pirate Bay police action. A lot of Swedes thought it was pressure from American politicians that lead up to the action, which led to the Pirate Party's success in the election of the European Parliament.

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