02 May 2016

TTIP och internets frihet


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


I dag har det läckt ut material om "frihandelsavtalet" mellan EU och USA, TTIP. Som väntat finns tecken på ett nytt försök att offra vårt fria och öppna internet för upphovsrättsindustrins särintressen.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-05-02 16:47:00)

Joint Civil-Society Statement Addresses Net Neutrality in Europe

Paris, 2 may 2016 — In a joint letter, 73 organisations from 31 countries call on the European Telecom Regulators to uphold net neutrality in their current negotiations about the future of the Internet in Europe.

After 2 years the EU adopted a net neutrality law which leaves many core questions up for interpretation. The Telecom Single Market regulation was adopted in October 2015 in second reading in the European Parliament.

The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC) and the 28 telecom regulators are currently negotiating guidelines that clarify the recently adopted ambigous European net neutrality law. The regulators have time until August 2016 to publish their final guidelines and will hold a public consultation in June to July.

Europe is in the final stages of the fight for net neutrality. Whether zero-rating, DPI and paid prioritization are allowed for half a billion people depends on the final guidelines that will be published late August 2016. Europe could either follow the global trend towards strong safeguards or set a dangerous precedent.

"This is important that BEREC's guidelines lay the foundations for a neutral and open internet for the upcoming years. This is the only way to ensure fundamental freedoms" says Agnès de Cornulier, Legal and Policy Analysis Coordinator at La Quadrature du Net.

The letter from 73 NGOs calls on the telecom regulators to consider:

  • So called "specialised services" which risk becoming paid fast lanes that circumvent all net neutrality safeguards.They should be tightly defined to only cover services which are technically not possible over the open internet;
  • Interpreting the EU regulation as banning application-specific Zero-Rating because it is a harmful practice that restricts consumer choice, perpetuates less expensive low data volumes and distorts competition;
  • Traffic management should be as application-agnostic as possible. When telecom companies decide about the priority of data packages this risks discriminating against services, including encrypted traffic, harming user choice.

The legal text can be read to both allow and prohibit paid fast-lanes, zero-rating or privacy-intrusive traffic managment forms like Deep Packet Inspection. Basically the legislator kicked the can down the road and now the unelected regulators have to decide on the future of Europe's Internet. This is essential to keep pressuring the telecom regulators in order to ensure the interests of European internet users and this despite the major failings of the process. Besides this public warning, La Quadrature du Net and the other organizations which signed this letter invite internet users to report violations of net neutrality they could have observed on the website respectmynet.eu and to take part in the public consultation available on the website savetheinternet.eu and this in order to alleviate the weaknesses of this European regulation and to enlight regulators.

Read also the letter of the 73 organizations addressed to the BEREC.
See also EDRI's analysis.

(by neurone1000 at 2016-05-02 14:33:40)

30 April 2016

Vad lär vi oss av fiaskot kring bröderna Abdesalam?


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


Paris-terroristerna var kända av belgisk polis, åratal i förväg. De misstänktes även för att ha något stort på gång. Men polisen ägnade sig åt annat. Därmed kan Paris-attantaten knappast motivera mer massövervakning av vanligt folk.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-30 20:27:00)

International Day of Action Against DRM – May 3rd

RADl

On Tuesday 3 May 2016, the world comes together to say “No!” to Digital Restrictions Management

DefectivebyDesign.org is calling for a global day of action on 3 May to protest against DRM.

Who are DefectivebyDesign.org?

DefectivebyDesign.org is an international, participatory and grassroots campaign which unites a wide range of projects, public interest organisations, web sites and individuals in exposing DRM-encumbered devices and media for what they really are – defective by design. In raising public awareness of the danger of a technology that requires us to give-up control of our computers and restricts access to digital data and media, it hopes in the long-term aim to eliminate DRM as a threat to innovation among producers of digital media and to the privacy and freedom of digital media users.

What is DRM?

Digital Restrictions Management is the practice of imposing technological restrictions on what users can and can’t do with their digital media. Such built-in restrictions can prevent you from, for example, copying or sharing a piece of music, reading an ebook on another device, or playing a single-player game without an internet connection.

Why is this a problem?

DefectivebyDesign.org argues that, by imposing limits and controls on both hardware and software, DRM systems oblige customers to use particular platforms, which means you can only access your media on an artificially restricted number of devices. DRM may also tie your files to an online account, which allows for you to be cut-off from accessing your media in certain localities, and even be stripped of your media by having your files remotely deleted. Without DRM, you would retain control over where, when, how and on what platforms you choose to use your files.

“If we want to avoid a future in which our devices serve as an apparatus to monitor and control our interaction with digital media, we must fight to retain control of our media and software.”

– DefectivebyDesign.org

But DRM not only limits the freedom of those who have acquired their media through DRM-encumbered platforms; it also restricts those who publish their work digitally. When a distributor gains significant control over a particular market, DRM enables them to lock their customers into their platform. And once customers are locked in, so are publishers. For if a publisher decides to switch distributors, customers might then have to re-purchase their media on the new platform. And this means that businesses that dominate a market can dictate not only the prices they charge their customers, but also the price they pay producers for the media they supply.

What can we do?

DefectivebyDesign.org is not being prescriptive in the action people can take locally to draw attention to the dangers of DRM. Basically, it is encouraging people around the world to do something that will raise awareness among the public and offers ideas, support and discussion on its community website.

“We support event planners of all experience levels by supplying printable materials, putting you in touch with other activists near you and online, and publicizing your event for maximum impact. If you’re interested in planning an event but looking for help from someone in your area, join the DRM Elimination crew discussion list or the #dbd IRC channel on Freenode and introduce yourself.”

– Zak Rogoff, digital rights organizer and the campaigns manager at the Free Software Foundation

Featured image:  Readers’ Bill of Rights CC BY-SA 3.0
Updated 30/4: Article originally stated that the 3rd was a Wednesday [sic]

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Kommentera! (by Andrew McCallum at 2016-04-30 15:53:07)

29 April 2016

CETA: ISDS and data protection

This is the fourth in a series of blogs on the EU-Canada trade agreement (CETA) and data protection.

In earlier blogs we saw that under the CETA text Canada can give our personal data related to financial services, transfered to Canada, a lower protection than under the standard set by the Court of Justice of the EU in the Safe Harbour ruling. This is relevant as Canada is a member of the “Five Eyes”, a group of countries committed to (suspicionless) mass surveillance. We also saw that CETA does not allow data protection measures based on a higher data protection standard than agreed in CETA.

Textual shortcomings especially become clear in conflict situations. In case the EU would strongly act to protect our personal data and would consider to suspend data flows to Canada, Canadian financial institutions would be able to exploit the textual shortcomings using CETA’s investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. A conflict scenario may clarify this.

A scenario

After ratification of CETA a European citizen collects evidence of disproportionate surveillance in Canada and files a complaint [1]; it ends up at the EU Court of Justice. Only the court can invalidate the legal basis for data transfers (compare paragraphs 52 and 62 Safe Harbour ruling). The Court invalidates (the adequacy decision and) CETA article 13.15.

There will be negotiations and face saving measures. But in the end, if suspicionless surveillance continues, EU data protection authorities can suspend data flows to Canada. In our scenario with boldly acting actors, they do.

Canada initiates arbitration under CETA chapter 29. This may result in retaliatory measures.

Canadian investors initiate an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) case. They argue that allowing cross border data flows in a trade agreement and then suspending the data flows based on a higher standard of data protection than agreed is manifestly arbitrary (CETA article 8.10). The EU created legitimate expectations (CETA article 8.10 (4)) by concluding CETA including a lower standard of privacy protection in article 13.15. ISDS tribunals have interpreted legitimate expectations in a broad way. [2]

Furthermore the investors argue that the EU expropriated in an arbitrary and discriminatory way (article 8.12) by suspending data flows to Canada but not to other countries with comparable surveillance. In the past ISDS tribunals have seen the exercise of discretionary power by enforcement agencies as discriminatory. [3] We already saw that the ISDS variant in CETA lacks independent adjudicators. This may enhance the risks for the EU. The tribunal decides to award damages including expected profits and interests looking back to the original decision. The Appellate Tribunal confirms the award.

This puts pressure on the authorities competent to suspend data transfers and compromises their independence. In the light of potentially high damages they may decide not to suspend data flows even if they should to protect our privacy.

In the past the EU Court of Justice has strictly protected the independence of data protection authorities. The Court invalidates ISDS in CETA. However, after termination of the agreement the investment chapter including ISDS shall continue to be effective for a further period of twenty years (CETA article 30.9(2)). This undermines the effectiveness of the Court. The pressure on our authorities continues for twenty more years.

To remove interferences with privacy, with the independence of authorities, and with the effectiveness of the Court takes a lot of work and 25 to 30 years – if successful. CETA is not compatible with the EU Treaties and Charter of fundamental rights.

CETA does not come alone

CETA does not come alone. We see the same construct in the draft EU-Singapore, draft EU-Vietnam, partly concluded EU-Ukraine and concluded EU-South Korea trade agreements. [4]

If we don’t act now the construct will spread out more and more.

Notes

[1] CETA article 28.6 National security, page 214, allows Canada to not provide information on surveillance.

[2] CETA article 8.10 (4) includes a specific representation which does not have to be in writing. This opens the possibility to start cases based on oral promises and leaves the door open for future application of the Bilcoin approach. Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, The TPP’s Investment Chapter: Entrenching, rather than reforming, a flawed system: “Under that approach, a tribunal identifies what it considers to be reasonable or legitimate expectations – which may have been generated by a wide range of even non-binding government conduct and need not rise to the level of actual ‘rights’ – and then strictly scrutinizes government actions or inactions to determine whether the investors’ expectations were wrongly frustrated.” In contrast, Netherlands’s highest general administrative court (Raad van State) is very restrictive regarding legitimate expectations; see for instance decision 201113437/1/R2, 20 juni 2012.

[3] Discrimination in trade and investment agreements usually revers to discrimination based on nationality (national treatment). However, ISDS tribunals have seen any disparate treatment as discriminatory. Enforcement agencies have limited resources. They have discretionary power: they are allowed to act in some cases and skip others. ISDS tribunals have seen the exercise of such discretionary power as discrimination. This undermines the effectiveness of enforcement agencies. See Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, page 9, The TPP’s Investment Chapter: Entrenching, rather than reforming, a flawed system.

[4] for EU-Singapore see here; EU-Vietnam Chapter 8 Chapter III data transfers article (…) page 84; Chapter 8 Chapter II investment including ISDS page 6; Chapter 8 Chapter VII article (…) page 89 general exception including “not inconsistent”; Chapter 13 dispute settlement; EU-Korea articles 7.43 and 7.50; no ISDS but there are many EU countries with investment treaties with South Korea; Chapter 14 dispute settlement; EU-Ukraine articles 141 and 129; no ISDS but there are many EU countries with investment treaties with Ukraine; dispute resolution title IV chapter 14

Kommentera! (by Ante Wessels at 2016-04-29 15:19:37)

28 April 2016

Postmodernismen är död. Leve friheten.


Postmodernismen har gått vilse. Den blev ett träsk av grälsjuk identitetspolitik, relativism och begreppsupplösning.

Det hade kunnat bli annorlunda. Att ifrågasätta, ompröva och ha ett öppet sinne är absolut inte fel. Tvärt om. Men att för den sakens skull kategoriskt förneka verklighet, logiskt tänkande och utveckling blir bara nipprigt.

Frågan är vad som kommer efter postmodernismen. Finns det något förhållningssätt till samhället som leder framåt och bygger upp istället för att bara obstruera?

Mitt svar är ja.

Till att börja med måste samhällsdebatten sluta fred med fakta och logik. Om man över huvud taget skall kunna föra vårt samhälle framåt, då måste man verka i verkligheten.

Pendeln får inte heller slå tillbaka mot konservativ auktoritet, konformism eller nymoralism.

Mångfald är positivt. Men den måste bygga på individen, inte på kollektiv. Alla är olika, har olika förutsättningar, olika krav på livet, olika önskemål, olika preferenser, olika livssyn och vill göra olika val i livet.

Vad som behövs är frihet, där människor bedöms efter och har ansvar för sina egna handlingar.

Politiken bör i största möjliga utsträckning lämna människor i fred. Den bör syssla med så lite som möjligt – men å andra sidan sköta dessa saker bra. Vi skall ha få lagar men mycket ordning. De grundläggande fri- och rättigheterna skall respekteras. Folket skall betraktas som individer, som fria medborgare – inte som ansiktslösa undersåtar. Alla skall ha lika rättigheter (och skyldigheter).

Människor måste betros med frihet, vars gräns naturligt går där man kränker någon annans frihet eller rättigheter.

Denna frihet är en förutsättning för individens lycka och samhällets framåtskridande. Den måste komma från folket – som därför måste ta strid med alla de krafter som vill styra och ställa över andra människor.

Detta kräver mod. Här kan det vara värt att reflektera över att motsatsen till mod inte nödvändigtvis är feghet, utan snarare konformism och underkastelse. Det är de bojor vi måste kasta av oss.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-28 15:49:00)

M vill ha fler husrannsakningar hos bidragstagare, utan att ha räknat

Hembesök

Moderaterna vill göra fler husrannsakningar hos bidragstagare, trots att det kommer höja kostnaderna istället för att sänka dem

Moderaterna vill att socialtjänsten ska göra oanmälda husrannsakningar hemma hos alla som ansöker om att få försörjningsstöd, för att kontrollera att de inte fuskar.

Dumheten i förslaget överträffas bara av elakheten.

Det finns inga pengar att hämta på att försöka plundra de allra fattigaste människornas hem. Visitationsrundorna kommer kosta massor med pengar att genomföra, eftersom de tar massor av tid för socialarbetarna. Nettot kommer bli negativt för kommunernas budgetar.

Administrationskostnaden för försörjningsstöd är redan idag oproportionerligt dyr. Kostnaden för att betala ut 11 miljarder i försörjningsstöd uppgår till ungefär 4 miljarder. Det är helt vettlöst. Och med det här förslaget blir byråkratin ännu dyrare, utan att någon enda människa blir hjälpt.

Det här M-förslaget är helt baserat på känslor, utan att någon har tittat det minsta på siffrorna. Och väldigt osympatiska känslor:

”De som har det sämre än jag kan gott få det ännu sämre. Även om det kostar kommunerna mångmiljonbelopp i ökad administration”.


Kommentera! (by Christian Engström at 2016-04-28 11:51:50)

Video: Jag pratar basinkomst hos Frihetsfronten

Igår pratade jag basinkomst på Frihetsfrontens talarkväll.

Det blev en väldigt konstruktiv och trevlig diskussion, och jag vill tacka alla som var där.

Evenemanget livestreamades på Bambuser.

Se den oredigerade videon här (2 tim, föredraget börjar 11 minuter in i videon)

Powerpointbilderna jag använde finns här (öppas i nytt fönster)

En sammanfattning av basinkomstförslaget finns i den här bloggposten, där det också går att ladda ner det fullständiga förslaget som pdf.


Kommentera! (by Christian Engström at 2016-04-28 09:44:09)

Press Freedom Declining Around the World

press freedom decreasing because of terrorism and totalitarian tendencies around the world

Every year Reporters Without Borders (RSF) compile an index of press freedom around the world. The index has been published since 2002 and measures the state of press freedom in 182 countries. It measures “the media freedom situation based on an evaluation of pluralism, independence of the media, quality of legislative framework and safety of journalists in each country”. The data is compiled through a questionnaire (answered by experts around the globe) and combined with quantitative data on violence and abuses against journalists.

Freedom House lists 6 main threats against journalists:

  • Organized crime
  • Corruption
  • Environment and land development (e.g. illegal mining or toxic dumps)
  • Religion (both by extremists and by governments)
  • Disputed sovereignty 
  • Lèse-majesté and beyond (laws against insulting state officials)

Compared to last year the index has dropped with -3.71% and compared to 2013 the decline in press freedom is at -13.6%. Oligarchs are buying up media and exercising their own interests upon the media reporting. Internet censorship in various forms is becoming more common. Normally Europe is considered a safe haven for journalism and free speech but a decline is under way even here. RSF says that

“Counter-espionage and counter-terrorist measures were misused. Laws were passed allowing mass surveillance. Conflicts of interest increased. Authorities tightened their grip on state media and sometimes privately owned media as well.”

Governments have increasingly moved towards more totalitarian attempts at controlling the press in various countries in Europe. Hungary has made changes earlier that “enable people at the top of the government to legally spy on all people that hold important public offices. In Serbia “the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) [is] putting political pressure on journalists”. In Macedonia “65 percent of 300 respondents interviewed said they had been subject to censorship, and 53 percent said they practice self-censorship”, there has also been a large wiretapping scandal. Even Sweden (ranked 5th in 2015 and 8th in 2016) is becoming increasingly unsafe; a third of the journalists have been threatened, according to a recent poll.

However, one of the highest deterioration of Press Freedom for 2015 was in Poland.  Their decrease in the index was -11.18 points resulting in a decline with 29 places in the ranking worldwide.

“Shortly after winning the 2015 elections, the conservative Law and Justice party passed a media law empowering the government to appoint and dismiss the heads of the state radio and TV broadcast media. It took effect in January 2016. Under a second law being prepared, the contracts of all the employees of these media would be terminated. Alarmed to see a European Union member violate fundamental EU values, the European Commission launched a procedure designed to ensure respect for the rule of law in Poland.” [RSF]

Pirate Times has made extensive coverage on the press freedom deterioration in 2015. In Austria the surveillance hangs heavy. Brazil continues to feel the effects of ‘Marco Civil da Internet‘. In Illinois, USA, schools are allowed to spy on students. Spain has a repressive gag law. In Germany treason charges were brought forward to attempt silencing the press.

“The worst threat against freedom of speech is self-censorship. Being afraid of consequences for speaking your mind when it might be recorded digitally for a very long time is an example. Another threat towards freedom of speech is its potential commercialization. Genuine opinions are sometimes obfuscated by paid advertisement. We need to protect the ‘free word’ rather than the ‘paid word’.”

The state of the World Press Freedom Index is another sign why organizations like International Modern Media Institute (IMMI) are needed. They work to create more digital rights among other changes to policies and laws to enable a safe haven for journalism. Currently they are running a crowdfunding campaign where a donation will help to improve press freedom in the world.

Images: Screenshots from rsf.org

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Kommentera! (by Josef Ohlsson Collentine at 2016-04-28 03:29:42)

27 April 2016

Choosing the Best VPN (Comparing +140 services)

list of best vpn sorted by price, quality, anonymity and best value

With the increase of surveillance the need for protecting your activity online becomes more urgent. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a direct encrypted connection with another computer in a different place/country. The communication between your two computers is encrypted and all your browsing will go first through that other computer. Thus it will hide your online activity and protect your integrity.

There are many reasons to have a VPN:

  • Protect your privacy online and hide your activity from others.
  • Preventing your ISP (Internet Service Provider) from logging your internet activity.
  • Avoid tracking by government agencies on your actions online.
  • Avoid that sites visited (and installed programs), collect and send marketing information about you and about what you are doing on the internet.

ThatPrivacyGuy has made an extensive and unbiased comparison between +140 different VPN services. From the list it is clear that there is not a single obvious choice for VPN, you will have to make a choice based upon requirements and what you prioritize. At first sight the free Opera VPN might look good but it collects data for their own needs and is basically a proxy, but if that is all you need it’s a great choice.

 

list of unbiased virtual private networks comparison

See the full list of +140 VPN services

 

Images: Screenshots of sheet made by ThatPrivacyGuy, CC-BY-NC-SA, 

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Kommentera! (by Josef Ohlsson Collentine at 2016-04-27 18:02:32)

Interview with the Director of the International Modern Media Initiative

Iceland map with digital overlay

The Pirate Times connected with Guðjón Idir in Iceland to ask some questions about the International Modern Media Institute that is running a crowd funding campaign. Its aim is to form Iceland and other nations into a “Switzerland of Bits.”

Gudjon Idir
Guðjón Idir became IMMI’s Executive Director in January 2014.
His background is in philosophy, psychology and activism.
He has a passion for information freedom, human rights and has worked with refugees in Iceland.
He also dabbles in music.

 

 

Pirate Times: What laws or policies has IMMI been able to change up to now?
Guðjón:
Since IMMI’s inception, a new Information Act took effect (2013) – source protection is enhanced and we’ve already seen the Supreme Court rule in the favour of source protection in a highly publicized case.
IMMI has also prevented efforts for the EU data retention directive (now invalidated by the European Court of Justice) to be adopted in Iceland. Instead, Iceland has its own law on data retention. Which IMMI is fighting to have removed.

Pirate Times: How did IMMI manage to achieve those regulatory and legal changes?
Guðjón:
Any changes in policy or legislation comes through advocacy and research. IMMI submits written observations to parliament, attends parliamentary committee meetings (when called for), takes part in two ministerial working groups, engages with experts and raises awareness.

Pirate Times: What other policies or laws would IMMI like to change?
Guðjón:
The laws we are focusing on are:

  • defamation law reform,
  • removal of data retention,
  • whistle-blower protection,
  • intermediary limited liability,
  • virtual limited liability companies,
  • data protection,
  • and an improvement of FOI.

There is, however, a growing need for an International effort to protect whistle-blowers.

Pirate Times: Are there any other regulatory or legislative proposals that IMMI has?
Guðjón:
IMMI is working on legislative changes within two Ministerial working groups. IMMI also helped draft the IPU resolution: Democracy in the Digital Era and the Threat to Privacy and Individual Freedoms.

Pirate Times:What is the relation between IMMI and the Pirate Party?
Guðjón: The institute was established by individuals who later established the Pirate Party in Iceland. Both focus on freedom of information, protection of individual rights, and the underpinnings of a meaningful democracy.

Pirate Times: How would IMMI progress, if they do not manage to reach their funding goal?
Guðjón: We will be doing all we can to make sure we keep operational. The crowdfunding campaign is currently at 33%. That gives us 2 months. We are hoping to see it reach 100% which gives us half a year to ensure other sources of funding, which we are confident we can do.

Pirate Times:  What can someone outside of Iceland do to help?
Guðjón: Raise awareness. Organise around similar objectives in their own countries. There are quite a few NGOs fighting for Internet freedom and the like, and they are all invaluable.
Currently, IMMI really needs financial support, so any help in that regard goes a long way. IMMI is fully independent, does not receive any state funding, but relies wholly on donations and project-based grants.

Pirate Times:  Would donating to IMMI mean that the Pirates have more time and resources to devote to campaigning?
Guðjón: No. It would mean that the Pirates, along with the other political parties, would have a strong watchdog and advocacy group fighting and pushing for some of their core objectives.

Pirate Times: How does IMMI benefit people in other legislatures?
Guðjón: The intention behind IMMI was always global in focus. If there is a place where journalism and individual rights are protected, it changes everything. It both allows those working within the jurisdiction to enjoy the legal protections, whilst also encouraging others to follow suit. As we are dealing with a digital reality that is more borderless, the prospect of a country truly valuing freedom of information and free expression, will affect public debate in a much wider sense. Various media and NGOs could operate from within Iceland. Content can be hosted in Iceland. And what we are looking into with Virtual Limited Liability Companies, is whether a company can be registered in Iceland only virtually, to enjoy the legal protections we are fighting for.
The IPU resolution we worked on was adopted by the 166 countries that the IPU consists of and can, and should, affect local laws in all of those countries.

Pirate Times: Is there a way of introducing IMMI laws to other countries?
Guðjón: Yes. This is a model any one can push for. In Iceland, there was a parliament that unanimously adopted the IMMI resolution. The first step is getting broad support. Then there is a host of different laws that need focusing on in order to create an environment that respects individual rights and promotes journalism and enlightenment. The IMMI institute also functions in an advisory capacity and it should and will promote such legal reform around the world.

Pirate Times: Are there any plans to start institutes in other countries?
Guðjón: Not as of yet. At the moment we are fighting to stay operational in Iceland. The next step up from that objective is to level up and increase our capacity. If everything goes as well as it can, further international cooperation would be a natural trajectory.

Pirate Times: Is there any collaboration with organizations, in other countries, that are similar to IMMI?
Guðjón:
IMMI collaborates with various different NGOs, in various different International efforts. IMMI also has an advisory board that includes people from other organizations.

Pirate Times: How do you research relevant laws from around the world?
Guðjón: Through its network of experts and activists. IMMI has often mentioned the need for a database of best practice law from around the world in matters relating to individual rights, freedom of information and the other fields in which IMMI operates. This is something IMMI would like to be a part of creating.

The Pirate Times would like to thank Guðjón Idir for the interview. You can help IMMI by spreading the word about IMMI, its website and donate to the Switzerland of Bits campaign.

All images by IMMI, CC BY-SA

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Kommentera! (by Andrew Reitemeyer at 2016-04-27 00:39:04)

26 April 2016

Protest in Berlin Against Death of Free Speech

pirate party germany protesting for free speech in Berlin

Bruno Kramm, leader of the Berlin branch of the Pirate Party of Germany, was arrested last Friday. Kramm now faces prosecution under section 103 of the German criminal code for ‘insulting’ Turkish President, Recep Erdoğan. Despite the pending prosecution he is already preparing for his next protest.

On 29 April 2016, Kramm will take part in a silent ‘Mahnmarsch’ (warning march) through Berlin’s Tiergarten to a demonstration outside the Turkish Embassy on ‘Tiergartenstrasse’. The marchers will have their mouths taped closed and will carry grave-lights to mark the death of free speech

A temporary memorial has been erected in the square in front of the Embassy, in the form of a large dove of peace made from sheet steel, before which flowers, toys, poems, tea-lights and other gifts have been left for Kurdish and Syrian victims of the Turkish regime.

The protest will begin with a rally at 5pm in front of the Chancellery, with speeches on the theme of refugees, press and artistic freedom, and the rise of the surveillance state. Following the rally, the protesters will conduct their silent march to the Turkish Embassy, where they will lay flowers at the refugees’ memorial.

Featured image: Modified screenshot from the PPDE youtube channel

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Kommentera! (by Andrew McCallum at 2016-04-26 16:19:44)

25 April 2016

A Wind of Change – Iceland, Brazil, UK, France, USA

protests and demonstrations around the world in 2016. Democracy Spring

During the past weeks, there has been a democratic wind blowing across the world. Several countries have taken to protest and direct action to demand more democracy. In Iceland the Prime Minister has left office, in Brazil the lower chamber voted to impeach the Prime Minister, and in the UK demands are being made for the Prime Minister to resign. Old politics is meeting a more connected and demanding public.

Iceland

Pirate Times has reported extensively on the events in Iceland. In brief, the former Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was discovered to have a secret offshore company, which he shared with his wife. This company owned substantial investments in the Icelandic banks that failed and had to be saved. The Prime Minister was a main negotiator representing the creditors against the banks, but he failed to disclose his personal and business interest in the negotiation. Following the revelation in the Panama Papers, one of the largest per capita protests the world has ever seen resulted in the resignation of the Prime Minister, leaving confusion in the wake of his departure.

Amid the political turmoil in Iceland there is one enduring point of stability. The Icelandic President, who has led the country for almost 20 years, has announced that he will run in the elections to stay as leader for another four years. It remains to be seen whether the Icelandic population wants the old to remain or whether it is ready for some change in leadership.

Brazil

Dilma Rousseff, the president of Brazil, might be impeached from her position. She was accused of ‘having tampered with public accounts to help get herself re-elected’. However corruption is widespread in Brazil. According to Transparency International:

In Brazil 81 per cent of those surveyed in 2013 considered political parties corrupt or extremely corrupt and eight out of ten agreed with the statement that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.

So this is not the primary reason she is being impeached.

Coupled with ‘the worst corruption scandal in the country’s history’, Rousseff has been president during the ‘biggest economic crisis in Brazil since the Great Depression’. In a recent poll she received a mere 10% approval rating. Following the protests against the planned Olympics in Brazil the public has increasingly turned towards protesting against the government. Earlier this month, an estimated three million people took to the streets across the country in anti-Rousseff demonstrations, which were reported to be larger than the protests in 1984 demanding elections and an end of the country’s military dictatorship.

If Brazil had a parliamentary system, Rousseff would have been forced out of government by a no confidence vote several months ago. This is why she needs to be impeached. The lower house has voted overwhelmingly to impeach Rousseff. In May, the Senate may vote on the impeachment and, if that happens, she would be suspended for 180 days while the affair is being investigated.

Tinoco, from Pirate Party Brazil, says that the Icelandic lesson is a good one but not a magic formula for Brazil:

To explore new, early general elections in Brazil would be be costly, counterproductive and inefficient (in many ways) for our young democracy. We must, rather, gain strength and democratically organize an agenda that reflects our needs, within our reality, to consolidate necessary changes that the current government is unable to perform. Therefore, the Icelandic lesson is valid and a valuable help to understand our present and our past, as well as to develop future strategies. However, it should not be taken as a magic formula to replicate in our context, without an evaluation and deeper criticism on our situation.

United Kingdom

In London, protesters have gathered to demand that the Tory government ends austerity immediately. According to the Standard, there were 50,000 people protesting on the streets of London on Saturday. The Independent reports that there might have been as many as 150,000. The protest has been described as ‘probably the biggest demonstration ever’ in London.

After the Panama Papers’ revelation of an offshore account owned by David Cameron’s father, there were calls for his resignation. However, the People’s Assembly is primarily focused on four demands:

  1. Health – end the Government’s spending cuts and the alleged privatization of the NHS
  2. Homes – protect social housing and put in proper rent controls
  3. Jobs – bring in a universal living wage and scrap the Trade Union Bill
  4. Education – end student tuition fees and the ‘commercialization of education’

 

We’re not saying that Cameron is toast but he’s starting to resemble a slice of bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat.

– PPUK twitter statement:

France

Similar to previous movements, such as the Indignados movement in Spain, and the Occupy movement that started in the USA and expanded worldwide, the French have started a protest movement called ‘Nuit Debout’ (which roughly translates as ‘standing up at night’). The protests began when the government extended its ‘state of emergency’ (enacted after the Paris bombings) for an additional three months. However, the main impetus for the ‘Nuit Debout’ movement came on March 31st, when several hundred thousand people across the country protested against government reforms that make it easier for companies to lay off their employees and relax the strict laws on the 35hr working week.

The government reforms were, according to the government, designed to create more jobs for young people and help reduce the high unemployment rate of 10% (26% for youth). This move to weaken worker protection was not something the French people were going to take lying down – especially since it came from a socialist government. The people felt that this was a major betrayal, and popular support for the government party has since dropped spectacularly in recent polls.

You have to understand what this movement is about and what it wants. It encompasses many small movements. What unites them all, and one reason for the commotion, is their criticism of the elite, along the lines of, “Those at the top are looking after their own interests; they do not listen to us.” The feeling of not being represented and not being taken seriously is widespread. Furthermore, the majority of French people are against Francois Hollande running as Socialist Party candidate in the next presidential election

– Claire Demesmay (French Politial Scientist)

On the night following the March 31st protests against the reforms, some people decided to gather at Place de la République to continue the protests. Since then, there have been gatherings every night of a few hundred to, sometimes, a few thousand people demanding political and economic change. The reforms that the government proposed to help reduce youth unemployment have backfired, leading to large protests consisting mainly of the young but spanning all sections of society.

Thanks to the initiators of ‘Nuit Debout’, the frame is ready. Deliberative democracy is in fact the best process to conclude a manifesto without excluding demonstrators. […] It is neither more nor less, a race against time. Before it is too late, let us hasten to give content to the container.

PPFR statement

USA

In the USA there have been demonstrations to denounce big money in politics. There are a variety of ‘legal’ ways to bribe a politician, including super PACs (a super PAC is a modern breed of political-action committee that is allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions, individuals and associations to influence the outcome of state and federal elections), lucrative job offers and campaign contributions. The protesters are identifying themselves as ‘Democracy Spring’.

The Democracy Spring effort started in Philadelphia, with several thousand embarking upon a 225km walk to Washington DC to ‘demand Congress take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice’.

In total nearly 1,000 people were arrested for protesting last week. Larry Lessig (Harvard Law School professor and former Democratic presidential candidate) was one of the arrested – a new experience for this law professor. The c0-founders of Ben & Jerry, the famous ice-cream brand, were also arrested while protesting against money in politics.

Featured image: Modified from CC-BY-NC, Charlotte Gonzalez

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Kommentera! (by Josef Ohlsson Collentine at 2016-04-25 19:06:50)

Bakgrundsmaterial: Riksdagens utredningstjänst om enhetlig moms och jobbskatteavdrag

Riksdagens utredningstjänst har gjort en utredning av hur mycket staten skulle tjäna på att införa enhetlig moms på 25%, och hur mycket dagens jobbskatteavdrag kostar i uteblivna skatteintäkter.

Utredningen är gjord på uppdrag av Sverigedemokraterna, för att tjäna som underlag till ett förslag om höjt jobbskatteavdrag som de presenterade förra veckan. Sverigedemokraternas förslag var inte särskilt genomtänkt alls. De presenterade det som en ”låglönesatsning”, men nästan alla pengar skulle gå till dem med högst lön. Ibland kan man ha otur när man sätter ihop politiska förslag.:)

Men utredningen är intressant i sig, speciellt i samband med diskussioner om basinkomst. Jag har själv presenterat ett finansierat förslag till basinkomst, där en del av den finansiering jag föreslår är just att slopa momsrabatterna och införa enhetlig moms på 25%.

Enligt Riksdagens utredningstjänst skulle det ge 54 miljarder mer till staten i en statisk beräkning räknad på 2016 års förhållanden, vilket sjunker till 47 miljarder om man tar hänsyn till att momshöjningen skulle leda till vissa ökade utgifter för staten i och med att konsumentprisindex skulle gå upp.

Det här stämmer mycket bra med den tidigare uppskattning som jag hade, att en enhetlig moms skulle dra in runt 50 miljarder i ytterligare skatteintäkter.

Vad gäller jobbskatteavdraget har jag själv inte tittat närmare på det, eftersom jag velat finansiera mitt basinkomstförslag utan att höja inkomstskatterna för någon. Men många andra förslag till basinkomst tar upp slopat eller ändrat jobbskatteavdrag som en tänkbar finansieringskälla, så det är intressant att ha en officiell och oberoende uträkning av vad jobbskatteavdraget kostar idag.

Enligt Riksdagens utredningstjänst kostar dagens jobbskatteavdrag 103 miljarder (2016).

Förutom de här siffrorna innehåller utredningen också en hel del intressanta resonemang, som kan var kul att titta på som bakgrund, om inte annat.

Ladda ner och läs Rapport 2015:2099 från Riksdagens utredningstjänst: Skatteomläggningar

 


Kommentera! (by Christian Engström at 2016-04-25 12:31:46)

CETA ISDS not conform European Parliament resolution

In February 2016 the European Commission and Canadian government published the final draft text of the EU – Canada trade agreement (CETA). This final draft includes an investment chapter with investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS is one of the most controversial elements of proposed EU trade agreements as it gives foreign investors the right to challenge government decisions outside local courts.

The ISDS section in CETA is based on the 12 November 2015 ISDS proposal for TTIP. According to Germany’s largest association of judges and public prosecutors (original in German) and the European association of judges the adjudicators would not be independent. Both associations note that the TTIP proposal is not compatible with the Council of Europe’s Magna Charta of Judges. They also doubt whether the EU is competent. [1] I noted earlier that the TTIP proposal is a threat to democracy and civil rights and that the EU commission went into denial mode regarding the effect of ISDS on software patents. Claims challenging health and environmental policies will still be possible as the new proposal provides the same substantive rights. See also Gus van Harten and S2B. For a broad analysis of ISDS see here.

The ISDS section in CETA is mostly the same as the proposal for TTIP. One notable change is that the EU commission silently vacated the much touted right to regulate. Ouch.

European Parliament resolution

Unfortunately the EU commission managed to confuse politicians. It may be good to point out that the investment chapter with ISDS in CETA does not comply with sensible demands in the European Parliament resolution on TTIP, paragraph 2 (d) (xv).

First, the CETA draft text does not provide for independent professional judges. See above the statements of the associations of judges. To provide a detail, the adjudicators would be paid per day worked (article 8.27(14) in conjunction with ICSID Regulation 14(1): “a fee of US$3,000 per day”). This creates perverse incentives to accept frivolous cases, let cases drag on, and let the only party that can initiate cases (foreign investors) win to stimulate more cases.

Second, the CETA draft text does not ensure that foreign investors will not benefit from greater rights than domestic investors. Foreign investors would benefit from greater procedural rights. CETA would give foreign investors – and only foreign investors – the right to bypass domestic legal systems and use ISDS to challenge government decisions. Foreign investors would also benefit from far reaching substantive rights, which investment tribunals have interpreted expansively, beyond the interpretations of local courts. For instance, investment tribunals have (a) seen the exercise of discretionary power by enforcement agencies as discriminatory [2], and (b) interpreted legitimate expectations in a broader way than local courts [3]. In sum, the proposal creates competing systems (ISDS versus local courts) that may drift apart, especially as the adjudicators would not be independent.

Third, the ISDS mechanism will not be subject to democratic principles and scrutiny. At the national level parliaments can change laws that do not work out well. This is not possible at the supranational level. Supranational adjudication does not have a legislative feedback loop for democratic scrutiny of the development of law. The European Parliament will not be able to step in if the ISDS adjudicators would interpret the investment protection rules expansively. The Parliament could only adopt non-binding resolutions.

Fourth, the CETA draft text undermines the jurisdiction of courts of the EU and of the Member States, as foreign investors can by-pass them. Furthermore, if the EU Court of Justice would invalidate ISDS in CETA, for instance to protect the independence of data protection authorities, article 30.9(2) provides that the investment chapter including ISDS would continue to be effective for a further period of twenty years. This undermines the effectiveness of the Court.

Fifth, the CETA draft text does not ensure that private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives. The EU commission vacated the right to regulate in the investment Chapter. CETA article 8.9 (1) now states that “the Parties reaffirm their right to regulate”, which is a referral to a right to regulate that is assumed to already exist. See also this analysis.

In a crucial aspect the proposal is worse than the current practice of the member states’ stand-alone investment treaties from which it is possible to withdraw. We can not expect the EU to withdraw from trade agreements. CETA would vastly expand the coverage of investments (see page 19) and the EU and member states would be locked in.

Foreign investors could also challenge measures to protect personal data. Within the EU legal order the Charter of fundamental rights supersedes CETA. However, ISDS adjudicators operate outside the EU legal order. For them CETA may supersede the EU legal order – including the Charter of fundamental rights. ISDS in CETA would undermine democracy, the rule of law and civil rights.

The right approach is to improve weak aspects of domestic legal systems. Domestic legal systems can combine equal access to the law with democratic scrutiny of the development of law. Investors are not obliged to invest in countries with weak legal systems. This may create an incentive for states to improve their legal system. Investors can take out political risk insurance for additional certainty.

Notes

[1] See also ClientEarth

[2] Discrimination in trade and investment agreements usually revers to discrimination based on nationality (national treatment). However, ISDS tribunals have seen any disparate treatment as discriminatory. Enforcement agencies have limited resources. They have discretionary power: they are allowed to act in some cases and skip others. ISDS tribunals have seen the exercise of such discretionary power as discrimination. This undermines the effectiveness of enforcement agencies. See Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs, page 9, The TPP’s Investment Chapter: Entrenching, rather than reforming, a flawed system.

[3] CETA article 8.10 (4) mentions a specific representation which does not have to be in writing. This opens the possibility to start cases based on oral promises and leaves the door open for future application of the Bilcon approach. Lise Johnson and Lisa Sachs: “Under that approach, a tribunal identifies what it considers to be reasonable or legitimate expectations – which may have been generated by a wide range of even non-binding government conduct and need not rise to the level of actual ‘rights’ – and then strictly scrutinizes government actions or inactions to determine whether the investors’ expectations were wrongly frustrated.” In contrast, Netherlands’s highest general administrative court (Raad van State) is very restrictive regarding legitimate expectations; see for instance decision 201113437/1/R2, 20 juni 2012.

Kommentera! (by Ante Wessels at 2016-04-25 10:17:57)

Dataskyddsförhandlingarna mellan EU och USA går trögt


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


Det nya avtalet om persondataskydd mellan EU och USA är långt ifrån klart. Det börjar framstå som allt mer uppenbart att EU inte förmår sätta kraft bakom kraven på ett starkt dataskydd – och att USA inte är speciellt intresserat av ett sådant.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-25 09:34:00)

24 April 2016

Birgitta Jonsdottir and her Speech at the Inter-Parliamentary Union

speech by birgitta jonsdottir mep for Pirate Party Iceland politician

Birgitta Jónsdóttir wrote a speech for the debate at the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The Union “brings together parliamentarians to study international problems and make recommendations for action”. The IPU was formerly known as the Inter-Parliamentary Conference and has held 134 statutory assemblies and conferences between nations since 1889. The following speech was held by Birgitta at the latest assembly which took place in Lusaka, Zambia on the 19 -23th March 2016.

——

Dear Colleges,

I have co-created two parties from nothing in the last seven years, with some really amazing diverse people, many very young. My new party, the Pirate Party has over 50% of people below 25 who would vote for us according to the opinion polls for a full year. It means we are doing something to inspire young people to be part of new systems that we are building together. Perhaps because we are very accessible online, we make policy about stuff that are meaningful to young people and invite them to create and/or influence our policy.

It’s important for young people to go into the legislative assembly unrestrained by traditions, like legal hackers, analyzing its strengths and weaknesses in order to find ways to improve the system, because we live at remarkable, transformative times. We have the library of Alexandria at our fingertips; all the recorded knowledge of the world is being digitized and made available through the Internet.

We have never been as connected as we are today, as enabled to share real-time stories of success and failure across borders of any kind. Therefore, our learning curve is steeper than ever before.

We are sharing, downloading, remixing and co-creating every day.

We made the systems, the laws, the rules, surely we can undo them.

There are some amazing direct democracy experiments being implemented with success all over the world. New types of citizen engagement platforms are being created and used to form policy and to facilitate direct democracy, such as Liquid Feedback, D-Cent, Your Priorities, DemocracyOS and WeGov.

Technology enabling direct access to power has now become simple enough that citizens can start using it to form opinion and enforce political change in a genuine grassroots, bottom-up way.

The ideologies of the old school of politics, media, monetary systems, education, corporations, and all known structures are in a state of transformation. They are crumbling. Now is the time for fundamental change on all fronts, young people have to be at the heart of the creation of the new architecture of future systems. To engage young people to be part of shaping our world, we have to allow them to take real responsibilities within all known structures and innovate new systems. It is not enough just to get more young people inside the current systems. We have to also inspire young people to be engaged. Today politics and political parties have very little trust, at least in Iceland. Parliaments are weak and that is very dangerous, it is urgent to allow new methods to direct engagement with all of us who share a society, young people and creative people are those that have to lead the way and those that have been part of the foundation of our systems to step back.

———-

Birgitta Jónsdóttir is a poet-itian currently serving as a member of parliament in Icelandic parliament for Pirate Party Iceland. She was first elected to the Icelandic parliament in April 2009 on behalf of a political movement she helped create aiming for democratic reform via direct democracy, transparency and accountability. She co-created the Pirate Party in Iceland in 2012. Last year Birgitta sponsored a motion to the IPU assembly. You can also read more about her dream for a model Iceland or read/watch her TEDx talk “We, the People, are the System

Featured image: Modified from CC-BY, Aktron / Wikimedia Commons

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Kommentera! (by Josef Ohlsson Collentine at 2016-04-24 18:52:23)

Skellefteå mot rasism och nazism

Har idag anordnat en demonstration mot rasism och nazism här i Skellefteå.

Här är talet jag höll.

Hej och tack för att ni kom.

Det demokratiska samhället står under attack. Soporna i Nordiska motståndsrörelsen blockerade uppfarten med sopor och lämnade hyllningar till Hitler samt hot.

Detta är oacceptabelt! Hot och våld är inte ett acceptabelt sätt sätt att bedriva politik, det är något vi har ett annat namn på. Terrorism.

Företrädare för SD kallade i veckan journalister för ett hot mot nationen. Samma partis företrädare poserar stolt med SS-Officerare och viftar med järnrör på stan.

Detta är organisationer som båda frodas på hat mot det som inte ser ut som det de ser i spegeln. De attraherar människor som är rädda.

Vi har problem med integrationen. Arbetslösheten bland invandrare är högre än bland de som bott i Sverige i generationer. Vi har segregation som gör att vi har stadsdelar i Sverige med över 60 olika modersmål och andra där Svenska är det enda.

Vi har problem. Problem som måste lösas. Problem vi inte kan blunda för.

Men vi ska inte låta dem som livnär sig på rädsla få formulera hur.

Dem demokratiska partierna måste ta sitt ansvar och jobba för hållbara lösningar på dessa problem, det är det enda sättet vi på ett fredligt sätt kan slå tillbaka detta hot.

Jag har blivit antidemokratisk för att jag sagt att jag inte skulle låta SD eller Nordiska motståndsrörelsen prata på den här demonstrationen. Då har man inte förstått vad demokrati innebär. Demokrati innebär att när vi går härifrån så har NMR sin fulla rätt att hålla anföranden och dela ut flygblad, det är demokratiska rättigheter. Att man har rätten att uttrycka sina åsikter. Men det innebär inte att någon annan måste upplåta plats för dem att prata och det innefattar absolut inte rätten att bli hörd. Det innebär inte heller en rätt att inte bli emotsagd och det är vad vi gör här idag.

Vi säger nej till terror som politisk metod. Vi säger nej till rädsla som politisk motivation.

Demokrati gäller även dem som inte vill ha någon. Men de verkar inte förstå vad demokrati innebär.

Det demokratiska samhället står under attack och det enda sättet att slå tillbaka är med mer demokrati.

Tack för att ni lyssnade på mig.

Var med i direksändning i Sveriges Radio P4 Västerbotten.

Norran skrev också om det och hade en bild där jag ser förbannad ut.

Folkbladet valde att dölja rapporten bakom en betalvägg, så jag väljer att inte länka…

Kommentera! (by Leif Ershag at 2016-04-24 16:10:46)

23 April 2016

Head of Berlin Pirate Party Jailed Over Erdogan Protest

free speech under threat in Berlin, Germany

This post is also available in Russian.

Bruno Kramm, the head of the Berlin branch of Germany’s Pirate Party, was arrested yesterday for ‘insulting a representative of a foreign state’. During a protest he had quoted a satirical poem by the comedian, Jan Boehmermann.

Police arrested Kramm in front of the Turkish embassy in Berlin. The arrest came during a protest against the German government’s decision (earlier this month) to authorize the prosecution of the German comedian, Jan Boehmermann, over the poem he recited on German TV targeting the Turkish leader. The Pirate Party has been staging weekly Friday demonstrations against the ‘systematic terror of censorship, oppression, despotism and killings by the dictator Erdogan’.

During yesterday’s demonstration, Kramm was approached by several police officers as he was reciting the lines and taken into custody. They brought him in on the grounds that he violated the rarely used section 103 of the German criminal code that prohibits insulting “organs and representatives of foreign states.”

In a statement published on the Party website, Kramm writes:

“When people slightly criticize the government in Turkey, they are persecuted, beaten or disappear. At the same time, the dictator Erdogan is allowed to significantly restrict the right of assembly and the freedom of expression in Germany, simply for saying that he beats Kurds and Christians.”

In a reference to the heavily criticized EU-Turkey migrant deal (recently praised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel) Kramm continues:

“Those who make such people agents of an inhumane refugee policy should not be surprised when fundamental rights also disappear in Europe.”

Pirate Times reached out to Bruno Kramm to find out that he has been released from jail but, in the next few days, he will be called to answer the charges against him under section 103 of the criminal code.

Featured image: CC, Piratenpartei

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Kommentera! (by Andrew McCallum at 2016-04-23 19:28:00)

Tysk politiker kritiserar Erdogan, grips av polis



Här griper polisen ordföranden för Piratpartiet i Berlin, Bruno Kramm.

Skälet är att han citerat den Erdogan-kritiska dikt som komikern Jan Boehmermann åtalas för att ha framfört i tv.

Så mycket är alltså yttrandefrihten värd, nu för tiden.

Läs mer här » | Youtube »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-23 09:35:00)

Dansa i protest tills regeringen följer riksdagens beslut!


Ingen kan ha missat att riksdagen härom veckan beslutade att skrota danstillståndet.

Eller rättare sagt – riksdagen gjorde ett tillkännagivande om att kravet på danstillstånd bör avskaffas. Det är en helt annan sak.

Nu är det upp till regeringen att fundera, utreda, fundera lite till och sedan kanske eller kanske inte göra något. Sossarna vill inte avskaffa danstillståndet – och regeringen ignorerar inte sällan tillkännagivanden från riksdagen. Så man får nog räkna med att detta är en process som kan ta flera år, om något kommer att ske över huvud taget.

Under tiden meddelar polisen på sin hemsida att det verkligen inte är fritt fram att dansa, bara för att riksdagen har fattat ett beslut. "Riksdagen har inte fattat beslut om att ta bort tillståndet. Polismyndigheten vill göra allmänheten uppmärksam på att det fortfarande behövs tillstånd för att arrangera offentlig tillställning i form av offentlig dans." [Länk»]

Är inte detta ett utmärkt tillfälle för ett folkligt dansuppror?

Dansa på! Låt polisen komma, om de absolut måste. Ställ till med spontandans i den lilla parken framför Rosenbad. Sätt upp en flashmob som plötsligt kör dansklubb på Riksgatan. Ordna långdans runt landets alla polishus. Dra igång conga lines på sossemöten. Och glöm inte att locka dit media!

Låt detta bli folkets sätt att visa att vi är trötta på korkade regler och förmynderi.

Låt oss starta den dansande revolutionen!

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-23 09:17:00)

22 April 2016

1.500 European Local Authorities Declared TTIP Free Zones

Corfu ttip free zone

Negotiators working on the TTIP want the job to be done quickly, before Obama’s end of presidency in USA. However, a very significant movement of local authorities are rising all around Europe against this treaty between EU-US. More than 1500 regions, municipalities, local governments and councils in European countries have already passed motions declaring themselves as TTIP/CETA/TiSA-free zones!

Many of the representatives of these authorities (together with activists, NGOs and several others) are gathered right now in Barcelona on April 21-22nd and raising their voices against TTIP. This gathering will happen just two days before the President of the USA and the Chancellor of Germany (Angela Merkel) will meet in Hannover (Saturday, April 23rd), having TTIP as the main focus in their agenda for the discussion.

In Hannover there will be a huge protest, co-organized by many organizations, among them, the initiative of European citizens ‘Stop TTIP‘, an alliance of more than 500 European organisations running campaigns and actions against TTIP and CETA. ‘Stop TTIP’ handed a petition last November to the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, containing more than 3.2 millions signatures.
The Pirate parties of Germany, Greece and other countries have already signed the initiative and continue to inform their members and the citizens of their countries to resist and abolish the treaty that is a threat to democracy, the environment, consumers and labour standards.

Given the chance of the declaring the municipality of Corfu, Greece, as a TTIP free-zone,  Pirate Times contacted Dimitris Fanariotis, representative of the Greek branch against TTIP and chairing of the “Environmental Initiative of Corfu”, which is a member of “EcoCorfu” (both organizations are participating in the Greek initiative against TTIP-CETA-TISA), to ask how it can be done.

D Fanariotis

Pirate Times: What is your opinion on the latest news on TTIP?

Dimitris Fanariotis: In my opinion, Obama’s visit to Germany is to discuss with Merkel about ways to promote TTIP, exactly the day after Barcelona’s conference, is a distraction concerning to the meeting of the Mayors in Barcelona. It will not be any surprise if we hear him “scold” the Mayors, as the father of naughty children, saying that “also in USA Mayors often oppose the investment efforts of the central government and their concerns are always exaggerated, but they must not be afraid of progress and development”. But you know, in Greece, “Kalikratis” the bill for the local self governance was made for this reason: For the positive elements – yes, it also has negative – to keep the power, decisions and control at the local, decentralized level. The Transatlantic Conspiracies will NOT pass!

Pirate Times: Where are we today concerning a) the mobilization against TTIP and b) the negotiations in the EU.

Dimitris Fanariotis: It is amazing how fast civil society is able to get organized and connected worldwide! Through the official site of the European Initiative https://stop-ttip.org/ you can watch the latest news and developments. Also in http://stop-ttip-ceta-greece.blogspot.gr the blog of the Greek Initiative, you can find the latest news in Greek.

But the lack of transparency on the issue and the discussions, which are being made behind closed doors rather than through public consultation, resulted those who promote transatlantic trade agreements, always being several steps ahead and having the advantage. Take for instance, the most recent development: We learn that CETA, has been “constructed” in such a way that it is already in a “temporary” enforcement, without the consent of the countries’ Parliaments. And all of this happened because of a term they had put in the agreement and if it is “true”,  it only takes a simple majority of the EU Member States to automatically apply the agreement in all countries! Thus, it removes one of the fundamental rights of the EU Member States, which is the ability to veto.

In 2016, it is expected the discussion in the European Parliament to be completed, on one hand the modified form of TTIP (v1.1) and on the other the ratification and implementation of CETA. The modified TTIP finally included no addition of “good” points, as they have said it would. As we’ve just learned from the legal department of the European Initiative ten days ago, more stake-holders added, namely more lobbyists of American corporations, who still add more opaque terms.

PT: Are you optimistic about the outcome of the mobilization against TTIP?

DF: I am optimistic by nature, in the sense that when you fight for something which is objectively right, it gives you the strength to win sooner or later. It is enough and this is a key condition, not to give up and not let it take you down until the final victory. In no case should we accept the partial successes of the opponent! We need to regroup quickly, too.

Of course, the question is how to deal with an opponent who has staffs of consultants and experts that the civil movement can not hope to have. They apply, what I personally call, a “unorthodox” marketing. It is not simple at all to repel the aggression of those “unorthodox” techniques they use.

PT: What are the effects of the EU approval and implementation of such agreements?

DF: The abolition of Democratic Rights. Above all, “participatory Democracy” is being damaged, by repealing citizen’s right of participation, not only in decision making but at all levels of the acquired rights. It abolishes human rights and abolishes freedom. Indeed, no science fiction writer could ever imagine the final form, in which globalization comes, to enforce a new class of powerful domination. We talk about countries occupied by corporations and not by other states, as hitherto.

PT: Recently the municipality of Corfu declared itself as a TTIP – free zone. Is this something that legally can be effective if the European Parliament votes in favor of TTIP?

DF: Within all ills, such “political” decisions lend, if anything, an optimism to continue for more. Indeed, a political decision has no “executive” power. It is not a “command”, but it is neither a simple “wish”. It is a dynamic decision that reflects the will of a society. Especially when it is unanimous, as was that of Corfu, is a strong mandate for the “up”.

Such was the decision for the GMO products. In this case it was successful because, while in America GMO’s have entered too deeply in the markets, in Europe they did not manage to pass. Transatlantic agreements even danger now to accept GMO’s, on the basis of the  “democratic right” of the company to sell them to another country in  the world. And if you do not accept it, then the company can impose them by a court decision!

PT: How can a municipality (or region) declare their boundaries as TTIP – free zone? What should they do?

DF: The declaration of a Municipality (or a Region) as a TTIP – Free Zone, requires only a simple decision by the City Council. It can be done by a simple majority, but it would be better an unanimous decision in order to have a political power.

It needs to be put on the agenda by the president of the City Council. The presentation of the motion can be done by a representative of the municipal authority, or by a representative of the organization (NGO) that submitted the proposal to the chairman of the Board. In the city of Corfu, the recommendation of the Mayor was excellent and so we, as an Environmental Initiative, did not need to add too much. The key to achieve such a task is providing the appropriate and right information to councilors. Also it would be good the discussion in the City Council to remain around the issue of the  self-government rights which are affected.

Eventually six representatives from Greece are present at the Barcelona Conference, three from local governments and three from organizations of the Greek initiative against TTIP, CETA and TISA!

Pirate Times wishes to thank Dimitris Fanariotis for the interview and we hope you succeed in preventing TTIP.

More about  the Barcelona Conference.

Featured image: Nature Friends Greece CC BY-SA

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Kommentera! (by Stathis Leivaditis at 2016-04-22 18:01:41)

21 April 2016

Icelandic Pirates on the Verge of Government – Can we help?

A collage with IMMI logo, prgrmmer and keyboard

How to help Icelandic Pirates is a rather difficult question to answer. With only three MPs the party does not get much funding from the state. They still need to rely mainly on their members and supporters to fund them. We, in the international pirate community, can’t send money (nor any form of material assistance) as that is forbidden by law for political parties.

Is there anything we can do to help then? The government has promised that elections will take place in the fall. This means the Pirates will have to concentrate on getting ready and while we cannot do much in that area we can help in other ways.

Practical ways to help Icelandic Pirates:

Support International Modern Media Initiative (IMMI)

The IMMI NGO was founded in 2011 with the stated goal to research and promote improved media legislation around the world and then combine it for nations to adopt as they see fit. The FAQ describes their work more thoroughly. IMMI has an active crowdfunding effort and contributing to this is one important way you can help the Icelandic Pirates. This money will not be used for the campaign but it helps the pirates to free up resources for the Pirate Party’s aim to do well in the next elections. Iceland will become the first of many “Switzerland of Bits“. For as little as $5 you can help IMMI and in so doing, lessen the burden on the Pirate Party.

As Revolution News puts it, in light of the Panama Papers, there are tax havens for the 1%  IMMI will enable data havens for the 99%.

 

Programming

Do you have coding skills? The Pirates have been developing online tools (with an open source) to enhance democracy. These tools need further development to be ready for a government that wants to listen to the views of its tech savvy electors:

Do you know XML and a suitable programming language (preferably python but not required) for a data mining project?

Are you a Python coder that can help to develop a new version of Wasa2il?

Do you have any other coding skills that could be of use?

If that is you send a mail to piratar@piratar.is introducing yourself and outlining what you can do.

 

As other opportunities come to light we will relay them here. We are also looking for novel ways to support Pirates in elections in Iceland and other countries. If you are interested in joining in on some online activism please contact info@sunstone.de

Photo credits: Corrinne.Yu GotCredit IMMI CC BY

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Kommentera! (by Andrew Reitemeyer at 2016-04-21 20:53:13)

Borde inte Sverige ha ett miljöparti?

Jag tycker att Sverige behöver ett miljöparti. Ett parti för oss som verkligen bryr oss om byggandet av ett hållbart samhälle. Ett parti för oss som vill att det ska finnas fisk i haven, begränsa utsläppen av miljögifter och ha en hållbar energiförsörjning.

Största problemet med att skapa ett miljöparti är att det redan finns ett parti som har tagit namnet. Det här partiet har en partiledare som målar botten på sin båt med giftig färg, en föredetta partiledare som kör en stor SUV, och ytterligare en partiledare som ägnar sin tid åt att leda in skolan på nya villospår. Det är ett parti som säger en sak och gör en annan i flyktingfrågor och moralfrågor. Ett parti som har förälskat sig i regeringsmakten och glömt bort att de en gång i världen intresserade sig för miljön.

Det finns en ledig plats i svensk politik. Den som bara kan fyllas av ett riktigt och renodlat miljöparti.

Kommentera! (by jacob at 2016-04-21 09:28:55)

Så kan vi få ut tusentals poliser på gator och torg – direkt


Moderaterna vill ha 2.000 nya poliser. Det kan nog behövas. Men även om man gör en sådan satsning, så kommer det att ta många år innan den får genomslag i verkligheten.

Sedan gäller det att ställa rätt krav, så att dessa poliser verkligen kommer ut på gator och i polisbilar – istället för att sitta bakom skrivbord, skriva jämställdhetsplaner eller spela innebandy.

Men det finns saker som kan göras redan nu, direkt. Här är ett citat ur en artikel om narkotikapolitiken som professorerna Goldberg och Tham skrev hos SVT härom dagen...
"I Sverige ägnas per år 1 800 polisårsarbetskrafter till narkotikabekämpning, genomförs 35 000 tvångstestningar och döms 20 000 för narkotikabrott som svarar för en fjärdedel av alla fångar."
Sedan tidigare vet vi att den största delen av polisinsatserna mot narkotikan inte ägnas åt att jaga ligor, smugglare eller langare i grossistledet. Istället handlar det mer om att jaga användare – som inte skadar någon annan genom sitt bruk än möjligen sig själva.

Om Sverige skulle följa andra utvecklade länder och avkriminalisera innehav av droger för personligt bruk – då kan vi frigöra stora resurser. Tusentals "polisårsarbetskrafter" skulle då kunna styras om till att upprätthålla ordning och att utreda verkliga brott.

En sådan reform skulle kunna genomföras omgående. Om den politiska viljan finns.

(För övrigt behöver Sverige en mänskligare narkotikapolitik – som inriktar sig på harm reduction istället för att jaga missbrukare med batong.)

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-21 06:06:00)

20 April 2016

Ett regelverk för den härskande klassen och ett annat för folket?


Regeringen har ett antal ändringar i offentlighets- och sekretesslagen ute på remiss. Bland annat är det tänkt att offentliganställdas personuppgifter (t.ex. personnummer) skall sekretessbeläggas.

Det skäl som anges är problem med hot och trakasserier. Vilket säkert kan vara relevant i vissa fall – men knappast för alla offentliganställda.

Det har framförts kritik mot att detta förslag försvårar insyn och granskning av byråkratin. De flesta av medias avslöjanden om jäv, maktmissbruk och korruption har varit möjliga just eftersom grundläggande personlig information om offentliganställda är tillgänglig.

Men det finns en större fråga här. Den handlar om makthavarna och folket, om styrande och styrda.

Vill vi verkligen ha en ordning där folket är noga övervakat och registrerat med personnummer och allt – men där byråkrater (och förmodligen även politiker) döljs bakom en slöja av sekretess? Vill vi skapa en politisk och byråkratisk klass för vilken det gäller andra regler än för vanliga människor? Vill vi formellt instifta en nomenklatura av makthavare som står över oss vanliga medborgare?

Det är knappast förvånande att det är en socialdemokratisk regering som föreslår något sådant här. Sossarna har en underutvecklad känsla för djupare liggande demokratiska värden, medborgerliga fri- och rättigheter, rättsstat och maktdelning. Socialismens speciella form av elitism – där vissa är mer jämlika än andra – läggs här i dagern. Den för tankarna till Orwell och Kafka.

Vi skall helt enkelt inte ha ett regelverk för den härskande klassen och ett annat för folket.

I ett demokratiskt samhälle gäller alla regler lika för alla, alla är lika inför lagen och alla har lika rättigheter och skyldigheter. Alla. Punkt.

Eventuella problem med hot och trakasserier får lösas med individuell prövning av skyddad identitet, enligt samma regler som gäller för alla andra. Eller också får vi lägga ner hela systemet med personnummer, vilket på flera sätt vore en välgärning.

Länkar:
• Granskning av myndigheter försvåras »
• Förslaget om utökad sekretess öppnar för mygel »
• Ändringar i offentlighets- och sekretesslagen »
• Vad är det politikerna vill dölja för folket? »

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-20 09:36:00)

SD vill ”låglönesatsa” på dem som har högst lön

sd debattare 150000

Jimmie Åkesson (SD) och Oscar Sjöstedt (SD) säger sig vilja låglönesatsa, men ger pengarna till dem med hög lön

Sverigedemokraterna har presenterat ett förslag om att höja grundavdraget, så att de första 150.000 kronorna man tjänar blir skattefria. ”De 10 procent som tjänar minst i Sverige är de som skulle gynnas mest av förslaget” enligt Sverigedemokraterna.

Men i verkligheten är förslaget precis tvärtom. SD-förslaget ger mellan 0 och 200 kronor i månaden till de 10 procent som tjänar minst. Däremot ger det 6.600 kronor i månaden till de 5 procent som tjänar mest. Och alla måste vara med och betala den gigantiska notan på 180 miljarder om året.

Nyhet hos SVT: SD: Skattefria inkomster upp till 150.000 kronor
SD-debattare hos SvD: Låga inkomster bör inte beskattas

Vi kan börja med notan på 180 miljarder om året. Det är riksdagens utredningstjänst som tagit fram den siffran åt SD, så den stämmer antagligen ganska bra.

180 miljarder är väldigt mycket pengar, till och med för staten. Som en jämförelse är det mer än vad staten sammanlagt spenderar idag på försvaret (48 miljarder), hälso- och sjukvård (62 miljarder) och utbildning och universitetsforskning (64 miljarder). Har man tänkt sänka inkomstskatten med så mycket krävs det en hel del nedskärningar och skattehöjningar på andra områden.

Men det är fördelningsprofilen som är det riktigt märkliga med förslaget. Trots att SD presenterar det som en låglönesatsning, går det allra mesta av skattesänkningarna till medel- och höginkomsttagare. Jag vet inte om de har förstått det själva.

Att SD-förslaget ger mest pengar till de rika beror på att det är ett avdrag från skatten. Avdrag är jättetrevliga för dem som har inkomster.

Men avdrag är helt värdelösa för dem som inte har någon inkomst. De har ju inget att göra avdrag från, så för dem innebär förslaget exakt noll kronor i förbättring. De 10 procent som tjänar minst skulle nästan inte inte få något alls med SD-förslaget.

Alla som tjänar över 150.000 om året (13.000 per månad) få fullt avdrag med förslaget. Hur mycket det avdraget är värt beror på vilken marginalskatt man har.

Den som tjänar 13.000 i månaden betalar idag 2.300 kronor i månaden i skatt, och skulle alltså tjäna 2.300 per månad på förslaget. Men höginkomsttagare får ännu mer.

Allra mest får höginkomsttagare som tjänar över 625.000 om året (52.000 i månaden). De skulle få sitt grundavdrag höjt från 13.000 kronor idag, till 150.000 kronor med SD-förslaget. Eftersom den här gruppen höginkomsttagare har en marginalskatt på 58%, skulle ett höjt grundavdrag ge dem 79.000 kronor extra om året i plånboken, eller 6.600 kronor i månaden.

För att få ett grepp om hur många som ligger i olika inkomstnivåer kan vi titta på statistiken över hur inkomsterna för vuxna i Sverige är fördelade. I diagramform ser det ut så här. Varje stapel motsvarar en procent av befolkningen i åldern 20-64 år. (Källa: SCB via SVT Pejl)

10 Inkomstfördelning

I diagrammet ser man att ca 7 procent saknar inkomster helt. De får inte en enda krona genom SD-förslaget. De betalar ingen skatt idag, så de har inget att göra avdrag från, så de har noll kronor i plånboken både med och utan Sverigedemokraternas förslag.

De nästföljande 3 procenten tjänar upp till 2.900 kronor i månaden. Den som tjänar 2.900 kronor betalar idag 216 kronor i månaden i skatt. Med Sverigedemokraternas förslag skulle han eller hon få en skattesänkning på 216 kronor i månaden. Trevligt, kanske, men inget som löser några problem för någon. Det går inte att överleva på vare sig 2.900 eller 2.700 kronor i månaden.

I diagrammet ser vi också att det är ungefär 5 procent som tjänar mer än 50.000 i månaden, och får maximala 6.600 i månaden i skattesänkning. De skulle vara de verkliga vinnarna.

Tvärtemot vad Sverigedemokraterna säger, är det alltså ett förslag som gynnar medel- och höginkomsttagarna, på låginkomsttagarnas och de arbetslösas bekostnad.

Frågan är om Sverigedemokrater har förstått det här, eller om de har råkat villa bort sig när de satte ihop sitt förslag. Det vet jag inte, så det får de svara på själva. Skulle det vara en medveten luring tycker jag den är lite väl grov.

Men jag hoppas förstås att de bara har villat bort sig, och att de faktiskt skulle vilja genomföra förändringar för att hjälpa dem som har det svårt. I så fall är höjt grundavdrag fel väg, för det gynnar mest de rika. Men om de har en uppriktig vilja, då finns det vägar.

Vill man hjälpa de arbetslösa och dem som tjänar allra minst, då kan man göra det genom att införa ett grundbidrag istället för grundavdrag för låginkomsttagare. Då får man ett basinkomstsystem enligt modellen ”negativ inkomstskatt”. Men det är något helt annat än det här SD-förslaget.:)

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Kommentera! (by Christian Engström at 2016-04-20 08:47:17)

19 April 2016

Vad är det politikerna vill dölja för folket?


Läs min senaste krönika på Nyheter Idag:


Om den hotade offentlighetsprincipen – som är en förutsättning för att demokrati och allmänna val över huvud taget skall vara meningsfulla.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-19 17:31:00)

18 April 2016

Tyskland, Snowden och Ryssland


Nybloggat på HAX.5July.org:


Cheferna på de tyska underrättelsetjänsterna ogillar uppenbarligen Edward Snowden, eftersom hans avslöjanden har utsatt dem för granskning och kritik. Så de försöker utmåla honom som rysk agent. Vilket inte känns helt pricksäkert.

Kommentera! (by Henrik Alexandersson (noreply@blogger.com) at 2016-04-18 18:17:00)


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