Website Showing Icelanders’ Income Won’t Be Shut Down

Reykjavík

An injunction against tekjur.is, a website that makes Icelanders’ income public, has been denied, RÚVreports. The injunction was filed by Ingvar Smári Birgisson, lawyer and chairman of Young Independents (the youth organisation of the Independence Party of Iceland), who called the website a violation of the privacy act and the handling of personal information.

Tekjur.is went online last Friday. It provides information on the wages of all adult individuals residing in Iceland for an initial monthly subscription fee of ISK 2,790 ($23/€20), lowered to ISK 790 ($7/€6) from the second month onward. The website was created “with the aim of promoting informed and honest discussion about the participation of taxpayers in the public sector,” tekjur.is states.

A statement from the District Court of Reykjavík reads that as the issue is already being considered by the appropriate authorities and a decision is forthcoming, it does not consider it appropriate to apply an injunction on the website. Ingvar Smári expressed disappointment in the decision, stating “in view of the fact that the magistrate accepts the violation of statutory rights to privacy, I of course consider it necessary to defend my rights in court.”

The Icelandic Data Protection Authority has received at least nine complaints from individuals about tekjur.is. Labour union representatives, however, have expressed support for the initiative. “This data brings out the inequality and injustice that thrives in Icelandic society and it is therefore extremely important that this website isn’t shut down,” stated Vilhjálmur Birgisson in a Facebook post.

Icelander Wins Gold in Youth Olympics

Icelandic runner Guðbjörg Jóna Bjarnadóttir

Icelander Guðbjörg Jóna Bjarnadóttir won gold in the Buenos Aires 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday, Vísir reports. Guðbjörg won Iceland’s first medal in the competition for the Women’s 200 metre run. Guðbjörg’s total time was 47.02 seconds, 0.67 seconds less than second place winner Dalia Kaddari of Italy.

The 16-year-old has had a standout year, breaking Iceland’s previous record for the 200-metre run three times since June. Guðbjörg also took home gold in the 100 metre run and bronze in the 200 metre run at the European Athletics U18 Championships in Hungary this July.

“She is both big and strong and has all the means to go far in the adult category later,” stated athletics specialist Sigurbjörn Árni Arngrímsson. “I think it’s realistic to aim for the Olympic games in Tokyo in 2020.”

Sea Shepherd Establishes Icelandic Chapter

Marine conservation group Sea Shepherd has just established an Icelandic chapter, RÚV reports. The group held a launch meeting in Reykjavík on Tuesday night. The group was featured on ABC News yesterday for their activism against whaling in Iceland.

“The Icelandic Chapter of Sea Shepherd has just been created by a group of Icelanders and non-natives working together to ensure the survival of our marine ecosystems for future generations,” the organisation’s Facebook page reads. “The organization will be soon registered as a marine conservation charity whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife around the Icelandic coastline and across the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.”

Sea Shepherd aims to shut down the operations of Iceland’s last remaining whaling company, Hvalur hf., for good. The organisation has live streamed the company’s whaling station when a whale is being brought on deck in an effort to raise awareness of the practice around the world.

Sea Shepherd has a history of activism in Iceland. In 1986, they sank two whaling ships anchored in Reykjavík harbour, making international news.

Tómas Guðmundsson Literature Award Winner Announced

Haukur Ingvarsson

Haukur Ingvarsson is the winner of the 2018 Tómas Guðmundsson Literature Award. The award was founded in memory of poet Tómas Guðmundsson and has been awarded by the City of Reykjavík to an unpublished collection of poetry since 1994.

Haukur’s submission is titled Vistarverur and was chosen from 60 anonymous submissions. Though Vistrarverur can be translated as “living quarters,” Haukur suggests the translation Ecostentialism. “Tilvistarstefna means existentialism in Icelandic and vistkerfi means ecosystem,” Haukur explains. “The poems sprung from the emotions that arise from reflecting on global warming.”

“The word itself, vistarvera, indicates a feeling of place and inhabitants, in addition to referring to existence itself and the state of being in it,” reads the award jury’s statement. “All of this comes together in the poems which are characterised by speculations on the connection between the material and the spiritual, emphasising the continuum between the two.”

In addition to a publication deal, the award comes with a cash prize of ISK 800,000 ($6,800/€5,900).