Free Ola Bini!

Statement for Cryptorave

As they dared, we too shall dare. Even though we have all to loose, as any other Latin American citizen that goes against what power wants. But they dared against us, the people. They dared to incarcerate whomever and whenever they want without any evidence. They dared to confuse the privacy and security work we do as criminal activity, and to call it that way. We shall dare then to, at least, let our voice be heard.

Ola Bini has been detained for at least 22 days now. He is a software developer that focuses his work on creating privacy enhancing technologies, like OTR version 4 or contributing to the Tor project. He is well know as a software developer and has even created two programming languages on his own. He is a well-know attendee of Cryptorave and he and his team have always gave talks at this event.

The accusations for having him incarcerated vary from accusing him of reading certain books, including Noam Chomsky’s ones, to having a big electricity bill for using servers, to having too much electronic devices. None of these accusations make sense and they fundamentally go against basic rights that we, as human beings, have. To detain him means to detain us all, as people who work and create software that preserves the privacy of people.

Ola Bini is detained in a prison in Ecuador, whose conditions are deplorable, as many of our prisons in Latin America are, as we all know. The facilities are in bad conditions, food is not great, water is scarce and sickness is the word of every day. As it has been described: “facilities are in very bad conditions, dirty water leaks from the walls”.

Detaining Ola means that our profession is now one of high risk, as any government can now incarcerate people for writing software without any understanding of what it is about. His detention is arbitrary and should not remain in impunity.

As they have dared against us, we too shall dare. We shall dare to speak our voice against this injustice as, with the world of today, it can happen to anyone. We shall dare to speak against the unfairness committed to our friend, colleague, lover, acquaintance, as their detention represents the detention of us all.

We shall leave you now with a statement he wrote from his prison:

“To all you fantastic attendees of Cryptorave:

I send you greetings from prison. Cryptorave has been one of my absolute favorite events since I first attended in 2015. The combination of activism engagement, community, politics and technology makes this a hugely important conference.

There are many things I could tell you about the importance of privacy, how totalitarian surveillance is taking over the world. I could talk about the technology you will need, but honestly, there are so many people there in Sao Paulo right now that can talk about those issues, that there is no need.

I am imprisoned for having knowledge, and not even esoteric or strange knowledge about obscure issues, but only mundane computer knowledge. You all have it. And this scares them to no end. Don’t stop learning!

In solidarity, from cell 10 (“Mama Lucha”), cell block “El Placer”, CDP El Inca, Quito, Ecuador.

With my warmest wishes for a fantastic rave. I wish I can join you next year.

Ola Bini”