Smári McCarthy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Smari McCarthy)
Jump to: navigation, search
This is an Icelandic name. The last name is a family name, but this person is properly referred to by the given name Smári.
Smári McCarthy in 2012

Smári McCarthy (born 7 February 1984) is an Icelandic/Irish innovator and information activist. He is known for his work relating to direct democracy, transparency, privacy, and other subjects.

Early life[edit]

Smári was born in Reykjavík, Iceland, the son of Kolbrún Óskarsdóttir and Eugene McCarthy. At age one his family moved to England. At age 9, the family returned to Iceland, settling in Vestmannaeyjar.[1] He studied mathematics at the University of Iceland, but quit after two years to get involved with the digital fabrication movement.


Smári got involved in the digital fabrication movement in 2007, and was involved in the creation of the first Icelandic fab lab in Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland,.[2] He has worked with Fab Labs elsewhere, including Jalalabad, Afghanistan.[3]

The same year, Smári proposed the Shadow Parliament Project,[4][5] a project intending to "crowdsource democracy". In an essay outlining the project, he described what is now known as Liquid Democracy. The project launched Skuggaþing (Icelandic for "shadow parliament") in early 2010.[6] In 2012 he started the wasa2il software project[7] in order to address shortcomings with existing impementations of Liquid Democracy.[8]

In 2008 he co-founded of the Icelandic Digital Freedom Society (FSFÍ),[9] a free software, privacy and digital rights organization in Iceland.

In 2009 he organizeed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative along with various other media freedom and free speech activists, including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Julian Assange and Rop Gonggrijp.[10] In 2011 the International Modern Media Institute (IMMI) was formed around the initiative, with Smári serving as executive director. In 2013 he left that role, but still serves as a board member of IMMI.[11]

In 2012, he co-founded the Icelandic Pirate Party,[12][13] along with Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, and various others. He stood as their lead candidate in Iceland's South Constituency in the 2013 parliamentary elections,[14] but did not win a seat.

In the summer of 2013, Smári co-founded the free software project Mailpile along with Bjarni Rúnar Einarsson and Brennan Novak. The team successfully crowdfunded $163,192. Smári's role in the company is privacy and security.

In 2014, Smári joined the editorial board of Scottish pro-independence newspaper Bella Caledonia.[15]

Public speaking and activism[edit]

Smári has spoken at numerous conferences, such as Oekonux, FSCONS, Internet at Liberty and SHARE,[16] as well as having lectured at various universities and summer schools.[17] Common themes include direct or electronic democracy, press freedoms,[18][19] a critique of industrialization as a centralizing force,[20][21] and the culture of the Internet. More recently he has spoken about privacy in the context of state surveillance.[22][23]

In 2012, WikiLeaks has alleged that Smári was approached by agents of the FBI in Washington, D.C..[24]

Smári has made appearances in We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,[25] SVT's documentary Wikirebels and VPRO's de Wikileaks Code, as well as numerous television interviews.

Selected Writing[edit]

  • Passing over Eisenhower[26]
  • Where States Go To Die: Military Artifacts, International Espionage And The End Of Liberal Democracy[27]
  • Cloud Computing: Centralization and Data Sovereignty, with Primavera de Filippi
  • Mediating Democracy, in Redvolution: El poder del ciudadano conectado.
  • Bergeron's Children, in Despatches from the Invisible Revolution, edited by Keith Kahn-Harris and Dougald Hine.[28]
  • Cloud Computing: Legal Issues in Centralized Architectures, with Primavera de Filippi, in Net Neutrality and other challenges for the future of the Internet
  • The Future of Information Freedom, in The Future we Deserve, edited by Vinay Gupta
  • The End of (artificial) Scarcity, in Free Beer, edited by Stian Rødven Eide
  • Islands of Resilience, with Eleanor Saitta[29]


  1. ^ Smári McCarthy, on Heimaslóð
  2. ^ Fab Lab Vestmannaeyjar
  3. ^ Fab Lab Jalalabad Annual Report
  4. ^ "The Social Web and Civil Life". Searcher Magazine, 17.3, March 2009
  5. ^ The Shadow Parliament Project (blog entry)
  6. ^ Skuggaþing
  7. ^ Wasa2il on Github
  8. ^ Mediando la Democracia, article by Smári McCarthy on
  9. ^ FSFÍ
  10. ^ New York Times: A Vision of Iceland as a Haven for Journalists
  11. ^ IMMI Staff
  12. ^ Grapevine: MP To Form Pirate Party
  13. ^ Grapevine: You Have it All Wrong
  14. ^ Píratakafteinar í suðurkjördæmi
  15. ^ Bella Caledonia á Twitter
  16. ^
  17. ^ Personal Web Page - Travel and Events
  18. ^ Smári at Re:Publica
  19. ^ Smári at SKUB with Kristinn Hrafnsson and Annie Machon
  20. ^ Smári at Me Craft/You Industry Symposium
  21. ^ Smári at GoOpen
  22. ^ Engineering Our Way Out of Fascism
  23. ^ Where States Go To Die
  24. ^ Assange 'The World Tomorrow' — guests targeted by the FBI
  25. ^ Smári McCarthy at the Internet Movie Database
  26. ^ Passing over Eisenhower
  27. ^ Where States Go To Die
  28. ^ Despatches from the Invisible Revolution
  29. ^ Islands of resilience

External links[edit]