Smári McCarthy é um ativista que se destaca pela defesa da informação livre. Diretor Executivo do International Modern Media Institute, co-fundador membro do conselho de administração da Icelandic Digital Freedoms Society, intervém na política islandesa a partir do partido Pirata. Autor do projecto “crowdsourcing democracia”, tem escrito sobre tecnologia, cultura e anarquismo, seja no yaxic.org seja no anarchism.is. Conhecido pela sua participação no movimento fabricação digital, o arrojo já lhe valeu, conforme denuncia a WikiLeaks, uma abordagem dos agentes do FBI numa das suas visitas a Washington. Amigo pessoal de Aaron Swartz, – que foi encontrado morto no seu apartamento no passado mês de Janeiro – com quem trabalhou, não se coíbe de criticar Julien Assange além dos méritos que todos lhe reconhecem.
Rui Pedro Frias: Smári, you are considered an innovator and information activist, can you explain us what that means?
Smári: I’ve never described myself as an innovator, but I think being innovative is merely the ability to take unrelated ideas and make something new. It’s creativity. I’m happy if somebody described me as creative. Being an information activist is merely being politically active on issues relating to information freedom. This means I spend most of my time campaigning for greater transparency, accountability, access to information, freedom of expression and, on the flip side, making sure that none of this infringes on people’s privacy.
RPF: How can that information help society and the citizens?
S: The enlightenment called for two things: democracy and enlightenment. We did the democracy thing pretty badly, with representatives who go around representing each other and their friends, and not the public. Then we relegated enlightenment to schools, institutionalized the process of learning how to think creatively. This is crazy. In order to have a democratic society, we need an informed public. Information is the prerequisite to enlightenment. Transparency and access to information means making sure that the public knows what the powerful are doing, that we can understand our systems of governance and our systems of commerce. Freedom of expression means allowing people to say what they think about these things, even when it shocks and offends. Without these ideas, we can have nothing but tyranny.
RPF: What do you think about Wikileaks work? What has changed with Wikileaks?
S: Wikileaks was the industrialization of whistleblowing. It represented a shift from a cottage industry of single documents of high value reaching the public against the will of the corrupt and the powerful, into a mass-manufacturing model of radical transparency. Industrialization has many positive effects. It also has many negative effects. I think the world is in some ways better because of Wikileaks, but it is also more strange, and we still have to figure out what this new political reality is shaped like.
RPF: What do you think about Julien Assange?
S: He’s done a lot of good things, and he’s having a lot of very awkward problems. I agree with what he’s trying to accomplish, but I very much disagree with the way he’s chosen to accomplish it.
RPF: What is your opinion about other activists, like Aaron Swartz?
S: I knew Aaron a bit, we worked together on some projects. Generally speaking the global information activist community is well connected internally – what would you expect? I am really honored to be a part of such an amazing global society.
RPF: We know that you are a member of the Pirate Party, in Iceland, can you talk us about this party?
S: I’m running for the Pirate Party as list leader in Iceland’s southern constituency. Elections are on the 27th of April, and so far things are looking good. Pirate Parties are the political arm of the Internet. It is the manifestation of decentralization fundamentalism and a call for information rights and direct democracy. Furthermore, it is the first international – or perhaps transnational – political movement that is explicitly organized as such. In other hand, the Icelandic Pirate Party is pushing for Iceland to adopt a similar policy on narcotics as Portugal did in 2000. It’s a much more humane approach than criminalization, and we applaud Portugal for having taken that important step. Iceland is learning from your example – hopefully we can repay the favors some day.
RPF: Since you are part of the icelandic political life, as a member of a party, can you talk to us about the whole process that Iceland suffered?
S: The crash in 2008 was not merely an Icelandic crash, it was a global crash. Iceland crashed first and crashed hard, but thanks to some sensible decisions we’re bouncing back really fast. The good thing about this entire process is that it forced Iceland, as a country, to do some navel gazing and figure out what we want to be about. We’ve got better ideas now, I think, but we’re not out of the woods: still too many foreclosures of houses, the krona is still too weak, our economy is still blocked off from international markets, and we’ve not fully addressed the regulatory failings. We’ve got a new constitution waiting to be adopted, but the parliament is wavering – we’re stuck in an annoying political quagmire where everybody is forced into a holding pattern. Nothing is happening, and no news is not good news.
RPF: What about Iceland’s debt?
S: There’s a lot of it. The global economy really needs a jubilee.