Europe is getting ready for big change. 15/28 EU member states have Pirate Parties running for the European elections in 2014. In just a few days we may see The Pirate Party members standing for civil liberties and human rights in European Parliament. For the first time in history of mankind, misfits and rebels are in front of the European Parliament doors, just waiting for enough votes (maybe from you!) to open that door and enter as MEPs.
In the last few weeks Pirate Parties in Europe have work hard on hacking hearts and minds of citizens in all countries of the European Union, and today is the last day of the EU elections, when the majority of countries will be voting.
PP EU platform
The pirate movement started as a protest against that heavy handed state coercion that is the result of enforcing copyright monopolies in the Internet era. It is neither left nor right – it is about pragmatic reevaluation of the policies proposed by the left or right. The Pirate Parties are political incarnations of the freedom of expression movement, trying to achieve their goals by the means of the established political system rather than through activism. The name “Pirates” itself is a re-appropriation of the title that was given to internet users by the representatives of the music and film industry, and do not refer to any illegal activity. European continent this spring got new pirate formation, the European Pirate Party that the Pirate movement towards the European institutions.
The European Pirates society wants to welcome and adjust to the digital revolution, as they have identified the digital revolution as a moment of total renewal of human societies. Therefore EU Pirates view the defense of the Internet as a common good and a public utility as one of our primary goals.
Amelia Andersdotter the most prominent leader of European Pirates, Member of European Parliament, got worldwide popularity with an audacious message to telecoms on Internet Governance Forum in BAKU in November 2012.
In 2009 the original Pirate Party won 7.1% of the vote in Sweden’s European Parliament elections and won two of Sweden’s twenty MEP seats. This resulted in Christian Engström being elected the first Pirate MEP in the European Parliament and Amelia Andersdotter taking the second MEP seat in 2011. With them is Henrik Alexandersson.
Read more about victories of Pirate MEPs so far
Is Europe ready for The Pirate Bay in Parliament?
Sweden is the country of origin of the first Pirate Party in the world. This year Amelia Andersdottir, Christian Engström, Henrik Alexandersson and The Pirate Bay joined forces when spokesperson Peter Sunde became the candidate of Pirate Party Finland. Relevancy of joining forces is big, especially for countries which are far away from Scandinavia and whose Pirate movements are still in the cradle, and where public opinion is not hardly twisted by copyright bans, people are not falling for spreading fear and propaganda related to torrent / sharing culture.
The Pirate Bay launched campaign for EU elections running promos (“doodles”) for Pirate Parties in the election week. The Pirate Bay lent a hand to the political arm of the movement with an enormous amount of exposure and some generic hackerish Pirate Party ads in “back to the r00ts” style.
Photos by: Rick Falkvinge
Data Retention Directive critical to human rights
Alongside the infotainment (information + entertainment) part of the Pirate campaign, was roaring of serious events in the background. What will determine the future of Europeans is the awareness of human rights and civil liberties, that some countries tend to neglect for the purpose of profit and long established cooperation with intelligence agencies.
On Tuesday 8 April European court of Justice ruled against the data retention directive declaring it illegal and invalid (The Court of Justice declares the Data Retention Directive to be invalid)
The directive was initially introduced in 2006 following bomb attacks on the public transport systems of Madrid and London. The idea was to give the authorities a greater ability to combat organized crime and terrorism across Europe.
The Court said that while the idea was commendable,“by adopting the Data Retention Directive, the EU legislature has exceeded the limits imposed by compliance with the principle of proportionality.”
Four of Sweden’s telcos stopped storing customer data after EU retention directive is overthrown.
Since May 2012, Sweden’s telecom operators have been required to store subscriber and location data for mobile, internet services, email, and internet telephony for six months — the lower end of the EU directive that required up to two years’ retention. Still, proportions of mass surveillance are unimaginable, and goe not only against citizens. Sweden’s intelligence agency has spied on Russian leadership, sharing intelligence with the NSA, and also apparently is engaged in industrial espionage against business targets such as Russia’s energy companies, according Sveriges Television reports. According to documentary ‘Mission Investigate‘ Sweden’s National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) shared intelligence on Russia with Washington. (read more: FRA spying on “energy” and “Baltics” for USA
Pirate Parties have fought against the Data Retention Directive (DRD) since it began. In fact, the DRD was one of the first things the original Pirate Party fought against, in 2006.
“Pirate Parties have always stated that the Data Retention Directive is illegal and violates human rights as declared in the European Convention on Human Rights – and the court now fully agrees with us on this issue! We continue to tirelessly fight for the right to privacy of all people. Surveillance is only acceptable when it is targeted at those suspected of criminal acts. The Data Retention Directive as applied in all European member states needs to stop immediately, and we must stop the attempts by conservative politicians in the European Parliament to create a new data retention directive. Therefore, it is vital, in order to protect basic human rights, to vote for Pirate Parties in the European elections”, said Leo Rudberg, an ideologue for the Swedish Pirate Party told Revolution News.
The Data Retention poses a threat to countries with no Pirate MEPs in European Parliament such as Norway. Politicians from Norway pledged to continue with their DRD practice of tapping deeper into surveillance society. According to DRD it will continue to stand [as a piece of legislation]with a non-socialist government.
The pirate movement started as a protest against that heavy handed state coercion that is the result of enforcing copyright monopolies in the Internet era. It is neither left nor right – it is about pragmatic reevaluation of the policies proposed by the left or right.
Of course, defending free culture doesn’t come cheap. Nor does running parliamentary elections. Therefor Pirate Party United Kingdom started campaigning for funds entitled ‘Put Pirates in European Parliament’ and operated by 3 main candidates Sam Clark (Pirate Party Treasurer), Andy Halsall and LozKaye (website PPUK http://www.pozible.com/project/180266 ).