Privacy is not terrorism

On Tuesday 16th December, a large police operation took place in the Spanish State. Fourteen houses and social centres were raided in Barcelona, Sabadell, Manresa and Madrid; books, leaflets and IT material were seized; and eleven people were arrested and sent to the Audiència Nacional, a special court handling issues of “national interest”, in Madrid. They are accused of incorporation, promotion, management and membership of a terrorist organisation. However, lawyers for the defence denounce a lack of transparency, saying that their clients have had to make statements without knowing what they are accused of [2]. “[They] speak of terrorism without specifying concrete criminal acts, or concrete individualised facts attributed to each of them.” [1] When challenged on this, Judge Bermúdez responded: “I am not investigating specific acts, I am investigating the organization, and the threat they might pose in the future” [1]; making this yet another case of apparently preventative arrests. Four of the detainees have been released, but the remaining 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 server RISE UP.”[2]

There were several cases in the last decade where people were accused because of “conspiratorial behaviour”. In Germany, in 2007, 4 people were arrested. One of them because he met with another suspect twice more than in the previous five months, leaving mobile phones at home for some meetings, and so on. [3]
Nearly the same thing happened in Austria in 2008 when 13 people were arrested. One reason was: they were using encrypted e-mail.
In both cases and in several others this kind of “conspiratorial behaviour” has been used as a reason to keep people in jail during the investigation period. In the eyes of investigators, every meeting/email/phonecall of which the contents are not known, is “conspiratorial.” The legitimate protection of the private sphere is criminalised and – in the eyes of state prosecutors – constitutes proof of terrorist organisation.

We are appalled that the use of our services – and privacy measures in general – is considered tantamount to terrorism. No one is a terrorist because of protecting ones privacy. In a world where our every move is monitored by state and corporate interests, the use of encryption is an essential self-defense towards maintaining personal integrity. As such, every email provider should enable “extreme security measures”. We as hosting provider commit ourselves to protecting the data of our users in every way possible for us. We will not sell or hand out the data of our users. The state may thus think of us as supporting terrorism, but the only terror we see connecting the aforementioned cases is that of arbitrary repression aimed at those who do not want to voluntarily expose their private lives.