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Updated: 28 min 40 sec ago

EU Court rules on transparency of EU justice

18 July, 2017 - 17:29

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg today ruled in favour
of the German civil liberties activist and pirate party member Patrick
Breyer (Commission vs. Breyer, C-213/15 P):[1] It ordered the Commission
to give the press and the public access to the pleadings exchanged in
completed court proceedings. In the present case Breyer successfully
demanded the Commission disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the
non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive.
However the Court fined Breyer for publishing the written submissions in
his own case on his homepage.[2]

“Today’s ruling confirms that the EU‘s judicial system is lacking
transparency and in urgent need of reform”, comments Breyer. “Since EU
judges appear to consider transparency in pending proceedings a threat,
the EU needs to revise the Court rules in accordance with those
applicable to the European Court of Human Rights. Indifferently
prohibiting parties from publishing pleadings – including their own – is
inaceptable and endangers the freedom of the press.

This judgement turns important cases with potentially far-reaching
implications for every one of us into secret proceedings. In landmark
cases the press and the public should not be faced with irreversible
facts. Protecting our governments’ and institutions’ conduct in court
from public criticism and control contradicts the concept of democratic
oversight and freedom of the press.

This in-transparency fosters mistrust instead of building trust in times
of the EU experiencing a crisis of acceptance. Justice needs openness.
More transparency is for example needed where EU Courts deal with mass
surveillance programmes such as blanket data retention. The
admissibility of such interferences in our civil liberties is of general
interest. The arguments and applications put forward by our governments
in court need to be subjected to public scrutiny.”

Background:

As the ECJ does not grant access to written submissions, Breyer in 2011
asked the Commission to disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the
non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive. The
Court of First Instance ruled in favour of Breyer and the Commission
disclosed the pleadings[3] but filed an appeal against the judgement.
The ECJ rejected this appeal today.

Advocate General Bobek in December proposed broadening access to Court
documents:[4] Documents ought to be made available upon request, in both
closed as well as, to a more limited extent, in pending cases. Advocate
General Bobek also suggested that pleadings could be routinely published
on the Internet. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
already grants access to written submissions upon request.

Patrick Breyer is a digital rights activist and a Pirate Party member in Germany. He has won court cases earlier where one of them decided that IP addresses are deemed personal data.

Footnotes:

[1] Official press release:
https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2017-07/cp170080en.pdf

[2] Case file (in German): http://www.patrick-breyer.de/?p=561245

[3] Pleadings disclosed by the Commission after the judgement in first
instance: http://www.patrick-breyer.de/?p=561245#Neubescheid

[4] Advocate General Bobek proposes broader access to Court documents,
https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2016-12/cp160141en.pdf

Featured image: CC-BY-NC-SA, jeroen020

Categories: International

Privacy Shield: the American Lobbying Invasion

12 July, 2017 - 19:51

It is difficult to know the true extent to which American corporate interests and the US government continue to lobby the European Union and its member states on the US-EU Privacy Shield agreement. In March of this year, public records requests about Privacy Shield were sent to data protection authorities across the European Union. To date, the vast majority of EU data protection authorities have failed to release public records on Privacy Shield.

Lobbying by American Corporate Interests

American corporations, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter, use the Privacy Shield framework as the legal basis to transfer personal data from the European Union to the United States. Civil society groups [1, 2, 3, 4] have criticized the Privacy Shield’s many flaws and lack of basic protection for personal data. Even the EU’s own parliament has been critical of the agreement. The Article 29 Working Party, the group of EU data protection authorities, has also expressed serious concern and doubt about Privacy Shield. Perhaps the most glaring inadequacy of the Privacy Shield agreement is that it allows for NSA mass surveillance, in violation of EU law.

The European Union has a voluntary lobbying register. Google, Microsoft, BusinessEurope, and DigitalEurope are four of the top eight lobbying organizations by number of meetings with EU officials, according to Integrity Watch. The transparency register lists Google and Microsoft as being members of BusinessEurope and DigitalEurope. The transparency register also lists Google and Microsoft estimating their annual spending on EU lobbying as between €4 and €5 million Euros each. BusinessEurope lists its estimated annual spending on the low side of €4 million Euros, while DigitalEurope is spending approximately €1.9 million Euros a year.

There has been a massive lobbying campaign by American corporate interests on Privacy Shield in the EU. In addition to spending on lobbying, the transparency register also lists meetings between EU officials and lobbyists. In January of 2016, a couple months after the EU Court of Justice struck down Safe Harbor (the framework before Privacy Shield), Microsoft met separately with EU Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip and Commissioner Vera Jourova on the issue.

American technology companies such as Adobe, Apple, Amazon. AT&T, Cisco, Facebook (subsidiary in Ireland), General Electric, Google, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Symantec, and Yahoo! have lobbied EU officials on the EU’s data protection standards. Several American financial services companies, including Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, and Mastercard, have also lobbied EU officials on data protection standards. Trade industry groups representing American corporate interests have also partaken in this lobbying effort. The American Chamber of Commerce, the Business Software Alliance, BusinessEurope, and DigitalEurope are also listed as meeting with and lobbying EU officials on Privacy Shield.

Since the EU’s transparency registry is completely voluntary and there are few sanctions for violations, some meetings with EU officials and additional spending on lobbying may have never been registered. The American lobbying invasion may actually be much larger than the records on the EU’s transparency register suggest.

US Embassy Gets Involved

The US government is also engaged in lobbying EU member states to accept the Privacy Shield agreement. In January of 2016, the US embassy sent the Danish data protection authority (Datatilsynet) an email warning that legal uncertainty about personal data transfers from the EU to the US could harm business. The US embassy goes on to state that the EU should not solve the problem by hosting servers and storing data in the EU. The email also rather comically insinuates a denial of some aspects of NSA spying by stating, “The allegations underlying the Schrems case about U.S. privacy law and intelligence practices were based on mistaken assumptions and outdated information.” The Datatilsynet confirms that there was a meeting in May 2016 between their office, the Danish Ministry of Justice, the US embassy, and the US Department of Commerce about the Privacy Shield agreement.

In January of last year, the US embassy sent an email thanking the Slovenian data protection authority (IPRS) for meeting the week earlier. Several days later, the US embassy sent IPRS and the Slovenian Ministry of Justice a rather ominous email. The email warns, “It is imperative to conclude a revised U.S.-EU Safe Harbor agreement now, or risk harm to economic growth and job creation on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as damage to the broader transatlantic relationship.” The email also pressures Slovenia to direct EU Commissioner Vera Jourova to approve a new agreement to replace Safe Harbor. The US embassy also sent documents to the IPRS, which the IPRS is refusing to release.

The data protection authority of Italy confirms receiving communication from the US embassy about Privacy Shield. The data protection authorities in Finland, Germany, Latvia, Romania, and Sweden deny receiving emails from the US embassy about Privacy Shield. The data protection authority of Austria refuses to confirm or deny if it ever received emails. In response to questions about the possible existence of emails, the data protection authority of Luxembourg (CNPD) had a rather bizarre reply. The CNPD stated that Luxembourg does not have a freedom of information law. In addition, the CNPD refused to answer questions about the US embassy by citing Luxembourg data protection laws.

For now, the true extent of American lobbying remains behind closed doors.

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 obtained from the US Department of Commerce.

Categories: International

A Just Future Starts at the Local Level

10 July, 2017 - 07:42

Jelle de Graaf is the first elected official for the Pirate Party in the Netherlands, in the borough of Amsterdam West. The Pirate Party Amsterdam recently elected him as their political leader for the municipal elections in march 2018. Earlier this month he visited the Fearless Cities Conference at the municipalism movement in Barcelona.

Cities are gaining power. When national governments fall short local leaders show courage. It’s happening all over the world. When Donald Trump left the Paris Accords, the cities of the United States, from Democratic Pittsburgh to Republican San Diego, took responsibility. Sanctuary cities like San Francisco protect the rights of their people, also if they, according to the federal government, don’t have the right paperwork.

In Europe, Mediterranean cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Naples lead the charge for strong local governments. Naples is building a cooperative and democratic city. Barcelona shows that local communities don’t automatically have to lose against the economic forces of mass tourism. Not only are cities taking back control, in more and more places people are taking back control of their cities. An international municipalism movement is gaining ground.

In the beginning of June I visited the Fearless Cities Conference in Barcelona. Around 700 active citizens, activists and open-minded elected representatives from all over the world came together to discuss municipalism. The term refers to political organization based on assemblies of neighborhoods, practicing direct democracy, which would be organized in a system of free communes or municipalities, as an alternative to the centralized state. In Barcelona people with radically different backgrounds, from social workers who work in the slums of Capetown to women rights activist in the autonomous region Rovaja in Syria, came together to start a dialogue. While one participant might be building a green and sustainable future and others are fighting house-evictions or institutional racism, everyone was working on the same overarching municipalist project. All participants are achieving a better world by working on a local level in an inclusive, consensus-based, democratic way with a focus on local communities and their wishes.

For me the Pirate movement has always been about democratization and the decentralization of power. Subsidiarity, decision making on the lowest level possible, is a central concept in the ideas of the Pirate movement and has been at the core of my work in the borough of Amsterdam West. Not only is there the democratic argument that the people that are most influenced by a decision should be the ones making it, there’s also the practical reality that people are much more likely to solve issues together on local level.

Municipalism works. When you open up and actually talk to people, instead of yelling one-liners at them, radical policy is possible. Even on big polarized issues. Madrid and Barcelona declared their towns ‘Refugee Cities’ and opened them up to 15.000 refugees. If this can happen with broad support in a city with huge housing problems like Barcelona, where a couple of years earlier thousands of people a month were evicted from their houses, it can happen anywhere.

By empowering the commons, and focusing on all those co-operations and active citizens who are already working on green-initiatives, radically green progress is possible with the support of the people. By going at it together, in an open dialogue, long-abandoned progressive policy goals that seem impossible to achieve in the traditional political arena suddenly turn probable again.

The success of the municipalist movement in southern Europe strengthens my believe that as Pirates, much more then we’ve been doing in recent years, the local level is where we should focus our efforts. While municipalism, of course, isn’t the answer to every world problem, it might be a way to break out of the polarized political landscape we’re in right now. We can start working on the tackling of big issues like climate change, the erosion of civil rights and growing social and economical inequality.

The municipalist movement shows us there’s a viable alternative to both the extremism of the far right or the political stalemate of the traditional parties. An inclusive, sustainable and just future starts at the local level.

Featured image: CC-BY-NC-SA, ZEMOS 98

Categories: International

A first for international Pirates: An online & asynchronous council meeting

30 May, 2017 - 09:43

Since the 28th of May the second Council Meeting of the European Pirates (PPEU) is going on. Unlike the previous Council Meetings, the founding meeting and the first council meeting, this one is different. Both previous events took place in Brussels, a traditional “away from keyboard” meeting, were all delegates meet in one physical location to discuss the matters at hand. This year the meeting will be held online and asynchronous during the time span of several weeks. From the 28th of May to the 15th of June to be more precise.

To facilitate this type of meeting an online platform named VoteIT is used. VoteIT is a free and open source tool to facilitate the organization of online democratic and participatory meetings. It can keep agenda, discussion, proposals and polls. This project was started in 2009 by the Swedish gaming federation and made possible with the help of a government grant. If you want to follow the meeting you need to register, after you login the actual discussions can be read. Meeting minutes can be read without registration.

Besides the necessary discussions around rules of procedures and statutes, this meeting will also elect a new board, decide on the admission of new members and another agenda point, that might be of interest to many, is the planned discussion on membership fees.

After some initial delays caused by inexperience using this new tool for the first time, the meeting seems to be progressing in an orderly and constructive fashion. After June 15th Pirate Times will report back on the results of this Council meeting.

Categories: International

Support the Referendum on Catalan Independence

28 May, 2017 - 10:00

Direct democracy, citizen participation, and the right to self-determination are three of the most important tenets of Pirate Parties International. In a recent letter, to all fellow members of Pirate Parties International, the Pirates of Catalonia have requested public declarations of support for the referendum on Catalan independence. At Present time there is no referendum scheduled partly because Spain’s national government has refused to allow the region to hold a binding referendum.

In 2014, a non-binding referendum on Catalan independence saw the region vote overwhelmingly in favor of independence. This came after Spain’s authorities declared the vote “illegal” before it was to be held and then forced the regional government to convert the election from a referendum to a “citizen initiative,” which carried no weight.

Citizens in Catalonia, the region in Spain whose capital is Barcelona, have fought for independence from Spain for decades. The Franco dictatorship repressed all expressions of Catalan sovereignty for many years, including a ban on the use of the Catalan language. After democracy began to be restored in the late 1970s, Catalonia has been granted a degree of autonomy within the Spanish Republic.

Since 2011, when the ongoing anti-austerity 15-M Movement was launched in Spain, the people of Catalonia have taken to the streets in astonishing numbers each year to demonstrate in favor of Catalan independence. The most conservative estimates of the size of the demonstrations each year put the number of protesters near a half a million people each time.

A consortium of pro-referendum political parties has published a manifesto called the “National Pact for the Referendum” in favor of finding a solution to the so-far intractable problem of holding a binding referendum on independence that both sides—the anti-Catalan-independence Spanish government and the pro-independence Catalan voters—will respect, regardless of the results of the vote.

“We declare that democratic culture demands political solutions to political problems. This is done by appealing to the fundamental mechanism available to contemporary societies: acknowledging and validating the majority will of the people in the form of a vote,”

the manifesto continues:

“We urge the governments of Catalonia and Spain to overcome the political obstacles and their preconceptions, and to finally reach an agreement that establishes the conditions and the fair and necessary guarantees for holding a referendum recognized by the international community, the result of which should be politically binding and effective.”

Pirates are urged to sign the manifesto and then send an email to inform the Pirate Party of Catalonia that they have signed.

 

Featured image: Public domain, the ballot corresponding to the past 9N consultation (2014)
————————
This was a guest post by Mark Aldrich.

I have been writing about social justice issues for decades, most recently at my website TheGadAboutTown.com

Since January 30, 2017, I have written several features about green card holders detained by ICE in the U.S. I have participated in the social media movement to free Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi since January 2015 and four of my articles were re-published on his foundation’s website. Articles I have written about the imprisoned Egyptian photojournalist Shawkan have been highlighted on the website Movements.org. An article about the imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak was featured last year on the website AllAfrica.com.

The website is unaffiliated with any organization, and I am an independent blogger with credentials from the U.S. Press Association. In 1997, my newspaper column was recognized with a “Best Humor Column” award from the New York Press Association.

I have been a member of Pirate Parties International since 2017. With its full embrace of grass-roots solutions to our neo-conservative/neo-liberal political and economic problems and its core value of liberty for the individual, the Pirate Party has an enthusiastic supporter in me.

Twitter: @Mark_S_Aldrich

Categories: International

The Pirate Times is “Under the Weather”

24 May, 2017 - 17:38

You may have noted that the Pirate Times is not posting as regularly as usual recently. This is due to a combination of illness and injury to some of our key team members. We will endeavour to resume normal service as soon as we can. We are looking for some writers to fill the gap and if you are interested in providing an article or two then now would be a good time to step forward.

We are also looking for more guest posts. Whenever you have anything newsworthy to tell the international pirates then write together a short (or long?) article. Our editorial team will help with proofreading and ensuring an objective tone is used before publication. Send your articles to guestpost@piratetimes.net

We hope and expect to be back to normal in a month or two. In plenty of time for some events and elections that will be of interest to all Pirates and associated parties and movements around the world.

We thank you for your patience,

Your Pirate Times Team.

 

Categories: International

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

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