news Pirate Party Australia has announced that digital rights will be central to its 2016 Federal Election campaign and that it will to “fight tirelessly” for a free Internet.
The party will campaign under the slogan “Transparency Liberty Digital Rights” or TLDR, and aims to “reverse the trend of governments operating under an increasingly dense veil of secrecy, whilst subjecting citizens to increasingly intrusive surveillance,” said Lachlan Simpson, Pirate Party candidate for the Victorian Senate.
“The Internet has been under attack from successive governments. The Abbott/Turnbull government has passed a mass surveillance regime and legislation to enable Internet censorship, with the support of the ALP,” said Simpson.
“We pledge to fight tirelessly for Internet freedom,” he continued. “Pirate Party Australia has an extensive platform on digital liberties and was formed precisely to oppose such attacks on our rights.”
Since the 9/11 attacks, the party said in a statement, Australia has passed over 40 different terrorism-related items of legislation.
“These have generally been passed with bi-partisan support and include many attacks on basic human rights,” it went on. “We are now under warrantless mass surveillance, journalists can be jailed for reporting on investigations, citizens can be detained without charge and ASIO can theoretically hack the entire Internet under a single warrant.”
“Pirate Party Australia pledges to campaign tirelessly to overturn these intrusive laws and restore the principle that warrants are required to put anyone under surveillance,” said Simpson.
He further said that the increased role that the Internet plays in people’s lives make this type of governmental overreach “incredibly problematic”.
“It redraws the relationship between citizens and the state in ways that make it dangerous to be outspoken, or to demand and expect transparency,” he said.
The party also raised the “other major issue” of censorship, especially of the Internet, “driven by the lobbying of traditional media organisations”.
With file-sharing being so simple, “the public are no longer willing to accept artificially high prices or staggered release dates for films and TV, the party said, adding that Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of content piracy “as a direct result” of geoblocking and over-pricing that “protect anachronistic business models”.
Whilst discussions between rights holders and ISPs have stalled, there is a big chance that a ‘graduated response’ regime could be implemented by the next government, regardless of who wins the election. The government also passed laws to enable torrent sites like the Pirate Bay to be blocked by the Federal Court.
“We are seeing massive ‘donations’ being paid to both major parties by entertainment industry heavyweights to lock up the Internet,” said Simpson. “Village Roadshow split $500,000 between Labor and Liberal in the financial year 2013-14.”
He also suggested that, despite box office records being smashed on an “almost yearly basis”, the film industry is trying to “lock up” the Internet to further increase its profits and to “resist the cultural shift in consumption that has already happened”.
“Pirate Party Australia exists to protect Internet users from over-regulation and control wielded by global media empires,” Simpson said.