The Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg aka anakata is now free. As of Saturday, September 26, 2015, his long legal tug-of-war with the governments of Sweden, Denmark, the US, and Cambodia has (at least temporarily) come to an end.
Anakata is free.
His legal troubles began in 2008 and have continued, punctuated by convictions, appeals, extraditions and negotations, essentially continuously since then. 2009 found him and his TPB co-founders ruled guilty of assisting copyright violations. The back-and-forth was punctuated by a surprise move by the defendant to Cambodia, and a subsequent even-more-surprising extradition therefrom (Cambodia has no extradition treaty with Sweden but there may have been inducements the cash-strapped Asian nation found impossible to resist).
Sweden actually lost the majority of that case, although the defendant was found guilty of hacking into one firm’s servers, the prosecutorial equivalent of a booby prize after a long international battle and series of appeals.
Most recently, he was convicted in Denmark of what the prosecutor called “the largest hacking case to date,” penetrating servers belonging to CSC, an American company, and “liberating” Danish social security numbers, drivers licenses, and police emails, among other alarming things. Having successfully extradited him from Sweden for the case, the Danish prosecutor then promptly asked the judge to bar him from the country. He was then paradoxically handed back to Sweden to serve out the remainder of his sentence there. And now, he’s out.
For the last six years at least, Anonymous, pirates, digital privacy advocates, peer-to-peer activists, and hackers around the world have collaborated on letter writing campaigns, tweetstorms, and even sympathy hacks in support of anakata, who spent much of his intermittent incarcerations in solitary confinement. Indeed, the formation of the International Pirate Party itself was strengthened and recruiting rendered easier by the very public prosecutions and persecutions of one of the most famous “information wants to be free” figures in the world. The Pirate Party began in Sweden in 2006. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, himself no stranger to the chilling touch of the Swedish law’s long arm, made a visual statement of support as part of the art project Delivery for Mr. Assange by !Mediengruppe Bitnik.
And surely somewhere in the world, a prosecutor is reading this, then picking up a file and wondering if she can make it stick.
But for now, anakata is free.