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Parliament Committee Calls Ban on Wikileaks “Harsh Operation on Freedom of Expression”

Published December 10, 2010

The parliamentary general committee (allsherjanefnd) met today to discuss the ban that Visa and Mastercard have placed on card-holders who wish to donate to Wikileaks, and have raised the possibility of taking away their operating licences.
Numerous interested parties met with the committee today, among them electronic payment companies Valitor and Borgun, both of whom work with Visa and Mastercard. Also in attendance were The Consumer’s Alliance, Amnesty International and, via conference call, Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Róbert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, told mbl.is, “People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it. They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.” Valitor and Borgun have emphasized that the matter is not in their hands.
The committee has asked for more information from these companies, however, to prove that there are legal grounds for banning cardholders from donating money to an organisation such as Wikileaks. Amnesty International said that they were very concerned at the precedent the ban sets with regards to human rights.
Róbert said that it was the opinion of the members of parliament on the committee that the operating licences of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland should be seriously reviewed.
As reported, Datacell – a company which had been serving as a proxy for payments to Wikileaks – is already planning to sue Visa. Kristinn said that he has no doubts Wikileaks will themselves sue Visa, and Mastercard as well.



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ISNIC Cites Business Reasons For Closing Islamic State’s Domain

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RÚV reports that Isnic closed the domain of militant group ISIS/Islamic State for business reasons, according to Jens Pétur Jensen, ISNIC’s manager. The decision was made following a staff meeting. Jens Pétur says that around half of ISNIC’s ten staff members were opposed to the decision, and would either have preferred the company wait for a legitimate order from State authorities or not close the site down at all. This was heard at a meeting of Alþingi’s Enviroment and Transportation Committee. Jens Pétur told members of Alþingi that the business reasons behind the decision were concerns about the reputation of

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STEF Demands All ISPs Block Torrent Sites

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This morning, the collective rights management society STEF, demanded responses from ISPs Síminn, Tal and 365, as to whether the companies will block their users’ access to the sharing sites Piratebay and its now non-existing local counterpart, deildu.net. This was reported by RÚV. STEF has demanded a response before Wednesday, threatening legal action. As reported, earlier this month, the Reykjavík District court ruled in favor of STEF’s demands in the case of two other ISPs, which were ordered to block their customers’ access to the torrent sites. Within a day after the ruling, which specifies the URLs to be blocked,

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Board Rules Police Must Disclose Protest Report

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Police must disclose a report on its organization during political demonstrations from 2008 to 2011, according to a ruling by the Information access complaint board. The report’s title is, aptly: “Summary of police organization at protests from 2008 to 2011″. Activist and author Eva Hauksdóttir has sought access to the report since 2012. She first applied to the Chief of Police, who refused the request. She then filed a complaint to the Information access complaint board, established through the 2012 Information act. The board ordered the Chief of Police to reconsider the request. He did and declined the request again,

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Business Alliance SA Opposes Shorter Workweek

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Alþingi members from the Pirate party and the Social-democratic Alliance, have proposed a change to the Law on working hours, reducing the standard workweek from 40 to 35 working hours. This would shorten each standard workday by one hour. In the exposition attached to the proposal, the MPs argue cite OECD reports showing that workers in Iceland work relatively long days but somewhat erratically: Iceland, with an average 40-hour workweek, measures low on balancing work and leisure, and compares as the 27th of 36 countries listed. At the same time, total working hours in a year are below the OECD

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MPs Want To Shorten Work Week

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A new bill has been submitted to parliament which would, if passed, legally define working full time to 35 hours per week instead of 40. According to the bill, which has been submitted by Pirate Party MPs Björn Leví Gunnarsson and Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson and Social Democrat MP Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir, changing the definition of full time would be a matter of changing two numbers: a full work week would be defined as 35 hours instead of 40, and a full work day would be defined as 7 hours instead of 8. The bill points out that other countries which

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Christmas Goat Back To Tempt Fate

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The Christmas Goat has returned to IKEA in Garðarbær, despite facing both potential arson or high winds, which have defeated the giant straw ruminant before. Vísir reports that IKEA in Garðarbær is already beginning preparations for Christmas. While this means the store itself will be replete with holiday decorations, no IKEA in Christmastime would be complete with a six-metre-tall straw goat standing out front, also known as the Gävle Goat. This Swedish mini-tradition was started by Stig Gavlén in 1966, and seems to be a magnet for misfortune, even in Iceland. In both 2011 and 2013, unusually high winds tore

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