La ley de vigilancia extranjera del gobierno de Estados Unidos es tan secreta que ni siquiera un proveedor de servicios que impugna una orden emitida por una corte secreta tiene acceso a ella.
Ese episodio kafkiano - negarle a una de las partes el acceso a la ley que se está utilizando en su contra - se hizo público esta semana en un dictamen FISC que obtuvo EFF como parte de un juicio FOIA que presentamos en 2016.
La opinión [.pdf] muestra que en 2014, el Tribunal de Vigilancia de Inteligencia Extranjera (FISC) rechazó la solicitud de un proveedor de servicios para obtener otros dictámenes del FISC que los abogados del gobierno habían citado y se basó en las solicitudes de los tribunales para obligar a la cooperación del proveedor.
La decisión estaba relacionada con el desafío – finalmente fallido – de parte del proveedor a una directiva de vigilancia que recibió bajo la Sección 702, la autoridad de vigilancia sin garantías que expirará este año.
La decisión es sorprendente porque demuestra cómo el secreto pone en peligro uno de los principios más fundamentales de nuestro sistema legal: todos llegan a conocer aquello que es la ley. Aparentemente, ese principio no se extiende al FISC.
La solicitud del proveedor surgió en medio de un informe legal por parte de él y el DOJ sobre su impugnación de una orden 702. Después de que el Departamento de Justicia citó dos dictámenes anteriores del FISC que no eran públicos en ese momento, uno de 2014 y otro de 2008, el proveedor solicitó al tribunal el acceso a esas resoluciones.
El proveedor sostuvo que sin poder revisar las decisiones anteriores del FISC, no podía entender completamente las decisiones anteriores del tribunal, y mucho menos responder eficazmente al argumento del DOJ. El proveedor también argumentó que debido a que estaban representados por abogados con permisos de seguridad de rango Top Secret, podían revisar las sentencias sin plantear un riesgo a la seguridad nacional.
El tribunal discrepó en varios aspectos. Encontró que las reglas del tribunal y la Sección 702 prohibían la liberación de los documentos. También rechazó la afirmación del proveedor de que la Cláusula de Debido Proceso de la Constitución lo autorizaba a acceder a los documentos.
El dictamen afirma: "Más allá de lo que obliga la cláusula del debido proceso, la Corte está convencida de que la omisión de las opiniones solicitadas no viola la equidad del sentido común". Esto es debido a que la Corte creyó que el Departamento de Justicia había representado con precisión las decisiones en su Escritos legales y no inducian a error al proveedor sobre estipulado en esas sentencias.
El tribunal también dijo que incluso si las opiniones fueran publicadas, "sería de poca ayuda, si es que alguna" a los méritos de los argumentos del proveedor.
A pesar de la opinión de la corte, no existe nada justo en ocultar importantes casos legales - que probablemente interpretaron o crearon leyes – a una de las partes de una disputa legal.
La decisión de la corte se asemeja a permitir que una de las partes lea y cite un caso del Tribunal Supremo mientras que prohíbe a la otra parte hacer lo mismo. Desfavorece fundamentalmente a una de las partes de una lucha legal, además de negarle el acceso al caso para asegurarse de que la parte con conocimientos está representando con precisión la decisión.
En el caso del proveedor, la baraja siempre estaba apilada en contra de su capacidad de desafiar la orden 702. Tradicionalmente, el FISC sólo escucha una de las partes -el Poder Ejecutivo- y generalmente es comprensivo con los reclamos de seguridad nacional.
Aunque los cambios recientes en el FISC como resultado de la Ley de Libertad de los Estados Unidos están en la dirección correcta, incluyendo la capacidad de las partes externas de argumentar ante el tribunal, el Departamento de Justicia todavía tiene muchas ventajas.
En el caso del proveedor, la carta de triunfo era que los abogados del DOJ tenían que leer y confiar en casos que el proveedor nunca llegó a ver.
Ciertamente, este resultado injusto no es enteramente culpa del FISC. Como señala el fallo, el Congreso ha proporcionado pocos, o ningún, recurso a una de las parte que está impugnando órdenes secretas de vigilancia para poder obtener documentos y resoluciones del FISC que sean directamente relevantes para su caso.
Con la Sección 702 a punto de desaparecer este año, el Congreso debe reconocer que el sistema judicial que estableció para aprobar órdenes de vigilancia y escuchar desafíos a esas órdenes se parece muy poco a nuestro sistema de justicia más amplio. Esta inequidad corrompe nuestros principios democráticos fundamentales y es otra razón por la que el Congreso debe terminar con la Sección 702.
The U.S. government’s foreign surveillance law is so secretive that not even a service provider challenging an order issued by a secret court got to access it.
That Kafkaesque episode—denying a party access to the law being used against it—was made public this week in a FISC opinion EFF obtained as part of a FOIA lawsuit we filed in 2016.
The opinion [.pdf] shows that in 2014, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rejected a service provider’s request to obtain other FISC opinions that government attorneys had cited and relied on in court filings seeking to compel the provider’s cooperation.
The decision was related to the provider’s ultimately unsuccessful challenge to a surveillance directive it received under Section 702, the warrantless surveillance authority that is set to expire this year.
The decision is startling because it demonstrates how secrecy jeopardizes one of the most fundamental principles of our justice system: everyone gets to know what the law is. Apparently, that principle doesn’t extend to the FISC.
The provider’s request came up amid legal briefing by both it and the DOJ concerning its challenge to a 702 order. After the DOJ cited two earlier FISC opinions that were not public at the time—one from 2014 and another from 2008—the provider asked the court for access to those rulings.
The provider argued that without being able to review the previous FISC rulings, it could not fully understand the court’s earlier decisions, much less effectively respond to DOJ’s argument. The provider also argued that because attorneys with Top Secret security clearances represented it, they could review the rulings without posing a risk to national security.
The court disagreed in several respects. It found that the court’s rules and Section 702 prohibited the documents’ release. It also rejected the provider’s claim that the Constitution’s Due Process Clause entitled it to the documents.
The opinion goes on: “Beyond what is compelled by the Due Process Clause, the Court is satisfied that withholding the Requested Opinions does not violate common-sense fairness.” This was because the Court believed that the DOJ had accurately represented the rulings in its legal briefs and did not mislead the provider about what those rulings said.
The court also said that even if the opinions were released, they “would be of little, if any assistance” to the merits of the provider’s arguments.
The court’s opinion notwithstanding, there is nothing fair about withholding important legal cases—which likely interpreted or created law—from one side in a legal dispute.
The court’s decision is akin to allowing one party to read and cite to a Supreme Court case while prohibiting the other side from doing the same. It fundamentally disadvantages one side in a legal fight, on top of denying it access to the case to ensure that the party in the know is accurately representing the ruling.
In the case of the provider, the deck was always stacked against its ability to challenge the 702 order. The FISC traditionally only hears from one party—the Executive Branch—and is usually sympathetic to claims of national security.
Although recent changes to the FISC as a result of USA Freedom Act have moved in the right direction, including the ability for outside parties to argue before the court, the DOJ still has many advantages.
In the case of the provider, the trump card was that the DOJ’s lawyers got to read and rely on cases that the provider never got to see.
To be sure, the unjust result is not entirely the fault of the FISC. As the ruling points out, Congress has provided little to no recourse for a party challenging secret surveillance orders to be able to obtain documents and FISC rulings that are directly relevant to its case.
With Section 702 due to sunset this year, Congress should recognize that the court system it set up to approve surveillance orders and hear challenges to those orders bears little resemblance to our broader justice system. This inequity corrupts our fundamental democratic principles and is yet another reason Congress must end Section 702.
On June 1, people from across the San Francisco Bay Area gathered for EFF's inaugural Tech Trivia Night under the watchful eye of quizmaster and Staff Technologist Cooper Quintin a.k.a. The Cybertiger. Following in the footsteps of EFF's popular Cyberlaw Trivia Night, now in its tenth year, this pub-style quiz featured a challenging array of questions geared toward developers, security engineers, and fans of obscure geek knowledge.
EFF's Cooper Quintin hosting the Famous Passwords round. 🐯
EFF organized the evening's gantlet of questions in six rounds: Bastard Operator from Hell, Rodentia, Famous Passwords, Name that Vuln, Cyber Cyber Cyber, and General Geekery. Trivia called upon a wide range of knowledge that stumped even some of the biggest of brainiacs. For example, the Rodentia Round (named for its rodent theme) included the question: What hypertext protocol created at the University of Minnesota has been assigned TCP port 70 by IANA?* This year's event even included questions about some famous cats of the Internet for good measure.
Senior Staff Technologist Jeremy Gillula, Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker, and Staff Technologist Erica Portnoy preside with the Gavel of Justice.
The twelve teams competed valiantly, but in the end it was a band of digital rights do-gooders known as The Labcoats who reigned supreme, receiving the First Place Tech Trivia Cup and an EFF swag superpack. Second Place honors went to Randos in the Light followed closely by Riven Mirror. Congratulations to the esteemed winners!
First Place Winners: The Labcoats
EFF would like to express our gratitude to Tech Trivia Night’s sponsors for helping make the first Tech Trivia Night a success. Many thanks to Facebook, Gandi, and Sonic! If you or your company are interested in supporting a future EFF event, please contact Nicole Puller. We can't wait to do it again.
EFF's sincere appreciation goes out to of the participants who joined us for a great quiz over dinner and drinks while never losing sight of our mission to drive the online rights movement forward. We salute the digital freedom supporters around the world who have helped ensure that EFF can continue working in the courts and with policymakers, activists, technologists, and the public to protect online privacy and free expression.
June 15, 2017 is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Espionage Act. Earlier this year, as if to commemorate the centennial, President Trump suggested to then-FBI Director James Comey that he extend the Act into new territory—that he use it to prosecute journalists.
Unfortunately, there is little in the language of the law itself that would limit the application of the Espionage Act’s nondisclosure and possession prohibitions to journalists who did not themselves remove the documents from the control of the government. By their terms, two key sections of the Act seem to threaten criminal liability for journalists who shed light on government secrets. 18 U.S.C. § 793(e), for instance, broadly criminalizes the following:
Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over . . . information relating to the national defense, which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, [or] transmits . . . the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it;
A related provision, 18 U.S.C. § 798, reaches anyone “who knowingly and willfully communicates . . . or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States” certain classified information.
These provisions have no express exception for journalists reporting on issues of public concern—and no implied shield has emerged from the handful of precedents handed down over the last century. The Supreme Court brushed up against the question for the first and only time in New York Times Co. v. United States, the federal government’s effort to block the publication of the Pentagon Papers. While the court’s brief per curiam opinion didn’t touch the issue, several justices wrote separately to suggest that the Justice Department could still prosecute the reporters responsible for the story after it made the front page.
Why have no such prosecutions followed? In part, probably, because the law is unclear, shot through with undefined terms that courts rarely see an opportunity to interpret. Justice Harlan called the Espionage Act “a singularly opaque statute” in his dissent from New York Times Co.; Professors Harold Edgar and Benno Schmidt, in a 1986 law review article, went so far as to call the statute “incomprehensible if read according to the conventions of legal analysis of text, while paying fair attention to legislative history.” There’s no guarantee that the prosecution of a journalist under the Act would succeed—and from the government’s perspective, a loss would undermine the coercive value of threatening prosecution to protect secret surveillance programs.
There are at least two compelling (but untested) legal arguments that would complicate any effort to prosecute a reporter who relied on leaked documents in that kind of case. In New York Times Co., the lower court thought—and Justice Douglas agreed—that the word “communicates” in § 793(e)’s was never intended to include publication by the media. That question is still an open one. What’s more, at least some Espionage Act precedents suggest that “reason to believe [the leaked information] could be used to the injury of the United States” is a stiff requirement, one that it’s hard to imagine would be satisfied in the case of public reporting. In United States v. Rosen, for instance, the district court for the Eastern District of Virginia insisted that that language “requires the government to demonstrate the likelihood of the defendant’s bad faith purpose to either harm the United States or to aid a foreign government.” In other words, it’s not enough to publish sensitive information that a news organization knows might harm national security; harming U.S. national security needs to be the point of publishing.
In essence, for decades, journalists have been protected against prosecution under the Espionage Act by an informal truce, not a battery of legal arguments.
The application of the disclosure provisions of the Espionage Act to third party recipients and republishers of government materials is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Bartnicki v. Vopper, a 2001 case in which the Supreme Court afforded near absolute protection to the republication of information pertaining to matters of public interest that the republisher legally acquired even if their source illegally acquired and transmitted it to them. But the interaction of the Bartnicki doctrine and the Espionage Act has never been tested.
In essence, for decades, journalists have been protected against prosecution under the Espionage Act by an informal truce, not a battery of legal arguments. As Justice White noted—disapprovingly—in New York Times Co., a legal carve-out for reporters would “conform with the past practice of using the statute only to prosecute those charged with ordinary espionage.” Or as David Pozen described the government’s approach to leak prosecutions in The Leaky Leviathan,“In formal terms this legal regime looks forbidding, draconian. In practical terms, as a frustrated intelligence professional once put it, the system amounts to ‘permissive neglect.’”
That norm may be on the brink of changing. In 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder promised, “As long as I am attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to make the same basic commitment at his confirmation hearings earlier this year. For better or worse, the Trump Administration may finally test the Espionage Act’s sweeping, ambiguous language against reporters’ core First Amendment rights.
With that test looming and with the 100th birthday of the law upon us, it’s clear that the Espionage Act needs to be reformed. Sign our petition calling for changes to this overly broad and outdated law.
One hundred years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Espionage Act into law, and since then it has been used to criminalize the disclosure of national defense and classified information.
At the turn of the 20th century, anti-immigrant, xenophobic sentiments dominated national rhetoric and was consequently reflected in the legislation crafted. On September 25, 1919, the 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson gave his final address in support of the League of Nations in Pueblo, CO and in his speech, he spoke of American immigrants with hyphenated nationalities: “Any man who carries a hyphen around with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.” Wilson specifically targeted Irish-Americans and German-Americans, whom he perceived to be disloyal immigrants and potential spies. In fact, many state governments banned the teaching of German in schools, since it was “a language that disseminates the ideas of autocracy, brutality, and hatred.” The nativism movement continued to grow from the “Know-Nothing” party to the Palmer raids as concerns about espionage and disloyalty swirled.
Thus, the Espionage Act was born against the backdrop of World War I and amidst fears of subversion of American democracy. Its primary purpose was to deal with avoidance of the draft, sabotage of state activities, and espionage. But its subsequent interpretations led to the punishment of socialists, pacifists, and other anti-war activists. Most infamously during this period, former Presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a 1918 speech, denouncing the Espionage Act of 1917. The Supreme Court upheld his sentence, which was eventually commuted post-World War I.
The Espionage Act was further modified by the Sedition Act of 1918 but those amendments were ultimately overturned on March 3, 1921, when World War I ended. The Sedition Act sought to criminalize statements during the war that were “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive…about the form of government of the United States.” Those found in violation of the rules set forth in the act were subject to a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Tested in Court
The constitutionality of the Espionage Act as a basis for punishing speech was tested in the landmark case, Schenck v. United States (1919), which concluded that First Amendment did not bar Schenck’s prosecution. The appellant Charles Schenck had mailed anti-draft letters to draftees, which read “Do not submit to intimidation.” The Supreme Court held that Schenck’s words were not protected by the First Amendment and was guilty of violating the Espionage Act of 1917.
A week after Schenck, the Court unanimously reaffirmed and reasserted its decision in another case, Frohwerk v. United States (1919). Jacob Frohwerk wrote twelve editorials for the Missouri Staats-Zeitung in 1915, which denounced the United States’ involvement in World War I. The Supreme Court upheld the Espionage Act of 1917’s constitutionality. Justice Holmes again argued that the First Amendment does not “give immunity for every possible use of language.” Along with Debs v. United States (1919), the rulings emphasized the superseding nature of the Espionage Act of 1917 over any First Amendment claim during this time. (These First Amendment holdings were ultimately displaced by the far-more-speech-protective modern incitement doctrine finalized in Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969.)
The Espionage Act resurged as a tool used to root out communist influences in American society during the 1940s and 1950s. The Red Scare, led in particular by Senator Joe McCarthy and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, employed the Espionage Act to suppress the opinions of left-wing political figures. Indeed, it was the basis of the convictions that led to the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
In addition to conventional spying, however, the Espionage Act has also been used to prosecute those who delivered confidential governmental information not to foreign governments, but to the press. Whistleblowers charged with violating the Espionage Act include Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, WikiLeaks contributor Chelsea Manning, and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Now there are threats that it may be used against the groups that publish that information.
Sign our petition and tell U.S. policymakers that it's long past time to reform this speech-chilling law.
The federal law that is commonly used to prosecute leakers marks its 100th birthday on June 15,2017.
Signed into law on June 15, 1917, the Espionage Act 18 U.S.C. § 792 et seq., was Congress’s response to a fear that public criticism of U.S. participation in World War I would impede the conscript of soldiers to support the war effort and concerns about U.S. citizens undermining the war effort by spying for foreign governments. Although some parts of the law were repealed, many remain in effect 100 years later.
To date, however, the United States has never sought to prosecute a journalistic entity under the Espionage Act for either receiving secret government documents from a source or further disseminating the documents themselves or information from them in the course of reporting. There is nothing in the language of the law that prevents its use against a news organization, but it has been unofficially accepted that it should not apply to the press.
So it is alarming that the Justice Department is reportedly taking a serious look at bringing criminal charges against Wikileaks and Julian Assange for disclosing classified information . In so doing, the Trump administration is threatening to step over a never-crossed line – applying the secret documents provisions of the Espionage Act to journalistic practices. The threat is greatly concerning in the context of prosecuting whistleblowers, and, more broadly, preserving a free press.
The threat is greatly concerning in the context of prosecuting whistleblowers, and, more broadly, preserving a free press.
Leaks are a vital part of the free flow of information that is essential to our democracy. And reporting on leaked materials, including reporting on classified information, is an essential role of American journalism. The US Supreme Court, in Bartnicki v. Vopper, recognized that those who lawfully obtain information pertaining to a matter of public interest have a near absolute right to publish it even if their source illegally obtained the information. Prosecuting Wikileaks for its role in this fundamental democratic process will undermine these vital protections.
In sections 793(d), (e) and 798 the Espionage Act criminalizes the unauthorized communication of both certain classified information and information “connected with the national defense.” Section 793(c) also prohibits merely obtaining national defense documents “with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” Whether the principle of Bartnicki v. Vopper would bar a successful prosecution against a news organization under these provisions has never been tested.
A strong defense of Wikileaks is not simply an anti-Trump position. As current events indicate, leaks are non-partisan: those on both sides of the aisle typically embrace leaks that are politically useful and condemn leaks that are politically damaging. President Donald Trump famously praised Wikileaks when disclosures of DNC emails benefitted him. He now threatens to bring the strong arm of the law down on it.
It can be difficult to separate rhetoric from a planned course of action with this administration. But there are strong signs this White House intends to follow through on its bluster.
First, CIA Director Mike Pompeo labeled Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service,” at an April 13, 2017 speech at the Center for Strategic And International Studies. The director then followed up by asserting his “philosophical understanding,” as opposed to a legal conclusion, that Wikileaks and Assange are not exercising First Amendment rights.
About a week later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that his department was “stepping up its efforts” “on all leaks” with the goal being to “put some people in jail.”
President Trump also reportedly urged then-FBI director James Comey to prosecute and imprison journalists who published classified information. Comey’s failure to prioritize this has been cited as the one of the reasons for his firing.
Moreover, the president’s reported initial first choice for FBI director, former Senator Joseph Lieberman, has a history of belligerence against both the news media broadly and Wikileaks in particular. In 2010, Lieberman called for an investigation of the New York Times and other news media for publishing Wikileaks documents, proposed an “anti-Wikileaks Law” that would have criminalized the disclosure of intelligence source names, and pressured Amazon and credit card processors to choke off funding for Wikileaks.
Many of the other threats the president and those speaking on his behalf have made against the news media both during the election and since he took office require legislative action by either Congress or the states. Unlike his threat to “open up the libel laws”—which would require action by 50 state legislatures or otherwise be subject to Congressional oversight—the executive branch can initiate a federal criminal prosecution on its own.
We condemn the threats of prosecution of Wikileaks and call for all to speak out against the them.
One hundred years is long enough to let the threat of prosecution under the Espionage Act cast a shadow over our free speech and press freedom protections. Sign our petition, and tell U.S. lawmakers to reform this outdated and overbroad law.
Hace unas semanas, nos unimos a la comunidad mundial de acceso abierto para celebrar que Diego Gómez finalmente había sido liberado de cargos criminales por compartir investigación científica por Internet sin permiso. Desafortunadamente, la lucha aún no termina. Esta sentencia ha sido apelada ante el Tribunal de Bogotá, un tribunal de apelación colombiano.
La historia de Diego demuestra la urgencia del acceso abierto. Desde que la primera vez que Diego fue llevado a juicio, miles de personas de todo el mundo han firmado una petición exigiendo que la publicación con acceso abierto sea el valor predeterminado para la investigación académica en todo el mundo. Nadie debería arriesgarse a ir a prisión simplemente por compartir una investigación.
Este caso también demuestra los peligros de las severas sanciones penales por infracción de derechos de autor. En este caso, las sanciones en cuestión fueron específicamente promulgadas como parte de un acuerdo comercial con los Estados Unidos. Lamentablemente, los esfuerzos de EE.UU. para exportar sus normas de derechos de autor también puede significar la exportación de efectos escalofriantes sobre la libertad de expresión y la libertad intelectual.
“La decisión de la juez es un paso importante que alínea el derecho penal colombiano con los estándares internacionales donde esta arma se reserva para la lucha contra la piratería. El caso debe ser el detonante de una discusión profunda en el país sobre el sentido y pertinencia del acceso abierto. Hoy celebramos que se hizo justicia en un caso absurdo que pudo sentar un mal precedente para el acceso al conocimiento en Colombia,” Dijo Carolina Botero, directora de la Fundación Karisma, sobre la absolución de Diego.
Desde 2014, la Fundación Karisma ha asesorado a Diego y, junto con varias organizaciones aliadas, lanzó una campaña de crowdfunding para ayudarle en esta nueva etapa del proceso.
El objetivo es recaudar USD $ 40.000 durante 4 semanas de campaña. Con este dinero, Karisma espera cubrir los costos financieros relacionados con el proceso de apelación en nombre de Diego y buscar formas legales para evitar que casos como el de Diego vuelvan a ocurrir. Del mismo modo, la elaboración de un estudio sobre el caso, cuyo objetivo es contar la historia de Diego y mostrar la necesidad de acceso abierto al conocimiento. Por último, esperamos cubrir el alojamiento y transporte de Diego cuando sea necesario, para que pueda participar en el proceso de apelación. Actualmente trabaja en una reserva natural en Costa Rica por lo que viajar es caro.
A few weeks ago, we joined the global open access community in celebrating that Diego Gomez had finally been cleared of criminal charges for sharing scientific research over the Internet without permission. Unfortunately, the fight is not over yet. The ruling has been appealed to the Tribunal de Bogota, a Colombian appellate court.
Diego’s story demonstrates the urgency of open access. Since Diego was first brought to trial, thousands of people all around the globe have signed a petition demanding that open access publishing becomes the default for academic research worldwide. No one should have to risk going to prison simply for sharing research.
This case also demonstrates the dangers of severe criminal penalties for copyright infringement. In this case, the penalties in question were specifically enacted as part of a trade agreement with the United States. Sadly, U.S. efforts to export its copyright rules can also mean exporting chilling effects on freedom of expression and intellectual freedom.
“The decision of the judge is an important step that guides Colombian criminal justice towards international standards where this measure is reserved only for piracy. This case must spark a serious debate over the necessity of Open Access. We celebrate that justice was made in an absurd case that could have set a bad precedent for access to knowledge in Colombia,” said Carolina Botero, director of Fundación Karisma, about Diego’s acquittal.
Since 2014, the Fundación Karisma has provided advice to Diego and, along with several allied organizations, launches a crowdfunding campaign in order to help him in this new stage of the process.
The goal is to raise USD $40,000 during 4 weeks of campaigning. With this money, Karisma expects to cover the financial costs related to the appeal process on behalf of Diego and to seek legal ways to prevent cases like Diego’s from happen again. Likewise, the production of a case study, whose aim is to tell the story of Diego, and show the need for Open Access to knowledge will be covered. Finally, we expect to cover Diego’s accommodation and transportation when needed, so that he can take part in the appeal process and a case study production. He currently works at a natural reserve in Costa Rica so traveling is expensive.