Our submission has been made to the government on the latest proposed overreaches to a business first copyright lobby legislation.

We made a point of highlighting how our recommendations from previous years have been ignored, and indeed multiple governments for years have been ignoring recommendations from civil society bodies into implementing key copyleft provisions into Australian law. This latest overreach contains serious concerns including the removal of judicial oversight from arbitrary site blocking and expansionary overly broad terminology which carries the threat of insidious corporate and governmental censorship. The full submission [1] can be found on the inquiry web page [2].

Our ideal world is one where fair use provisions are protected, where monopolist IP lockdowns are busted, where all people have access to our culture and media with reasonable remuneration to the creators and not a parasitic industry built off their backs.

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Julian Assange has been charged under seal by the US Government, confirming what has been long suspected.

As the result of a cut-and-paste error [1], the US Government has revealed what was suspected all along – that the US Government has been secretly working to prosecute Assange to the full extent of their available laws. Assange has claimed this all along, and this new evidence shows his concerns were justified.

The Pirate Party supports all whistleblowers. Wikileaks publications have assisted in revealing government crimes, distortions and public lies, where the US Government has been known to hide inconvenient truths under the cover of security.

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Last week, the parliament of the European Union narrowly voted to adopt copyright protectionist measures, at the urging of private corporations, that include a “link tax” on hyperlinks and force all but the smallest sites to police uploaded content for copyright registered material.[1] Pirate Party Australia stands with the European digital rights community in opposing rent seeking copyright protectionist policies and will vigorously fight to prevent such restrictive laws from being implemented in Australia.

The link tax has already caused economic damage in the 5 years since it was implemented in Germany and has not proven to successfully monetise so called “secondary uses” of press publications.[2] The policing of uploaded content will require either vast amounts of human staff manually approving content, or an automated filter which will hamper or shut down user generated content to the web’s largest sites. Such an automated filter is prone to a high rate of failure equivalent to active censorship.[3] As sites will now be automatically liable for all content uploaded, without even the inadequate protection of the American’s Digital Millenium Copyright Act safe harbour provisions, websites will be forced to err on the side of caution and block significantly more than they are required to resulting in legal (or morally acceptable fair use) content uploads to be blocked.[4]

A spokesperson from a group supporting the amended legislation claimed it would force content hosts to “play fair” and close the “value gap” by preventing the exploitative use of content. Said spokesperson did not clarify whether they considered the fair use and non infringing user generated content (which would be blocked under the new legislation) to be exploitative.[5][6]

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On Friday August 31st, whistleblower Chelsea Manning was due to fly into Australia on a speaking tour about her experiences and activism.

Chelsea Manning was a key participant in the 2010 video leaks of a 2007 US air strike in Baghdad. Those leaks revealed the killing of two Reuters journalists and multiple civilians, considered by some to be war crimes.[1] However, once her actions were discovered, she was sentenced to 35 years in jail across multiple charges, serving seven of them until her sentence was commuted by Barack Obama. Her convicted charges included espionage, theft, computer fraud and breaches of military regulations. The information was published by Wikileaks.[2]

While some Americans call her a traitor for actions, we in the Pirate Party offer her support for her brave actions in revealing the inhumane actions of the US armed forces in Baghdad. Under official Party Policy[3][4] we have a commitment to offer diplomatic aid to overseas whistleblowers who have acted in the public good; we consider Chelsea Manning to have done so. On the same basis we support aid to whistleblower Edward Snowden who revealed mass US government spying on European and Australian citizens in 2013 and now forced to seek asylum from the US, and to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange who has been under indefinite detention in the London Ecuadorean Embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to the US.

Party President Miles Whiticker said, “In the face of unjust laws, it is the duty of all moral individuals to agitate for change. We do not advocate breaking the law. However, we do seek the strongest protections for whistleblowers in national and international law, whether they are exposing war crimes overseas or corruption and fraud within Australia.”

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Pirate Party Australia supports moves by Australian Citizens to opt out of the Federal Government’s MyHealth Record System. Many flaws within the system have been exposed by the Australian media since the Opt Out period began on 16 July, 2018.

While Pirate Party Australia supports a national system of electronic health records in principle, the MyHealth Record systems fails to provide the basic privacy safeguards that should be enforced for such a system, combined with a mandatory Opt Out system rather than Australian Citizens being asked to opt in.

“The MyHealth Record system as it was initially rolled out looks like a lazy and poorly thought out IT project,” stated Pirate Party President Miles Whiticker. “This is a continuation of the Federal Coalition Government’s shocking record on IT infrastructure and privacy matters. It should only ever have been an Opt In system,” Miles continued, “and while we understand that the issue has since been rectified, that initially Australian Law Enforcement Agencies would not have required a warrant or court order to access the information held on MyHealth Record is concerning to Pirate Party Australia and should be to all privacy advocates.”

“Pirate Party Australia would encourage all Australian Citizens to opt out of MyHealth Record before the current 15 October 2018 deadline.”

How to opt-out of My Health Record, courtesy of the Australian Privacy Foundation:

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