Subnavigation

Political Platform of the Pirate Party Switzerland

 

Preamble

The digital revolution has affected all areas of life. In spite of much lipservice, the individual's integrity and freedom have been threatened in hitherto unseen ways. Moreover, this threat increases at such a rate, that both the general public and legislators are as overwhelmed as the individual. At the same time the chances of democratically determining this development are rapidly declining. The globalization of knowledge and culture through digitalization and networking presents a challenge to all current legal, scientific and social standards. Furthermore, wrong responses to these challenges give the current and evolving total and totalitarian global surveillance society an added justification. The fear of international terrorism replaces "freedom" with "security" as the greatest good--and many people fall unnecessarily silent in defense of freedom. Personal control of personal information, free access to knowledge and culture, and the protection of the private sphere are the foundation of a future information society. Only on this basis can we create a democratic, socially just, freely self-determined global order. The Pirate Party considers itself part of a worldwide movement that wants to participate in shaping this order for the benefit of all. To conduct its political activity in an efficient and goal-oriented way the Pirate Party restricts itself to a few topics that are important to the information society. At the same time it believes its core concerns address the whole spectrum of traditional politics. Occupying a specific position within this spectrum would distract from its political engagement in defense of personal privacy and freely dispersed knowledge and culture.

 

Privacy and Data Security

Protection of personal privacy and the security of personal data are inseparably tied to the integrity and freedom of the individual. The basic right to privacy and the protection of personal information are anchored in the 13th Article of the Swiss Constitution. All attempts of the state or third parties to curtail these rights must be critically questioned and explicitly contested. All organizational units, systems and methods, which the state can use in the observation and surveillance of its citizens must be subjected to continuous and strict evaluation and assessment by elected officials. Surveillance and data collection in the absence of reasonable cause are an unacceptable encroachment on the private sphere. The right to anonymity, contained in the Swiss Constitution, and the right of each individual to control the content and use of his personal data must be strengthened. The collection and use of especially critical data (biometrics, genetic testing, and the like), having a high potential for misuse, require particularly critical evaluation and control by independent agencies. In general, the parameters for protection of personal information must take into account the distinctive characteristics of digital data, that is, its longevity and uncontrolled distribution.

 

Surveillance and Data Collection

Surveillance and data collection must always be limited and controlled. Only in extreme emergency may the private sphere be encroached upon, even by governmental agencies. Judicial approval and control must always be present. Only democratically legitimized control mechanisms can effectively hinder abuse. At the same time, those affected must always be informed after the fact of any surveillance or data collection. If they have suffered any injury due to abuse of the measures, they must in every case be compensated.

 

Personal control of one's own data

The right of the individual to control the content and use of his personal data must be strengthened. Every citizen must have a functional and costfree opportunity to access, correct, block or delete personal data being stored in a central databank.

Our Demands

  • Anchor informational autonomy in the constitution.
  • Conform letter, mail, and postal secrecy laws to the reality of the information society and expand them into a general communication secrecy law.
  • End personal data collection, centralized storage of biometric data, on-line searching (police-trojans), real-time surveillance of private communication of a citizen and biometric IDs.
  • Ban comprehensive videosurveillance in public places and require restrictive permits for private areas.  

 

Transparent Political System

The interdependent relationship between businesses and politicians must be made public. The income of parties and committees must be disclosed. It must be clearly visible to the citizen which interests hide behind legislative initiatives and who, how, and when they have influenced the lawmaking process. Also inherent in a transparent political system is a vital commitment to a decisionmaking process that is discernable to the citizen and as public as possible, one in which decrees, discussion papers and contracts are designed to be as short and clear as possible and understandable to the average citizen. The emphasis on a "Principle of Open Access," placing a mature citizen at the center of governmental deliberations and formulations, establishes indispensable prerequisites for a modern information society in a free and democratic system. Switzerland is seen worldwide as a model democracy and so shall it remain. It must hold itself to the highest democratic standards and defend its position.

Our Demands

  • Publicize relationships between businesses and politicians.           
  • Disclose income sources of parties and committees
  • Strengthen the principle of openness.
  • Make the political decisionmaking process transparent and comprehensible.


Censorship

We categorically reject the current attempt by some political powers to establish filtering of content in the internet. Political control of the flow of information, censorship, has no place in a democracy. The battle against illegal offerings in the internet must always be conducted with legal measures. The establishment of a censorship infrastructure is in itself unacceptable. The state must prosecute the producers of illegal content and prevent its distribution (both on and off line), not prosecute the consumer. Blocking consumption does not help the victims, because the offenders are not affected. Network neutrality, that is, the equal handling of the transmission of all data packets by the internet servers, is of utmost importance for the freedom of speech and economic activity. This prohibition of discrimination in data transfer must be anchored in the law and implemented.

Our Demands

  •  Categorically reject censorship both on and off the internet.
  •  Address the root causes instead of combatting only the symptoms as we have done until now.
  •  Legally establish and enforce internet neutrality.


Infrastructure Monopolies and Patents

In general, the dismantling of harmful monopolies of every type is a declared political goal. A patent, as a governmentally guaranteed private enterprise monopoly, axiomatically creates an artificial curtailment of the general welfare, that needs continual justification and examination. The same pertains to all infrastructure monopolies. While the patenting of industrial goods in the past was considered a success story even by public opinion (neither provable or disprovable), the social and industrial relationships with invention in the post-industrial and globalized society have fundamentally changed. The increased international competition has lead increasingly to an abuse of the patent system not intended by its authors, where one can rarely recognize a favorable trade-off for society. The increasing misuse of patents must be curbed. Patenting of trivialities or even the blocking of advancement by means of patents should be prevented in all circumstances. Moreover patents and trademarks should not be misused to control distribution channels. These restrictions should be prohibited for the good of the people.

Our Demands

  • Dismantle all deleterious monopolies.
  • Modernize patent practice to properly meet the needs of the information society.
  • Authorize unlimited parallel imports.



Digital sustainability

Free, open standards for the public sector and educational systems.
 

A stronger emphasis on free, open software (FLOSS, Free/Libre Open Source Software) and standards in government agencies reduces their dependence on proprietary systems and suppliers. Such an emphasis supports the suppliers of open IT systems without creating new dependencies. FLOSS also wins the trust of citizens. Students should have the opportunity to master different systems. This is important in a time characterized by rapid technological change. Furthermore, care must be taken that the choice of computer technology is suitable to the subject matter and teaching methods, and not vice versa.

 

 

Security and Crime

Security advisors and network experts shall not unjustly have the tools of their trade criminalized by the government and thereby lose their means of livelihood. Attempts by the federal government to do this must be stopped.

 

Research

The Swiss National Funds distribute in large part taxpayers' money to scientific institutes and groups and regulate the publication of their results. Researchers must at the present time publish their results openly, as long as there is no legal contraindication or, respectively, immediately after the expiration of the grace period that certain scientific journals have established. Research results should, however, as a matter of principle, be published immediately and not be controlled by publishing companies.

Our demands

  • Use only open-source systems and document formats in the public sector.
  • Stop attempts to criminalize the means of livelihood of security advisors and network experts.
  • Publish the research supported by tax money and make it accessible without cost to all citizens of Switzerland and the planet.


The Liberation of Culture (Copyright)

When copyright was originally created, it simply governed the right of an author to be acknowledged as such. Later it was broadened to cover the commercial copying of works as well as to limit the natural rights of private citizens and non-profit organizations. This shift of the balance is the basis of today's established and unacceptable development. Business and technological developments have brought the copyright laws out of balance, bringing unjust advantages to a few large commercial actors at a cost to consumers, authors, and society as a whole. Millions of classsical musical pieces, films and books become hostages held in the safes of giant media corporations, not in demand enough by their target audiences to be re-published, but potentially too profitable simply to be released. Our cultural heritage must be liberated and made accessible to all before time destroys it all. Intangible laws can grant intangible values tangible qualities. Ideas, knowledge, and information are, however, by nature non-exclusive and their common value lies in their inherent ability to be shared and distributed.


Copyright

Copyright must be returned to its origins. The laws must be changed so that only the commercial use and the copying of protected works is regulated. To share copies or works for general use or otherwise to distribute or use them should never be illegal, as such a fair use benefits the whole society.

 

Shortening the duration of protection

The duration of commercial copyright protection, that is, the duration of monopoly control over duplication of a work for commercial purposes, must be reduced. It is particularly incomprehensible that copyright should be valid for decades after an author's death. The right to create derivative works should be so adjusted that everyone has the immediate right to produce such works. Every exception to this rule, for example, the translation of books or the use of protected music in films, should be specifically enumerated in the laws.

 

Free access and distribution of culture.

The non-commercial collection, use, manipulation and distribution of culture shall be expressly allowed. Technologies that affect the legal rights of consumers to copy or use information or cultural works, the so-called DRM (Digital Rights Management) and regional codes (the artificial introduction of regional borders outside of which a digital product cannot be used) should be forbidden. Contractual agreements that serve to hinder the legal distribuion of information, should be declared void. The non-commercial distribution of public cultural goods, knowledge or information--with the clear exception of personal information--must not be limited or punished. Usage taxes on blank media should also be eliminated.

Our demands

  • Legalize non-commercial exchange of data (so-called file-sharing) in both directions.
  • Limit copyright. A work should enter the public domain much sooner.
  • Prohibit artificial limits to access (DRM, regional codes).
  • Revise copyright law to combat the contemporary favoring of art suitable for mass distribution.
  • Broaden the right to cite film, picture and sound documents.


Media violence and juvenile protection

Recently, due to the tragic killing spree in Winnenden, Germany, videogames with violent content--or killer-games, as they are falsely called--have become a topic in Switzerland. This conversation was, however, not factual, but very emotional and polemic. And yet videogames, also those containing violence, have become in the meantime an inherent part of our culture and, exactly like music or film, have a cultural value, which must not be ignored, even when the content of certain games is not to everyone's taste. Objective analysis should guide the discussion of media violence, and videogames should not be singled out as a scapegoat for societal problems. Citizens should not be turned into wards of the state based on non-factual arguments. Videogames with adult content do not belong in the hands of children. For this reason a mandatory age-grading system should be established in law and protection of young people rigorously enforced. The media's excessive demands on parents must be acknowledged and addressed, so that parents and guardians remain the ultimate decision-makers in rearing their children.

Our Demands

  • Allow games with violent content for adults.
  • Recognize videogames as having cultural value.
  • Strengthen the existing laws protecting youth and further the media competency of parents. Anchor Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) and the Europe-wide age classification system in Swiss law.


Laicism and humanistic values

Our society created its core ethical values from human rights, thanks to the Enlightenment. Irrationalism and religious fundamentalism threaten the autonomy and freedom of the individual. A clear laicistic societal model must oppose them. Laicism compels the state to make no specification of the "orthodox" belief; it limits the state and its representatives and not the person.

Our demands

  • Secularize the Swiss Confederation by anchoring laicism in the Constitution.
  • Bring religious organizations into parity with secular organizations.
  • Define religion and belief as private affairs.
  • Promote equal status for non-believers.
  • Abolish the church tax.
  • Orient school instruction toward scientific knowledge.
  • Promote teaching of an enlightened, humanistic ethic.
  • Make critical and constructive thinking a central part of education.