Internet information havens - the 21st century tax haven?

After the Wikileaks saga we should expect information-havens to emerge and be as vital to business as the tax-haven was in the last centruy.

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In the dispute between the US Government and Wikileaks it is interesting to see the tactics used. We are breaking new ground here. The way this fight is fought leads to all kind of observations and questions.

So what is it that is happening here? Let us start with an unnamed US governor that wants to “Hunt Assange down like a terrorist.”Well, there once was this religious leader that did not like a book written about his religion so he called for ''all the Muslims to execute them, wherever they find them.'' In this quote “them” is the author and (that’s interesting) the publisher. Remember Salmon Rushdie? I have no idea why this image came up in my mind clearly there is no analogy here.

In an earlier article I questioned the ownership of the information published by Wikileaks. If you hold that the US Government owns that information than basically it was stolen which would make Wikileaks guilty of fencing stolen goods. But in that case the logical course of action for the US Government would be to accuse Wikileaks and/ or Assange of this particular crime. The next step would be to ask the United Kingdom for his extradition.

I am no expert but given the good US – UK relationship I would expect they have reasonable extradition regulations in place to make this possible. For some reason the US Government chooses not to walk this road. Makes you wonder about the initial ownership assumption.

The Wikileaks webservers are located in Sweden and it is interesting to note that at no time the Swedish Government openly considered “pulling the plug” on the servers. They might have been asked to do something like that but till now they managed to steer clear of this fight. More interesting however is that Wikileaks and Assange have very close connections with the Icelandic government.

According to the stories they were involved with drafting legislation for Iceland about freedom of information which should position Iceland as a “New media haven”. Something similar to a tax haven but than for information instead of money. Interesting to note that Assange and Wikileaks trusted the deliverables of their efforts so much that decided to host their site in…. Sweden!

The incredible coincidence that Assange is accused exactly at this point in time has so much similarities with the plot of the movie “Enemy of the State” it has to be a coincidence. Nobody can be that obvious, or can they? Let’s treat this issue separate and leave the rest for the conspiracy theorists.

Next thing that happens is that third-party Internet service providers start pulling the plug on services that Wikileaks needs. Let us assume that I have a fight with my government about money (let say they claim I owe them taxes) but my money is located in a Swiss bank and we all know countries like Switzerland will not cooperate unless you prove to them that I was involved in illegal activities while gathering that money. See the analogy here? This amazing thing happens, the energy supplier of the bank let us know they will not supply any further electricity so the bank cannot operate anymore. Even more so the vault supplier cancels the contract with the bank.

One by one the supporting services are dropped. And funny enough the internet services are all supplied by US companies. It is unclear if the suppliers have been “persuaded” or if this is some kind of self-censorship but the message is clear. As one supplier states on their website: “… provides developers the tools to build failure resilient applications and isolate themselves from common failure scenarios.” Not a single lie there, you only invent a new failure scenario! At this time you think you have seen it all but guess what. Reality is stranger than fiction.

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