Pirate Party Australia recently made a submission to the Productivity Commission’s “Right to Repair” inquiry.[1] While giving the Productivity Commission credit for their approach, we worry it will end up an ineffective PR exercise, given the Government’s record and existing treaties and legislation obstacles to the “Right to Repair”.

Abuse of Intellectual Property is rightly increasing in prominence. “Repair Cafes” and other initiatives are opening up throughout Australia. The fact the Government is showing an interest is a positive, in its way. Nevertheless, the treaties the Government is a signatory to, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement 2011 and laws such as the Copyright Act 1968 are opposed to the recognition of a right-to-repair. Sadly, the inquiry may end up as lip service, while the Productivity Commission has made a genuine attempt to engage with the issues. In addition, in the past both parties in Government have been very selective in implementing Productivity Commission recommendations – and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it again.

We suspect the Government will continue to allow big business to abuse its position and make little substantial progress on the “Right to Repair”.

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This week is Love Data Week, which is all about celebrating the analysis, sharing, reuse and preservation of data.

“This is a topic near and dear to the Pirate Party’s heart,” said Miles Whiticker, President of Pirate Party Australia. “Information may well want to be free, but it’s human effort that makes it so. We salute archivists, librarians, and researchers everywhere — their tireless efforts ensure knowledge gets out of the filing cabinet and into the public consciousness.”

The Pirate Party has a core policy goal of ensuring that knowledge can remain free. Its legislative proposals include copyright exemptions for libraries, archives, public education and access for people with disabilities. If in government, it would require Open Access provisions for all publicly-financed scientific and academic research.

For more information, follow the #lovedata21 hashtag on Twitter.

In November last year, Burma1 held its second democratic election since the military coup d’etat in 1962[2]. Unfortunately history repeated itself on the 1st of February as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Min Aung Hlaing initiated a new coup d’etat, claiming that the elections were “fraudulent” and arresting the long time democracy activist and State Counselor (equivalent to a Prime Minister) Aung San Suu Kyi as well as President President Win Myint along with other ministers and their deputies, who were due to be sworn in the next day.[3]

Pirate Party Australia reached out to democracy activist John* from Yamethin in the Mandalay region, who told us “The military has performed coup d’etat in our country and detained the state counselor. Protesters and people who are participating civil disobedience are now in serious threats of being violently destroyed. We welcome your support and want to request you to help support our funds if we found one.”

Regarding Aung San Suu Kyi, they had this to say: “She’d approved of [the Rohingyan genocide] and we are enraged by it. She stayed silent to what awful things military did to the ethnic and religious minorities. People are on her side and we (me and other leftists) critiqued her. But we simply don’t see any reason our revolution will succeed if she were not to participate. So we are in solidarity with both her supporters and people who don’t support her because our common enemy for now is the military.”

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Pirate Party Australia stands with Pirate Party Turkey (PPTR) and their committee member Ural Önel, who has been arrested and assaulted by police for his involvement in national protests over the last month.
PPTR has been calling on people to join the rallies, expressing solidarity and unification in the rights of all people in Turkey, and urging them to stand up and not remain silent in the face of outright injustice and inequality.

“Many students are being taken into custody for their participation in protests nationwide;” said a PPTR spokesperson. “Ural Önel, from PPTR’s Refoundation Comittee, was taken during a protest in Ankara. He, like many other protesters, was beaten and detained without any proper legal reason. Many of the detained students saw bad treatment from officials. Fortunately Ural has since been released, and is recovering. Our Party demands the release of all those in unlawful detention under the Government! We will not stand down!”

Ural is among hundreds of largely LGBTI students, but also teachers and other Turkish people who have been arrested at many similar rallies held in the capital Ankara, Istanbul and other cities following the un-democratic appointment of Boğaziçi University’s new head by President Erdoğan, which circumvented the University’s own election process. This has not happened at the University since the military coup of 1980, and has been labelled a clear attack on educational freedom and integrity, prompting some of the countries’ largest demonstrations for over 7 years.

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Pirate Party Australia is disappointed but unsurprised that the Australian Labor Party, rather than standing up for everyday Australian internet users, side with the Liberal National Coalition on yet another round of legislative nonsense that panders to the interests of their corporate masters.[1]

We are, however, surprised and disappointed that the Australian Greens have chosen to endorse what amounts to a stealth tax targeted at Google and Facebook, except paid directly to Murdoch’s News Corp, to maintain his failing business model. In addition to paying royalties to News Corp, the Greens are asking Facebook and Google to hand over details of algorithmic changes and data collection to inform News Corp’s “business decisions”. Little wonder Google might pull their search product, with their trade secrets under threat. This completely ignores the referral value provided to news media organisations, which Google estimates at greater than $200 million[2] and Facebook greater than $400 million[3].

The Pirates wonder at the cowardice of these parties in avoiding what could be world leading legislation in user privacy. By indulging such tantrum-throwing, the Liberals abandon their stated virtues of free enterprise and a competitive marketplace of ideas in exchange for groveling cronyism, the Labor party betrays the interests of their most staunch constituents, and the Greens are blinded by their mistrust of private enterprise.

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