Over the weekend of 8th and 9th January 2022, Pirate Party Australia sent a delegation from the Foreign and International Relations Committee (FIRC) to observe the General Assembly of Pirate Parties International (PPI)[1]. With excitement and pride, we observed fourteen member parties convene to hear updates from the Pirate movement around the world and carry out half-board elections[2].

From the report of the chair of PPI, Bailey Lamon (Canada), we heard that the PPI submitted a quadrennial report to the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) outlining the work that the PPI has been doing to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the major areas has been to advocate for expanding internet access to everyone to provide equality of communications and access to information. This follows on from Vice Chair Gregory Engels’s (Germany) statement delivered to the ECOSOC’s Commission for Social Development in January 2020 advocating for increased access to crowdsourcing, apps and internet enabled technology to better address homelessness[3].

The PPI also had a booth at the Internet Governance Forum 2021 in Katowice, Poland from 6th to 10th December where Gregory Engels held a lightning talk on the European Citizen’s Initiative to legalise file sharing in Europe[4]. Vice President of the European Parliament and Czech Pirate Marcel Kolaja also gave a talk on free speech and innovation in social media[5].

And more recently, PPI submitted a statement in preparation for the UN’s Ad Hoc Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies for Criminal Purposes to be held on 17th to 28th January 2022. Bailey indicated they would advocate for policy to reduce surveillance and other digital crimes, while empowering individuals with digital tools for privacy[6].

Internally, the PPI accepted the membership of the Pirate Party of Serbia and heard a proposal from Keith Goldstein (Israel) to develop a DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation on the blockchain) to support the PPI’s internal governance. PPI currently accepts Bitcoin donations on the Kraken wallet.

The National Council of Pirate Party Australia endorses the international Pirate movement, and is considering membership status in the PPI. To give your opinion, please reach out to the FIRC chair Jay Stephens via [email protected] or contact the National Council directly via [email protected]

References and further reading

1: https://pp-international.net/2022/01/global-pirates-elected-new-leadership-for-the-coming-two-years/
2: https://wiki.pp-international.net/wiki/index.php?title=PPIGeneralAssemblyJAN2022
3: https://pp-international.net/2020/01/pirate-statement-on-homelessness-for-the-united-nations/
4: https://pp-international.net/2021/12/ppi-stand-at-the-internet-governance-forum-dec-6-to-10-in-katowice-poland/
5: https://twitter.com/PiratKolaja/status/1469243185834639363
6: https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/cybercrime/adhoccommittee/home

With Julian Assange fighting another appeal for extradition from the UK to face charges in the US for exposing evidence of war crimes, the threat of suppressing free and honest journalism has never been more pertinent.

Since his arrest from the Ecuadorian embassy by UK police in April 2019, he has been held prisoner, mostly in London’s Belmarsh correctional facility.

“This is a blatant attack on free journalism, making a mockery of government responsibility, and thwarting accountability for the actions of elected representatives and military operations acting on our behalf”, said John August, Candidate for New South Wales and Pirate Party Australia Treasurer.

Efforts to extradite and prosecute Assange have so far failed, yet the US persists with appeals to keep Julian incarcerated, while his health continues to deteriorate.

Australian government officials continue to turn a blind eye to his plight. His family and legal representatives have made it clear that little effort has been pursued by Australian leaders toward bringing him home.

“Marise Payne, minister for Foreign Affairs, should release an immediate statement condemning the extradition of Julian Assange to the US”, said David Kennedy, civil liberties spokesperson for Pirate Party Australia.

If elected into government, we will place pressure on major parties who have shown blatant disregard for the health and wellbeing of an Australian citizen, still being held on remand in London pending legal appeals regarding his extradition to the US.

Pirate Party Australia supports free and open journalism, and promotes transparency across the actions of our elected representatives. We will continue to work toward a culture of civil liberty, and government transparency.

With your support, we can pursue a future which protects journalistic integrity, freedom of thought, and open discussion.

In a world leading move, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has again declared his intent to crack down on human rights in Australia, by announcing restrictions to online anonymity1. Privacy is a fundamental right of free and open democracies, so the Pirate Party has defended privacy in Australia since its inception in 2008. This is despite the fashionable excuse to look tough on socially unacceptable trends, the latest of which is online trolling. But the Prime Minister’s falling polls are simply not a good enough excuse. Privacy is an essential underpinning of human dignity, encompassing the freedom to control your cultural presence, and manage your own identity. A free and trusting society cannot exist without the protection of an individual’s private life.2

“While back benchers set up anonymous profiles to undermine their critics, the Government points the fingers at others doing similar. Of course, it’s fine when the Government does something dodgy – it’s only wrong when others do it,” said Pirate Party justice spokesperson Brandon Selic.

The Pirate Party stands with the approximately 26 million Australians who do not have access to parliamentary privilege and maintain a right to anonymity in the face of so called “SLAPP” lawsuits designed to discourage public criticism of government figures. This is especially notable given Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton’s recent defamation suit against refugee advocate Shane Bazzi.3

Despite vagueness of the announcement, these new powers are likely only to be enacted through civil court cases, meaning it is out of reach for any Australians without the time, energy or financial resources to pursue. Communications experts claim this will not help 99% of victims of trolling in Australia.4,5 Even advocates for ending online abuse are claiming the measures will be ineffective, such as non-profit Reset Australia.6

“The right to criticise governments and elected representatives is a necessary freedom in any democracy. Increasingly restrictive legislation and the threat of legal action have a very chilling effect on free speech by suppressing the opinions of ordinary Australians and concentrating the control of public discourse to a small number of media organisations and online social platforms, ” said Pirate Party civil liberties spokesperson David Kennedy.

So the Pirate Party accepts Scott Morrison’s war against human rights, on behalf of ordinary Australians who understand that to the failing Liberal-National government, “criticism” and “bullying” are indistinguishable. Twitter user @marleyhodgman put it best: “It is, of course, not designed to prevent online bullying. It’s designed to enable offline bullying, by the Duttons of the world.”7

References and further reading:

1: https://www.pm.gov.au/media/combatting-online-trolls-and-strengthening-defamation-laws

2: https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Platform#Privacy

3: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-06/peter-dutton-defamation-case-against-refugee-advocate/100517922

4: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/federal-government-social-media-big-tech-crackdown-trolls-defamation-law

5: https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/morrison-s-war-on-trolls-offers-a-tantalising-future-20211129-p59d6i.html

6: https://au.reset.tech/news/troll-hunting-isn-t-solution-to-social-media-s-hate-problem/

7: https://twitter.com/marleyhodgman/status/1465403511810637824

Hi Pirates,

We concluded our emergency National Congress this morning!

If you’re a full member, you should have received (or be about to receive) two emails from our voting system. These will let you vote in the post-Congress ballots.

There are six questions that will be put to you, our members:

1. CAP-1, which is the support framework for joining an electoral coalition;
2. CAP-2, which aligns our party constitution a bit better with the NSW Model Constitution;
3. FM-1, which means we join Fusion;
4. PM-1, which introduces a Sovereign Wealth Fund policy;
5. PM-2, a minor wording update to our Education policy;
6. Approval voting to endorse our first four preselection candidates.

The CAPs are three-quarters majority votes with a 20% quorum requirement. FM-1, PM-1 and PM-2 are two-thirds majority votes (no quorum requirement). Each preselection candidate must receive a simple majority of support in order to be endorsed.

You can peruse the minutes from both days of Congress here:
https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/PirateEmergencyCongress_2021/Minutes

Read CAP-1 and CAP-2 here:
https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/PirateEmergencyCongress2021/ConstitutionalAmendments

Read FM-1, PM-1 and PM-2 here:
https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/PirateEmergencyCongress_2021/Motions

And read the candidate nominations here:
https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/PirateEmergencyCongress_2021/Nominations

If you’re not a full member, for example if your membership has lapsed, simply visit members.pirateparty.org.au to join or renew. Next week we’ll be voting on the rankings of other parties, which will inform our preference negotiations.

We thank you for your continued support!

Kind Regards,
Alex Jago
Secretary
Pirate Party Australia

The Pirate Party commemorates the memory of Aaron Swartz: hacker, activist, and Internet freedom fighter.

Today we commemorate the birth of Internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz in Brooklyn, New York City on November 8th 1986. As co-founder of Reddit and contributor to the RSS1.0 web specification, he was immersed in computers, technology and internet culture from a young age. But It was his download of hundreds of thousands of academic journal entries in 2010 that became his greatest act of self sacrifice. For the crime of legally accessing journal articles through his JSTOR account granted by Harvard, he was punished with $1 million dollars in fines and a 35 year jail sentence that was never carried out after he died of suicide on January 11th 2013.[1][2] His fight for freedom of access to scientific knowledge is carried on by Alexandra Elbakyan, the founder of https://scihub.org/ [3]

Read More