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Swiss Privacy Shield Down!

29 April, 2017 - 16:53

The so-called “shield” protecting Swiss data has no legal basis in the US.

After several weeks of research and analysis of the US-Privacy Shield agreement and its implementation, this morning, the Swiss Pirate Party (PPS) notified the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) of a discrepancy challenging the very existence of the agreement.

According to the information we have reviewed, it appears that the US government failed to publish the agreement in the US equivalent of the Swiss Federal Gazette.

In effect, this means that Swiss data is not protected under the Privacy Shield agreement.

In fact, from our research, it appears that the US government has no legal basis for approving the agreement with Switzerland. While the agreement was approved on January 11, 2017 by the Swiss Federal Council, the US government has not officially published the agreement; however, the US government has published US-EU Privacy Shield agreement. The US government’s failure to publish the agreement is in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act and the Federal Register Act, in addition to the case law as described by Larry Becraft, Esq., in the legal brief entitled, “Statutory Foundation for Federal Register Publication”.

It is widely known that President Trump seeks to undermine the Privacy Shield agreement, and as far as Switzerland is concerned, he has succeeded!

Guillaume Saouli, PPS Co-President, said:

“This situation shows once again the little effort that the Swiss authorities are expending to protect the data of Swiss citizens and our interests in this rapidly expanding global digital society!” and “The Swiss are once again left to fend for themselves against large American corporations. This situation is dangerous and unacceptable for the privacy of Swiss citizens, and also creates an extreme competitive disadvantage for Swiss companies. Swiss citizens’ privacy is not protected by commercial competitors established in the US.”

The Swiss Pirate Party demands that measures be taken to protect the interests of Swiss citizens and the business community in dismantled and scattered to the four winds due to lack of fortitude and absence of means, as already revealed in communications with the FDPIC.

Today, as the consultation on the reform of the data protection law has just ended, these two cases highlight the necessity for the FDPIC to have the ability and means to implement this mandate and guarantee protection for all of the Swiss!

Copy of Letter to Commissioner

Subject: Existence of agreements between Switzerland and the United States on Privacy Shield

Dear Commissioner,

From research conducted on Privacy Shield by the Pirate Party in the US and Switzerland, we have discovered several issues of great concern. We request that you take a position on these issues and clarify an essential question.

Does the Swiss-US Privacy Shield agreement actually exist?

In fact, during our research, it appears that the US government has no legal basis for approving the agreement with Switzerland. While the agreement was approved on January 11, 2017 by the Swiss Federal Council, the US government has not officially published the agreement; however, the US government has published US-EU Privacy Shield agreement. The US government’s failure to publish the agreement is in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act and the Federal Register Act, in addition to the case law as described by Larry Becraft, Esq., in the legal brief entitled, “Statutory Foundation for Federal Register Publication”.

http://www.lexrex.com/jml/index.php/articles-documents-and-archives/laws-writings-documents/200-statutory-foundation-for-federal-register-publication

Since the Safe Harbour agreement is no longer in force, what are the “provisional” measures you propose in order to ensure the continuity of data protection for Swiss natural and legal persons?

One of the main objects of our research was the proper functioning of the Ombudsperson at the US State Department and its various designated counterparts. We would like your views on the issues mentioned in the letter sent to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) concerning the legal authority of the Ombudsperson and its durability. A copy of the letter sent to the GAO is attached.

Link: https://diycivics.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/letter-usgao-must-investigate-privacyshield-vacancy/

In light of the situation described in the letter sent to the GAO, can the FDPIC explain the current situation and describe the legal process in the US?

In summary, does the agreement approved on January 11, 2017 actually exist? Does its implementation have a sufficient legal basis for the protection of Swiss data?

In anticipation of your prompt reply, Commissioner, I send you my salutations,

Guillaume Saouli
Co-Chairman
Pirate Party of Switzerland

CC:

Delegation of the Swiss Parliament’s Management Committees

Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Swiss Federal Department of Economics, Education, and Research

—————–

This article and letter were translated from French. The original French version is https://www.partipirate.ch/2017/04/27/privacy-shield-down/

Categories: International

PPI turns 7 years old, accomplishments over past year

15 April, 2017 - 16:10

The following article was written collaboratively by board members of PPI, several of whom are also part of the Pirate Times team. While PPI and Pirate Times are distinct organizations they maintain a working collaborative relationship to support Pirate Parties around the world.

The first General Assembly

In 2010, during April 16th-18th, Pirate Parties International (PPI) held its first General Assembly in Brussels. Pirate Parties from 24 countries came together and officially formed the organization. It was a unique initiative. One that surpassed the global reach of any other political party when Pirate Parties from around the world met together to create a supranational organization that would support them. PPI is a global umbrella organization like none other. One that increases awareness and assists the spread of the pirate movement.

PPI Statistics
  • 69 national Pirate Parties are documented on PPI’s website
  • 33 national parties are currently members of PPI
  • 28 national parties are currently active participants
  • 23 parties submitted delegates for the 2016 GA
  • 10 Pirate conferences took place prior to establishment
  • 10 General Assemblies took place since founding
  • 2 Think Twice Conferences took place (2014 in Frankfurt and 2015 in Istanbul)
  • 891,497 visits to the PPI website
Jump on board

On April 22nd, 2017, PPI will hold their 11th GA as an online General Assembly (GA). Members of PPI can submit delegates to vote on PPI statutes. Non-members can listen in and share their own feedback.

Let’s hear it from the board

PPI is a vessel as well as volunteers who push that vessel. As such, the organization is only as effective as the participants who assist. In honor of the event we asked each of the board members to briefly present what they see as the biggest accomplishment of PPI since the last GA and goals for the coming year.

Guillaume Saouli / Chairperson – Pirate Party of Switzerland / Council man

I am very glad to be surrounded by such an exceptional board. We are able to function as a team and contribute collectively to rapid changes in an organisation left to itself far too long.

Last July, our team (the new board) inherited a ship which was at bay. Our first priority was to bring it into a shape and state enabling us to go to sea. We were facing obvious and not so obvious challenges. These cover a broad array of domains: ranging from IT to social media and communication. Each board member has invested themselves tremendously over the past 9 months to make things happen. Re-establishing a climate of dialog, where the norm is fruitful discussions where everyone can benefit from these exchanges is our foremost preoccupation.

Recognizing the diversity and various levels of maturity of our constitutants is another one. Being able to support each and every pirate movement around the world with the apropriate engagement, tools and means. One shoe doesn’t fit all, each and every pirate party around the world has a different environment to deal with, and therefore the PPI needs to evolve in order to deliver in a sustainable manner. The road to achieve this isn’t obvious or easy, however it can only be achieved by fruitful dialogs rather then aggression. We, as pirates, have to acknowledge that every party is different, and this is a unique opportunity that can strengthen us.

Through establishing internal online democracy (a first since the inception of PPI) we have given the means to all members to participate in our development. This is our first and foremost achievement, in other words empowering the members of PPI to contribute to the destiny of the organisation.

Establishing a clear financial operation, and membership roster are two other key accomplishments of these first nine months. This required a huge time investment by the board members with over 3,000 hours volunteered over this period, which enabled us to complete 15 projects in various domains. Some others are still ongoing and will need a much larger time investment to complete them.

Bailey Lamon / Vice-Chairperson – Pirate Party of Canada

The current board has big goals for PPI. Personally I envision it becoming an open, collaborative hub for international coordination and to be able to provide practical support and resources to Pirate Parties and Pirate Activists. While an organization like PPI is obviously not required for Pirates around the world to connect and cooperate with each other, there is a lot of potential here. We are working hard to make PPI functional and usable for unified actions, building solidarity and taking advantage of its vast social network. We are all in the business of changing the world and shaking up current systems of power, and there is so much we have to offer “the cause” and each other in this vibrant community.

We still have a long way to go in terms of meeting our goals, which has disappointed and even angered some. There are those who truly believe that PPI has accomplished nothing over the years and that it should be dissolved entirely. Frustration is completely valid, but we want to assure everyone that we haven’t lost sight of the future and where we’re trying to steer the ship. It is simply not happening as quickly as expected, for a number of reasons that are largely out of our control. We are doing the best we can to overcome the challenges and while patience is not an infinite resource, patience is something we need now more than ever. I remain optimistic.

We hope that you will attend the upcoming online GA. The best thing that can happen right now is a constructive meeting with PPI members as well as non-members, and anyone who wants to help move this organization forward.

Thomas Gaul / General Secretary – Pirate Party of Germany,

Having served on the board before I can say, finally we have an eager and working team who all fit in with the goals of PPI. The achievements I have seen have been major ones compared to the very small steps in the past. Seeing this, it is about time to step forward with PPI and build up teams who will work to accomplish several goals we have assigned into tasks. As we know, a board in itself is nothing but teams who will make a living body out of PPI. I am thankful for working in a team with such great people.
A personal wish: I dearly hope those elected for a one year term will be reelected. They have deserved it for their very good work! And I wish we could visualize our real efforts since our past General Assembly.

Keith L. Goldstein / Treasurer – Pirate Party of Israel

Establishing our finances (wiki.pp-international.net/Finances) with a bank account in Switzerland and a Bitcoin exchange account has obviously been a major task. In the coming year, I would like to see us set up a crowdfunding campaign to sponsor a third Think Twice conference.

I also would like to see us develop a network of volunteers who can take greater ownership of PPI so that we can collaborate and communicate with greater frequency. PPI is in many respects an early global government, which protects individuals from the tyranny of national governments and corporations that seek to invade privacy and restrict freedom. While we are currently lacking substantial power, I believe we can become a formidable force by doing three things:

1) enabling national parties by helping countries that do not have an established political party with resources to create one and by providing services such as online voting systems

2) networking between members by sharing contact data and social media

3) gaining official status from international bodies, such as the UN.

Andrew Reitemeyer / Board Member – Pirate Party of New Zealand

I am excited by this board. We have, at long last, been able, with our move to Switzerland, to get ourselves a bank account – a task that has cost us many fruitless hours in the past. We are now looking outwards and onwards.

Raymond Johansen / Board Member – Pirate Party of Norway

It has been a privilege to get to know and to work with my board colleagues. I have seldom seen such dedication and professionalism. The big milestones, since we took over, seem to me, to be that we are now formally registered and as such have been able to establish banking relationships. We will now be able to actually fund our activities as a result. I am also proud to have been a small part of actually reestablishing contact with our members. The data we inherited was so poor that only one of the parties actually answered us when we first reached out.

I am elected for one year only so I will not speak too much about the future. But I do hope we let our chairs continue on the road to a strong organisation. Neither Rome nor any other city was built in a day, or even a year of hard work.

If the new board will let me, I will continue to be a part of developing this movement into a much more effective organisation, capable of much greater things.

I thank you all for your confidence and, as the MPAA would say: “Break a leg!”

International Seas Are Rough

Bringing different parties together from around the world, with distinct cultures and perceptions of the meaning of Pirateism, came with its own set of difficulties. Certain parties became more active, others decided to disaffiliate themselves, and yet PPI has persevered with the belief that by continuing this global movement with solidarity we can achieve many great things.

There is a Beacon of Light Out There

PPI is fighting problems that are much greater than any single party can fix, but they are optimistic that with everyone’s help PPI can achieve great things. There is a beacon of light out there, and it is you! For information on becoming a member of PPI or just volunteering, you can contact membership@pp-international.net

Featured image: CC-BY-NC, ubiquit23

Categories: International

FOSS activist arrested for tor exit node in Russia

13 April, 2017 - 19:10

Accused of incitations to “terrorism” made via his Tor exit-node, Dmitry Bogatov was arrested on the 6th of April.

Dmitry became part of a large penal case that was initiated by Russia’s Investigation Committee on “incitations to mass riots” during the protest action that took place on the 2nd of April in Moscow. According to the Investigation Committee, Bogatov was publishing messages on the forum sysadmin.ru. The messages posted were inciting to violent actions, for example, “he” was suggesting to bring “bottles, fabric, gasoline, turpentine [and] foam plastic” to the Red Square. According to the Investigation, the experts had analyzed the text of these messages and proved “linguistic and psychological characteristics of incitations to terrorism”. However, Dmitry claims that he has nothing to do with posting the incendiary messages.

The Investigation pled the judge to extend the detention period for the mathematician, but the judge Evgeniy Naidenov refused it. Article 212 of Russia’s criminal code establishes that offenders, who could be sentenced to up to two years in prison, should not be detained as a preventive measure. However, Bogatov was not released: he was taken away for interrogation at the Investigative Committee yet again, with handcuffs. The interrogation lasted for the whole night, and the Committee presented more serious charges: “calling for terrorist activities or justifying the use of terrorism via the Internet” (Article 205.2 with punishments from 5 to 7 years of emprisonment). These new charges transform a minor crime to a ‘grave’ one, and justify detention as a “preventive measure”. The hearing was held on April 10, and Bogatov got 2 months of preventive detention.
Dmitry Bogatov, 25 years old, teaches maths in MFUA (Moscow Finance and Law University). He was a free and open source software activist. Dmitry was administrating a Tor exit-node from his house. In fact, the author of “incendiary messages” (called “Airat Bashirov”) was using Tor, and, by chance, he used the ip adress of Dmitry’s exit node.

Dmitry’s lawyer, Alexei Teptsov, presented videos from surveillance cameras. The videos proved that during the moments when the “incendiary messages” were posted, Dmitry was away from his computer. He was coming back from a fitness center with his wife, Tatiana, and then went to a supermarket, where cameras were also working. Moreover, “Airat Bashirov”, the author of the provocative messages, continues to post on sysadmin.ru, while Dmitry is under arrest. The last post was seen on the forum on April 11.

Dmitry will stay in pre-trial detention center until June 8 at least. Now the Investigation is examining all his seized devices.
———

 

This is a guest post by Stanislav Shakirov (former PPRU chairman, 2009-2010). 
Additional info about this case (in english)
https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/04/10/mathematics-teacher-accused-of-inciting-mass-riots-now-also-accused-of-supporting-terrorism-and-once-again-detained

Categories: International

NSA Contractors Join Privacy Shield

21 February, 2017 - 10:26

Did you really think that the European Union would protect your privacy? Don’t be so naive.

The US-EU Privacy Shield program is supposed to give EU citizens greater data protections. As I wrote previously, the Privacy Shield program has several legal loopholes, which makes it look a bit like a block of Swiss cheese.

To add insult to injury, not only does the Privacy Shield fail to protect people’s private data, even NSA contractors are invited to join the party! The Privacy Shield program gives these NSA contractors the ability to transfer personal data stored in the EU to the US. From watching international news over the past few years, you may remember how Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. Snowden exposed how the US government had access to read your emails and to listen in on your phone calls.

Including NSA contractors on the list of Privacy Shield is a bit like letting the fox guard your henhouse. While some of the NSA contractors are signed up only to share human resources data, their inclusion in the program does nothing to improve Privacy Shield’s already dismal public image. The companies on the list are allowed to submit a self-assessment to ensure their compliance with Privacy Shield. In practice, this means that these companies have little or no independent oversight.

The following NSA contractors have joined the Privacy Shield program: BAE Systems, Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.

With the inclusion of NSA contractors in the Privacy Shield program, it is rather obvious that the US government cares nothing for data protection. While Europeans are lulled into a false sense of security with Privacy Shield, the US continues to build its surveillance state.

BAE Systems

In 2013, BAE Systems won a multi-year contract with the NSA for high performance computing. The contract is valued at $127 million. A leaked top-secret document outlines the NSA’s surveillance priorities for 2012-2016. One of the NSA’s stated goals is to use high performance computing to crack encryption. As a goal, the document states that the NSA plans to “Dynamically integrate endpoint, midpoint, industrial-enabled, and cryptanalytic capabilities to reach previously inaccessible targets in support of exploitation, cyber defense, and cyber operations.” In other words, the NSA plans to use its high performance computing program to broaden its surveillance capabilities, and BAE Systems is helping.

Boeing

The American telecom, AT&T, built a secret room in one of its centers to facilitate NSA spying. In 2006, an AT&T technician blew the whistle and revealed the NSA’s massive spying operations. The NSA used a device to sift through massive amounts of data from the internet’s backbone. The device was made by a company called Narus. In 2010, Boeing acquired Narus.

In 2008, Boeing acquired Digital Receiver Technology (DRT). The NSA used DRT equipment to track people’s locations by their cellphone signals. Some DRT devices also have the ability to listen in on cellphone conversations and jam cellphone signals. Several DRT devices appear in the NSA’s surveillance catalog.

General Dynamics

In 2014, the Intercept revealed that the NSA was recording virtually every phone call in the Bahamas. The program is called SOMALGET, which is part of a broader surveillance program called MYSTIC. The broader surveillance program, MYSTIC, collects phone call metadata from several countries including Mexico, Kenya, and the Phillipines. General Dynamics had an 8 year contract valued at $51 million to process data for the MYSTIC program.

Lockheed Martin

In 1988, Margaret Newsham, a software engineer for Lockheed Martin, blew the whistle on a massive NSA spying program. The NSA was intercepting phone calls and electronic data in a surveillance program called ECHELON. While working for Lockheed Martin, Newsham was helping to create software that ran the ECHELON program. Newsham also revealed that the NSA was listening to phone calls of a US Congressman.

The US military’s research arm, DARPA, awarded contracts for the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program. The TIA program would collect massive amounts of data and use a predictive policing model. In other words, TIA used automated analysis to identify people as potential terrorists. In a very eery sense, it was the film Minority Report becoming reality. DARPA gave Lockheed Martin 23 contracts valued at $27 million for the TIA program. Several branches of the US government were involved in the TIA program, including the NSA. In 2012, the New York Times revealed that the NSA was running a program very similar to the TIA. The full extent of the TIA’s legacy would not be revealed until the Snowden leaks in 2013.

Northrop Grumman

In 2000, the NSA launched the Trailblazer project. The aim of Trailblazer was to update the old Cold War era interception technology employed by the NSA. The Trailblazer project was mired in scandal. The NSA had wasted over a billion dollars for a program that did not work. Northrop Grumman was one of the contractors working on the failed Trailblazer project.

The Trailblazer project was terminated in 2006. The next year, the NSA awarded Northrop Grumman a $220 million contract. The contract was to help the NSA manage the vast amounts of data it collected from its surveillance programs.

Raytheon

In 2009, the NSA founded the US Cyber Command. The new command center would focus on defensive as well as offensive cyber warfare. Raytheon posted job advertisements for “cyber warriors” to work at locations near known NSA sites.

In 2010, the NSA awarded Raytheon a classified $100 million contract for the Perfect Citizen program. The program would place sensors, to detect cyber attacks, in the backbone infrastructure of public utilities. A Raytheon employee criticized the program with the following words in an email: “Perfect Citizen is Big Brother.” The NSA rather comically claimed that Perfect Citizen would not be used for spying; however, privacy advocates were worried that the program would be used for domestic surveillance.

 

 

 

The text of this article is released into the public domain. You are free to translate and republish the text of this article. Featured picture is CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Flicker user jrothphotos. Secondary picture CC by EFF.

Printouts from PrivacyShield.gov website, link.

Categories: International

Privacy Shield: More Holes than Swiss Cheese

13 February, 2017 - 22:44

What if your most intimate and private information was for sale to anyone in the world? What if anyone could find out your political beliefs, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or even your medical history? In the US, it is legal for the private sector to collect and sell these types of personal information, and the government is powerless to stop it. Due to the US’ lack of general data protection laws, Europeans’ personal information could wind up in the hands of unscrupulous data brokers and for sale on the global market. Data transfers from the EU to the US is cause for on-going controversy, because the EU considers data protection to be a fundamental right.

In testimony before the US Congress, Pam Dixon of the World Privacy Forum detailed abuses by data brokers. MEDbase200 sold personal information on rape survivors and people with an HIV positive status for $79.00 per thousand names. Addresses of domestic violence shelters are supposed to be kept secret, but FirstMark sold lists of these shelters online. DMDatabases sold comprehensive databases detailing patients’ medical conditions and which prescription medications they were taking.

Data brokers obtain personal information from various sources. Many US companies rather shamelessly sell information on their customers. Data brokers can also collect information online through tracking cookies, mobile app data, social media postings, and online surveys. Data brokers also sell each other vast amounts of data, making it virtually impossible to figure out who originally collected the information.

EU regulators should have pause for concern that social media sites are now partnering with American data brokers. Especially controversial is Facebook’s partnership with data broker Acxiom. After the 9/11 terror acts, Acxiom lobbied the US government to weaken the few and limited federal privacy protections in the US. In 2001, Acxiom proposed to establish a government surveillance programs to crawl the internet and gather intelligence from websites. The US Department of Defense also considered partnering with Acxiom to build a large surveillance database. In 2003, Acxiom was embroiled in controversy when it worked with the US Department of Homeland Security on a proposed system to give airline passengers color-coded ratings based on the likelihood of being a terrorist. Despite holding vast amounts of personal data, Acxiom has been the victim of numerous data breaches, with computer hackers stealing large amounts of information.

Starting in 2000, the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement allowed companies in the EU to send personal data to the US. In 2015, the EU Court of Justice struck down the legal basis for the Safe Harbor agreement, because the agreement failed to provide adequate data protections. The US and the EU quickly negotiated a new agreement called Privacy Shield to allow the continued flow of data from the EU to the US.

The new US-EU Privacy Shield agreement is a complete disaster. The agreement’s greatest weakness is that the Privacy Shield program is completely voluntary. An American company with no subsidiaries in the EU could refuse to sign up for Privacy Shield and can ignore EU data protection authorities. The US government is powerless to stop data collection over the internet, which is completely legal in the US.

Even when a company voluntary signs up for the Privacy Shield program, it requires the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the rules. This year, President Trump has the authority to nominate four FTC commissioners (out of five commissioners total). Considering President Trump’s history, his nominations for the FTC will be extremely business-friendly, and the new commissioners may do everything in their power to stop any consumer protections (including Privacy Shield). On the rare instance that the FTC would actually investigate a company for failing to comply with the Privacy Shield framework, the FTC would have to prove that the data is covered under Privacy Shield.  In the US, data brokers repackage and sell data so many times that it may be difficult or impossible for the FTC to ever prove where the data originally came from.

Recently, President Trump named Maureen Ohlhausen as acting Chair for the FTC. Ohlhausen has previously criticized the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) proposal to require ISP (internet service providers) to obtain consent before sharing customers’ private data with data brokers and other third parties. Ohlhausen argued that the FCC’s proposal would harm consumers by offering too many privacy protections. With Ohlhausen as acting Chair, the FTC will likely fail to enforce the Privacy Shield framework.

The Privacy Shield framework does nothing to stop the US government’s mass surveillance and bulk collection of data. In a letter included in the Privacy Shield notice, the former Secretary of State, John Kerry, promises to establish an ombudsperson to take complaints regarding US government surveillance practices. A close reading of the memorandum reveals that the Privacy Shield ombudsperson has no legal authority to investigate or provide independent oversight. The memorandum also mentions several OIGs (Office of Inspector Generals) and the PCLOB (Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board), which are the same mechanisms that failed to protect people from the NSA’s mass surveillance in the first place.

The Privacy Shield notice also includes a letter from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The letter cites PPD-28 (Presidential Policy Directive-28) as limiting the US government’s surveillance efforts. It is difficult to independently verify what PPD-28 actually contains, since some portions of the directive are classified. The PPD-28 was signed by President Obama, who is no longer in office. President Trump is not required to follow PPD-28, and he can secretly overturn the directive at any time without any public notice.

The US government has no international legal obligations to enforce Privacy Shield. The Privacy Shield framework is a voluntary program, operated by the US Department of Commerce, which could be rescinded at any time. It is hard to imagine how the EU ever approved an agreement so dreadful as Privacy Shield. I cringe thinking that the EU completely lacks an understanding of the US Constitution and how the American government operates. Before ever entering another agreement with the US, the EU needs to first hire some extremely well-read American lawyers as advisors.

As it stands, the Privacy Shield framework leaves EU consumers’ personal data open to abuse, with few or no rights to recourse and redress. If the EU is serious about data protection, it should immediately suspend the Privacy Shield framework. Access to the EU market is of paramount importance to many American businesses. Using its economic leverage, the EU should pressure the US to reform its legal code to ensure better data protection.

 

For further reading:

GAO report on data brokers, link

FTC report on data brokers, link

Featured image: CC-BY-NC-ND, thenoodleator

Categories: International

2016: The Year That Icelandic Pirates Shook The System

9 January, 2017 - 07:00

2016 will be remembered for the unprecedented and monumental acceptance of the pirate movement by citizens at a national level!

We are very happy to see that the first decade of the pirate movement was completed and celebrated by a great electoral success; The officially recorded 14.48% of the votes in favor of the Pirate party of Iceland (PP-IS), on last October’s parliamentary elections! PPIS reached new heights for the pirate movement by electing 10 MPs, and by receiving a mandate from the president of Iceland in order to form a governmental coalition.

As we are now entering the second decade of the movement, anything is open to happen!

But, if there was a prize of “political and electoral behavior,” then surely this year it would be given to the 27.449 Icelander voters who deliberately rejected the traditional parties and preferred to vote in favor of the Pirate party, in favor of the new politics that express the digital age, and in step with the modern world in which we live in.

That world stands for simple things, that can be done easily without any high cost! Things like transparency, the protection of privacy, the reviewing of the legislation on copyright and patents, net neutrality, the change of governance model to that of the direct participation of citizens at all levels and phases of consultation and decision-making,

Thanks to them, the voice of the new world will be heard in the parliament!

Thanks to them, it is now proven that 27.449 people can really shake up the system of traditional politics worldwide, by voting for a party which is named “The Pirate party”! Icelanders pushed international and national mainstream media to write extended articles on the pirate movement and empowered the voice of a new world that emerges, slowly but steadily, and takes its place in decision making centers.

Big chance for the Pirates in Iceland to form a government

After the elections, no party in Iceland held a majority to form a government. The president gave a mandate to the first party in votes to start searching for a coalition government. But there was no positive outcome, so the “Left Greens”, the second party in votes, received the mandate. PPIS participated in that second round of unproductive talks on the establishment of a 5 parties coalition government with the “Left Greens”.

Those 5 parties hold a majority of 34 (out of 63) seats divided as follows:

Left Green Movement (10)
Pirate Party (10)
Regeneration (7)
Bright Future (4)
Social Democratic Alliance (3)

Then the mandate was given to PP-IS, third party in votes. Birgitta Jonsdottir, MP and party leader, received it on Friday, 2nd of December and PP-IS started a new round of negotiations. Pirates of Iceland held in their hands a great opportunity, the greatest ever given to a Pirate party, to form a government! Despite the initial optimism, Pirates finally failed and returned the mandate but set new heights for the pirate movement.

If all negotiations went well, then PPIS would have achieved something inconceivable! It would have been the first Pirate Party participating in governmental seats, 10 years since the establishment of the Pirate movement and only 4 years after the founding of the party itself!

Birgitta’s meeting with Snowden and Lessig in Moscow, filmed by French director

Taking a secret trip to Moscow, Birgitta Jonsdottir met with Edward Snowden and Lawrence Lessig, lawyer, activist, founder of Creative Commons, for the needs of a documentary film by Flore Vasseur, French journalist and director. The filming took 3 hours and Birgitta said in her interview to grapevine.is “We just wanted to talk about the state of democracy. But there we were—three ordinary citizens who decided to do something…”

Also, “Alternative party” from Denmark made a documentary on the Icelandic pirates. Uffe and Rasmus, 2 members of the party, visited Rejkavik during the elections to find out the agenda behind the success of PPIS! What did they learn from the Pirates? As they say at the end of their documentary: “Reset the system”, “Be the change”, “Give the power to the people”!

Categories: International

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