The Stockholm Internet Forum has closed and this year has been one of the most controversial editions so far, because a few people ended up on the conference’s black list, including Edward Snowden and mostly anyone related to the NSA scandal, as well as WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks has stepped out and defended the NSA whistleblower, slamming the Swedish organizers for being US lapdogs, RT reports.
“How can you exclude WikiLeaks? How can you exclude Edward Snowden? How can you exclude discussing the explosive revelations by these important whistleblowers that have stepped forward in the last few years, totally changing the entire perception of the Internet and raising serious questions of the future of the Internet? If you want to discuss Internet freedom you have to have these elements there,” said WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson.
This year’s topic for the Stockholm Internet Forum was “Internet – privacy, transparency, surveillance and control,” which means that it makes absolutely no sense for an individual such as Snowden to be banned from the event, even if the only way he could have participated was remotely via video conference.
Aside from WikiLeaks and Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald who broke the NSA story and hacker turned journalist Jacob Appelbaum were also on the list, causing quite a stir on Twitter. “I have been silenced this year from attending #SIF14 in person as have others. This is the result of speaking out against mass surveillance,” Applebaum wrote on his Twitter account.
The Swedish foreign minister has stated that “freedom and openness” are key concepts, but that doesn’t seem to apply to everyone and anyone, especially if they have a strong connection to the entire NSA scandal.
The forum is sponsored by the Foreign Ministry of Sweden and Carl Bildt, foreign minister. “We have known ever since 2011-2012 that they were not interest to have any elements there critical to the US government and the activities of the US agencies. We were blacklisted – I mean WikiLeaks and people associated with WikiLeaks – back in 2012,” said Hrafnsson, the WikiLeaks spokesperson.
While the authorities have denied there’s a blacklist for the event, it seems like it would be too much of a coincidence that all those related to the Snowden scandal and Snowden himself were not invited to the forum, especially since they’ve been to most important conferences about Internet security and other related topics.