Iceland is the de facto home of Wikileaks and is also a country concerned with privacy issues. The country is now considering leveraging their experience and reputation of being digital-data friendly to the next level. Presently, the country is considering branding itself as the “Switzerland of Data.”
If Iceland does move ahead with this, it means that the country will become one of the most important players in the 21st century similar to how Switzerland was with banks in the 20th.
The International Modern Media Institute (IMMI), a non-profit organisation, has played an instrumental role in designing and promoting the legal framework for Iceland’s new data privacy laws.
Following the country’s 2010 financial crisis, mass protests broke out against the nepotism, corruption and lack of transparency exposed by the collapse. A group of Icelandic activists began working on an initiative to create the world’s strongest media and free speech protection laws, as well as a state-of-the-art privacy law.
Birgitta JÃ³nsdÃ³ttir is IMMI’s spokeswoman and now represents the Pirate Party in the Icelandic parliament. She met Al Jazeera at her office in Reykjavik and explained that one of IMMI’s goals is “to allow people working on human rights or investigative journalists, as well as people who want to host data on a massive scale, to be free from worrying about privacy issues”.
She added: “Iceland should become for information what Switzerland is for money.”