From revelations around bungled and secret Australian government censorship to explosive new details about the massively expanded surveillance apparatus of the United States, the people of western nations are being treated like citizens under an authoritarian regime, deprived of their right to know what their governments are doing in their names, under the auspices of ‘national security’.
As the world continues to learn the full extent of spying and surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States, questions must be asked as to whether Australians have been caught up in the surveillance. Further revelations now implicate the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) agency as participating in the PRISM program, an NSA program intercepting communications such as emails, photos and videos from the largest technology companies including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype and more .
Australians have a right to know if and under what terms any Australian intelligence agencies may also have been involved in the PRISM program and whether their personal information has been compromised or surreptitiously accessed by foreign intelligence agencies.
Pirate Party Australia condemns news that Sydney law firm Marque Lawyers have demanded the details of Australian Internet users from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Thankfully, ISPs have resisted the move and Marque Lawyers have indicated a desire to use the courts to pursue suspected downloaders, starting with preliminary discovery orders. This sort of approach is reminiscent of US-style copyright shakedowns.
The iiNet ruling, while protecting ISPs from liability for the activities of customers, opened the way for this sort of predatory suit which had thus far not yet materialised in Australia, as groups like AFACT had been attempting to negotiate a deal with ISPs to deal with file sharing, which ultimately failed.
“Ambulance-chasing legal action does nothing to support content creators, who are the reason we have copyright. This kind of extortionate behaviour only benefits the commission based pay packets of opportunistic Lionel Hutz-like lawyers. It’s nothing more than an exercise in intimidation through litigation.” said Joe Miles, Pirate Party Candidate for the Senate in Victoria.
Pirate Party Australia opposes litigation of non-commercial file sharers. it is high time that sections of the content industry move with the times. Platforms like Steam, iTunes and the Amazon Kindle Store show how there is a thirst for legal, paid content when it is provided in a way that is convenient and timely.
News that the Federal Government’s financial regulator, ASIC, has started forcing Australian ISPs to block websites it suspects of providing fraudulent financial opportunities has set off warning bells for Pirate Party Australia.
The Party has long been a critic of the imposition of filtering regimes on Australian Internet users, taking particular objection to the lack of oversight and competency involved. The ASIC incident has proven to be no exception: 1,200 websites were wrongly and inadvertently blocked as a result of a single request. The IP address used by the fraudulent site was shared with several others, including the independent learning organisation Melbourne Free University.
ASIC’s order to block the website relied upon section 313 of the Telecommunications Act to justify the block, appearing to be the second time ASIC has attempted to have a website blocked.
Pirate Party Australia is pleased to formally announce that the Party has decided on candidates in four states. The Party met last month to hear presentations from members seeking candidacy for the Senate this year. Nominations came from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Tasmania.
Brendan Molloy and David Campbell, Secretary and President of the Party respectively, will be competing in the election in New South Wales.
“Australia needs strong representatives that actually stand for principles. I intend to be that representative, pushing back on the encroaching surveillance state of data retention and Internet censorship, while offering positive and much needed reform for copyright, digital liberties and civil liberties,” said Brendan Molloy, lead candidate for New South Wales.
“For too long the electorate has been treated poorly by the incumbents, assuming that the voter will only choose between the big two parties. We offer Australians a real option for political change. I look forward to the public discourse, and hope everyone will join us in creating a better future for Australia.”
Pirate Party Australia congratulates Pirate Party Iceland on its success in the Party’s maiden elections last weekend. Pirate Party Iceland was founded by Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an Icelandic parliamentarian, and other prominent Internet activists in late 2012.
In its first elections, the Party polled well, taking more than 5% of the vote, which in Iceland’s proportional electoral system equates to three Members of Parliament. This marks the first time a Pirate Party has entered a national parliament. Worldwide, however, Pirates have been elected to many state and local positions, as well as the European Parliament.
“We are very proud of the hard work the Icelandic Pirates put into this election campaign,” said David W. Campbell, President of Pirate Party Australia. “Critics who suggest the Pirate movement is a fad should make room for some humble pie. This is an historic day for the Movement and for a new generation of politics. Waves are being made around the world to give a alternative voice on issues that have traditionally been the domain of corporate interests and career politicians.”