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Hacker, Criminal or Whistleblower?

This has been the discussion of the last few days in Portugal. At stake is Rui Pinto, a 30 year old Portuguese hacker, who has been in detention for almost 1 year, awaiting trial, for illegally obtaining information that led to several lawsuits and consequent scandals and, because of that, received the European Parliament award given to "Journalists, Whistleblowers and Defenders of the Right to Information".

Rui Pinto brought to the public revelations about contractual secrets of European clubs like PSG (France), Manchester City (England), Twente (Netherlands) and UEFA; revealed documents used by the Spanish tax authorities that forced Cristiano Ronaldo to pay 18.8 million euros of missing taxes, to avoid prison, and José Mourinho to pay 2 million euros; and secrets and possible crimes commited by the 3 biggest Portuguese football clubs. 

But Rui Pinto denunciations are not limited to the football field, as seen in the last days with the scandal of Luanda leaks that is destroying Isabel dos Santos empire, Angola "princess" and daughter of Angola ex President José Eduardo dos Santos.

If, on the one hand, he discovered and revealed the practice of various crimes in different sectors, on the other hand it is true that he obtained the data illegally.

Many are the ones who want to shut him up, afraid of the information that the hacker obtained in recent years and that he promises to reveal with the help of his lawyers, but there are also many who now gather in manifestations, demanding the release of the hacker and disclosure of everything he discovered.

So the question remains. What should prevail? The right to privacy or the right to the truth and information? How can we criminalize the performance of someone who obtains evidence of crimes?

The Portuguese Minister of Justice announced yesterday that a Whistleblower statute is in the process of being created and will be able to protect these hackers.

But until progress is made in this direction, Rui Pinto remains imprisoned, but not silent, threatening to reveal even more crimes.

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Filipe Consciência's picture
Filipe Consciência has more than eight years of legal experience. Deals with contracts, consumer law and immigration.