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Censorship Government Politics

German Member of Parliament Joins Pirate Party 246

Posted by kdawson
from the first-pirate-in-office dept.
Political Observer writes "Jörg Tauss, a member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), left the Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is part of the coalition government, and announced that he is joining the German Pirate Party (Google translation; original German article). Tauss resigned from the SPD after all but four of the party's members voted for a new censorship law, which passed the parliament on Thursday. The law, which aims at reducing child pornography, introduces an infrastructure for DNS-based content blocking and is the subject of major criticism from Internet users. In March 2009 Tauss became the subject of investigations by the German police for possession of child pornographic material. He said he had this material only for research as part of his role as a member of parliament. Investigations are still continuing."
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German Member of Parliament Joins Pirate Party

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  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:48PM (#28406237) Homepage
    I agree with the Pirate Party but I'm still holding out for a Ninja party since Ninjas > Pirates.
  • Well done (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:53PM (#28406275)

    If this kind of thing happens more often, the general public might actually get to hear about it.

    Whenever I ask them, most of the people I know have heard about the Pirate Bay guys being found guilty and
    very little else. Most news stories we get here (in the UK) are very biased whenever these kinds of stories even appear.
    ID Cards are barely mentioned, censorship & privacy stories are generally ignored unless its got the usual terrorists/paedophile
    angle.

    • Same in Germany. I can actually see German TV and read german newspapers. Do you think a single news magazine or TV news broadcast spoke a single word about the censorship?

  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @07:58PM (#28406319) Homepage
    "I have been concerned with the scene for years."

    You don't need to DL a bunch of kiddie pr0n to study it nor do you do it without informing any police organisation before doing so, if only to prevent any mistaken ideas, much less prevent duplication of work and chasing down useless paths.

    Tauss has very good representation who know how to take advantage of a few laws here in Germany which more or less allow public figures to buy their way out of a courtroom.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:16PM (#28406451)
      The problem with CP is that its impossible to actually "see" whats wrong with it without running afoul of laws. When information itself is banned, its then becomes impossible to get the information needed to rule on such things. For example, its like someone making laws that affect, say the liquor industry, however this person has never drank any alcohol, doesn't know anyone who drinks alcohol, and hasn't read any studies about alcohol. However when it comes to making informed decisions about CP its impossible to do so without breaking any of the laws because viewing it is so prohibited. So not only can you not drink the alcohol, but you can't really read about it, there are no formal studies done on it, so all you hear are reactionary stories of "so and so was drinking and they hit a tree and died!" rather than any hard information.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by superdana (1211758)
        You absolutely do not have to see child porn to know what's wrong with it. You can study the effects of victimization on children without personally witnessing the act, just like we do with any other crime.
        • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:15PM (#28407179)

          You can study the effects of victimization on children without personally witnessing the act, just like we do with any other crime.

          Right. And this has to do with child porn possession how? Especially when child porn can be legally defined as not even real children (!) just things drawn to seem underage. By that arguement every time someone views "adult" porn they are raping a porn actress (or actor). We know that not to be true. CP possession is effectively a victimless crime. Please tell me who gets harmed whenever someone downloads something legally defined as CP over the internet for no fee. Really, does someone get raped again for every time someone views it? If I watch an execution does that mean the person gets killed every time you watch it? By all means, prosecute and criminalize the production and possibly even the buying of it for profit, but simple possession of images that may or may not even be a real child being harmed in any way, should not be a crime especially when not explicitly asked for (for example someone being charged when they downloaded a huge zip file of porn with 1 or 2 underage people).

          And please, tell me how you get across the problem of hearsay when you can't actually look at the pictures? Do you agree with the total prohabition of alcohol just because someone told you that alcohol may have had some influence in someone wrecking a car? But no way that you would ever drink alcohol nor read a study on it. And really, the logic of "they are reading CP that means that automatically makes them a predator" makes as much sense as someone who reads erotic fiction as going to carry out those acts.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by CompassIIDX (1522813)
            No, the child isn't being directly harmed by someone viewing their exploitation, however their honor and dignity are chipped away at with each viewing. Just because the video was already made -- the brunt of the damage has been done -- doesn't give us all the right to see it guilt-free. And completely decriminalizing possession would send an implicit message that the depictions themselves are acceptable.

            That said, I certainly agree punishments shouldn't be anywhere near what they are today for mere posse
        • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @01:00AM (#28408191)
          I've found a lot of child porn at www.disney.com. Tons of it. Don't bother going to look. You don't have to see it to know what's wrong with it. We know all about victimization of children. That should be enough. That, and the fact that I've told you that it's child porn. That should be enough for anyone. Or, at least, you.

          The rest of us would be less inclined to take random stranger's opinions at face value, thank you.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        I'm sure the FBI would like to know that you can't understand killers without being a killer. Sounds like there could be lots of mass murderers on their payroll. As for kiddie porn, it's porn. With kids. If you can't imagine what it looks like, it's because you don't want to try. And is that really meaningful in understanding anything about it? Do you get a better understanding of gays by watching gay porn? How's something you find on the net not going to be anecdotal? It's not like you're going to get any

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anarchduke (1551707)
          Well, my mother was a cop, and she studied case histories of murder investigations. Does that make her secretly want to be a serial killer?

          When she moved and became a paralegal, she studied case histories of all sorts of criminal activity. Did that make her secretly want to rape, kidnap, or any other things involved in the sort of research she read up on?

          Would a 17 year old girl in a bikini be child prostitution? I mean, I have seen tons of underage models wearing bikinis in newspaper advertisements
      • When information itself is banned, its then becomes impossible to get the information needed to rule on such things. For example, its like someone making laws that affect, say the liquor industry, however this person has never drank any alcohol, doesn't know anyone who drinks alcohol, and hasn't read any studies about alcohol.

        You mean, like, pretty much all laws concerning drugs?

        But then again, they found cocaine in the EU parlament toilets, maybe they know what they judge...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:22PM (#28406501)

      Well, I wouldn't say that. Have you ever googled, etc. for child porn just to see how easily you can actually find it in the Internet? I am turned on by older women than I am but I have still done that. It wouldn't even be very far fetched claim to say that you could save some of the stuff as example even if you aren't turned on by it. Unless we know exact details of the material on his computer, how it got there and most importantly, if anyone profited from that and if anyone got hurt... We know nothing.

      Besides, I always wonder... Why do people act as if pedophiles were horrible people. It is sexual preference that they might not be able to change themselves. What matters is if they let anyone get hurt because of that. Child molesters should be hunted down, as should people who acquire child porn in a way that it causes more injuries to children (IE: Buys it and people who produce it will gain more motivation to produce more). But people who just download it from peer to peer networks without anyone profitting or getting hurt more because of that download? Hell, it might even prevent some child abusement cases.

      And yeah.. If you really think that public figure could tell police "I'll download some child porn but I'll just tell you beforehand" without massive scandals...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        But people who just download it from peer to peer networks without anyone profitting or getting hurt more because of that download? Hell, it might even prevent some child abusement cases.

        That's definitely true, if you use the RIAA's logic. Hell, he can claim that he "stole" money from child pornographers.

        • by nizo (81281) *

          I think it would be awesome if the RIAA folks regularly started getting called in as expert defense witnesses in child porn cases.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:23PM (#28407221)

        Child molesters should be hunted down, as should people who acquire child porn in a way that it causes more injuries to children (IE: Buys it and people who produce it will gain more motivation to produce more). But people who just download it from peer to peer networks without anyone profitting or getting hurt more because of that download? Hell, it might even prevent some child abusement cases.

        Exactly! If you believe RIAA's theory, then by downloading CP for free you are discouraging the production of CP!

        Think of the number of children that can be saved if everyone spreads CP everywhere so no one will pay for it! Wouldn't that cause billions of damages to CP producers? To save children from abuse, the law should mandate the spread of CP instead of making it illegal!

        By making CP illegal and thus creating a monopoly for illegal CP producers, the law could be hurting more children than it presumably saves.

      • by 3247 (161794) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:08AM (#28409073) Homepage

        Actually, what he did is known to everyone who bothers to not only read headlines: He did trade some material. He did not pay for anything and wasn't paid. His defence is that as a Member of Parliament, he had get an idea of the extent of the problem and the structures of the scene. It is currently unclear whether that's legal according to German criminal law.

        BTW, there's another public figure who is in possession of child pornography and even offensively showed it around: Ursula von der Leyen (dubbed Zensursula), the German Minister of Family Affairs. There was no investigation and no-one doubted that that had been legal.

        In short:
        If you're part of the Legislative, you're obviously not supposed to posses child porn in order to make an informed decision about laws on child pornography.
        If you're part of the Executive, you're obviously entitled to possess child porn in order to show it around to the press to gain support for drafts of such laws.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Elektroschock (659467)

          Exactly, basically he did a stupid thing which harmed his cause. But still it is no coincidence that Tauss was taken out just before the internet filtering bill passes the parliament. You would usually delay it but child porn is an very emotional and sensitive issue, cmp. Belgium, and they wanted to get rid off Tauss anyway.

      • by ultranova (717540) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:52AM (#28409747)

        Besides, I always wonder... Why do people act as if pedophiles were horrible people.

        Because people have a natural instinct to protect their children, which causes them to be on lookout for potential dangers for them. This, in turn, causes slight anxiety, which is preyed on by the cynical politicians who are drawn to psychological weaknesses like sharks to blood.

        It's the same thing as with terrorism: politicians and others who want power strive to fan people's fears into full-blown panic, so they are no longer thinking rationally, and can be manipulated easily. Pedophiles are even better boogeymen than terrorists, because the guy who points out he has better chances of being struck by lightning than dying in a terror attack seems brave while a guy - or better yet, a mother - who points out that her children are more likely to be run over by a car than get molested by a stranger can be branded a bad parent.

        Hysteria and lack of rational thinking are considered virtuous when dealing with children, and calm use of reason is seen as callous and irresponsible. The end result is, of course, the same as it's always been: a police state build on the pretext of eradicating witches/jews/communists/terrorists/pedophiles.

        But people who just download it from peer to peer networks without anyone profitting or getting hurt more because of that download? Hell, it might even prevent some child abusement cases.

        Preventing child abuse is not the point of these policies. Enabling censorship and getting votes for it because "it's for the children" is. If anything, increased abuse would be beneficial for the politicians, since it would be something for them to point to and pretend to be fighting against.

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:41PM (#28406607) Journal
      Oh well... Sometimes I am inclined to think we should not direct all that blind hate against people in posession of kiddie porn. Why? Not because I like such people or the stuff they enjoy, but because this witch hunt against anything having to do with kiddie porn scares me rather a lot. It's like the global warming bandwagon... the problem might be real, but the reason everybody jumps on is to push their own agenda. Over here, the police recently investigated some (extremish) right-wing politician, and announced for some reason that they found kiddie porn on his computer. It was odd that they announced it since it was not the object of their investigation, and as it turned out it was something like 2 images in a sizable pr0n-pile of otherwise vanilla erotica. But... if they wanted to eliminate this guy's political career, the move suddenly makes sense, since everyone branded as a child pornographer, however tenuously, is basically branded an outcast for life in today's society.

      And what has been predicted is now becoming reality, in Germany at least: child pornography is being used as the excuse to institute state censorship on the Internet. It's already been mentioned as a reason why citizens shouldn't be allowed cryptography or anynomity on the Net. They might take away those liberties to prevent kiddie porn with everyone cheering them on, since in the fight for that cause, anything goes at the moment. But it will not stop there.
      • by mellon (7048) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @10:18PM (#28407197) Homepage

        Another argument on the child porn thing is to ask the question, what percentage of all child abuse has to do with child porn? Last time I checked into it, the most generous number I could come up with was a tenth of a percent. A hundred million children in the world live on the streets. Child prostitution is common in developing countries. Child labor exploitation is common. Trafficking in enslaved children is common.

        If what is being done to cure child porn is one tenth of one percent of all the money and effort and compromise being put into solving the other 99.9% of suffering experienced by children, then we could say that what is being done is rational. So check it out. Is that the case? No, not even remotely. Much *more* money is being spent combating child porn than any of the other ills that befall children in the world.

        So then it's clear that the new and draconian crackdown on child porn actually has nothing to do with protecting children.

      • by Ioldanach (88584)

        it was something like 2 images in a sizable pr0n-pile of otherwise vanilla erotica

        And remember, next time you hear a case about someone being charged with having 1000 CP images on their computer, that probably means that they found a single 40 second video clip of CP. Apparently they consider every video frame to be its own "image" and the charges and penalties are based on the number of images.

    • Yup sounds kinda suss to me. You don't go and 'download' kiddie porn for 'research'. I just don't see what there is to research - not a politician at least. And if you are a politician *surely* you know the consequences of doing it without informing and getting permission of the authorities.

      The only thing I can imagine that he might've had a good reason is say, he was curious to find out how hard child porn is to find, and just through some search into Google to try to find some and the media made it out li

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:53PM (#28406705)
        ...And if your job is to revise these laws of course no one would ever go see what is out there to see if its really that bad. No not anyone. Just like we want the people who make our drug laws to have never taken any drugs, never looked at any drugs, never talked to people who have taken drugs, heck while we're at it we don't want them to even look at research about drugs either. Or how about we have people making computer laws who have never even used a computer for more than 2 minutes! That works out really well for everyone, right? The thing is, if you are going to make laws about something, you have to at least know what it is you are dealing with, the problem is we have essentially banned all information about CP other than "its bad", if you are in charge of figuring out just how bad it is, I'd say that you would have to look at it to at the very least know what you were dealing with.
        • I'm not suggesting that he never 'go see' what's going on.

          What I am suggesting is he uses the appropriate channels to do it. *Surely* there is a way of legally covering your back while researching this kinda stuff. Apply for a grant to do the research and do it.

          And I'm suggesting a politician would arguably *know* what the channels are and know how to cover their backside so they don't get so easily into legal problems like he has.

          ~Jarik

        • by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc,paradise&gmail,com> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @09:18PM (#28406853) Homepage Journal

          ...And if your job is to revise these laws of course no one would ever go see what is out there to see if its really that bad. No not anyone.

          You don't seem to get it. The truth doesn't matter when it comes to the child porn hunts. It is most definitely a case of "guilty until proven innocent" -- and even once you produce that evidence of innocence, you're still screwed for life.

        • by jellybear (96058)

          It is even worse than that. Imagine if it was also illegal to read about drugs and have information about drugs. I have no problem with the fact that having sex with children is illegal, but it is dangerous to civil liberties to make it illegal to have information about having sex with children. We cannot have democratic discourse without the exchange of information. Making information illegal is extremely problematic. In order to decide whether a string of information is child pornography requires examinin

      • "You don't go and 'download' kiddie porn for 'research'."

        No, of course you don't. We already know its distribution channels, its spreading and its variations by means of infused science.

        "I just don't see what there is to research - not a politician at least."

        Of course not. It is not as if it were politicians' responsibility to draft and analyse the laws that will stablish what is punible and what's not and to what extent.

        "Either way, I don't think this is a great thing for the Pirate Party."

        Of course not.

    • Well said. I don't want a rock spider associated with my support for anti-censorship proponents either.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kshade (914666) *

      "I have been concerned with the scene for years." You don't need to DL a bunch of kiddie pr0n to study it nor do you do it without informing any police organisation before doing so, if only to prevent any mistaken ideas, much less prevent duplication of work and chasing down useless paths.

      He says that he needed the material to gain the trust of child porn vendors. This happened in 2007, but he hasn't thrown away what he got. See: http://daten.tauss.de/StellungnahmeTauss110309.pdf [tauss.de]

  • UPDATE! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted@slashd o t .org> on Saturday June 20, 2009 @08:40PM (#28406599)

    His membership got accepted by the Pirate Party!

    We now have an active Pirate in the parliament.

    I wonder how the next Bundestag elections will end. I have the feeling, that this is the start of something big!

    • Re:UPDATE! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 20, 2009 @11:49PM (#28407781) Homepage

      I think it's horrible news and don't understand why they'd want to accept. One of the biggest issues the pirate party has had to fight is "if you got nothing to hide, you got nothing to fear". In Sweden they've spent lots and lots of time that we want privacy by closing the curtains, locking the toilet, writing letters not postcards to convince people this is perfectly normal and mass surveillance is unacceptable. For that it's crucial to come across as being a normal person who values their privacy, not a criminal looking to get away with it. How's this guy going to do that with any sort of credibility while he's being charged with kiddie porn? I'm sorry, but I think this will only hurt the pirate party's reputation around the world, even though they formally have no relation to swedish pirate party.

    • by mseeger (40923)

      Hi,

      i think Seneca leftt us with good quote for this: "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes"
      (I fear the Danaans (Greeks) even if they bring gifts). This might become a mighty
      bumerang if he gets convicted.

      I can clearly see the advantages for Tauss: If he gets convicted, he hasn't lost
      anything. If not, he may emerge a leader in a new party. The advantages for the
      Pirate party are clearly limited: Tauss seat expires in September and if he gets
      convicted, they'll take a mighty pounding.

      But the pirate party has little cho

  • Weird move (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gencha (1020671)

    It's not like the Pirate Party is the only german party that is against these laws. In fact, only the 2 largest parties voted for it.
    I would assume he hopes to get rid of these new laws and that he would stand better chances at it by joining a larger party.
    So why would he join exactly the Pirate Party?

    Maybe the cops just called him and told him that they did not only find CP on his computer but also an illegally downloaded Britney Spears album!

    • by selven (1556643)
      Because he might have interests other than child porn and only the Pirate Party properly represents those issues.
  • Pirate party members of parliament have a distinct advantage of a plethora of rich, undefended parliamentary seats to board, plunder, and retain for the cause.

    I expect to see them take 5 seats a day in the EU and german parliament at this point, or they'll be keelhauled by the party captain.

  • Germans are pretty conservative and mainstream and I don't see something called a "pirate party" succeeding.

    Germany has a liberal party (FDP) that stands for smaller government and more personal freedoms; they also opposed this law. And they have mainstream appeal. It would seem to me that they would be a better choice to join than the "pirate party".

  • Four members of the coalition opposed the law, i.e. SPD (Tauss's former party) had three people vote against it, CDU (the ones who pushed this ...thing... through parliament) had one person vote against it (because his daughter, a journalist, probably convinced him).
  • It may seem hard to understand why a budding party would welcome a seasoned politician fallen into disrepute.

    However, there are peculiar aspects to this case which demonstrate why contrary to what one might perceive at first glance, this stance is imperative and not political suicide on the Pirates' part:

    With the Slashdot-appointed stand-in Horseman of the Infocalypse [wikipedia.org] as the scapegoat of the year, incessant witch hunt reasoning ("hairesis maxima est opera maleficarum non credere") has been used along wi
  • by janwedekind (778872) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:50AM (#28410697) Homepage

    I've translated a German transcript [wordpress.com] of his speech [youtube.com].

    Mrs president! Dear colleagues!
    I am voting against this law - in the meantime one must say: I have voted against this law - because it does not have anything to do with its caption. The goal, fighting child porn, was - contrary to all accussations and the inquiries against me - the prime motivation for me to concern myself with the internet.

    I voted against this law not because I would not unconditionally support the goal but because that it is in fact - colleague Mrs Krogmann, I didn't understand your objections at this point - a law which would introduce a structure for surveillance in the free part of Germany for the first time since 1949.

    I have voted against this law because it does not prevent child porn. This is a legend which our minister - I think it's a shame that she is not present - has created. She has said to all request which have been made - for example by the FDP party - that she wasn't presented with any insights. I submit: If one does not have any insights, one should participate in the debate; that would be the least one ought to demand.

    (applause by deputy Renate Kuenast [BUENDNIS 90/DIE GRUENEN])

    The "Stopp!"-sign which is to appear when one visits a indexed site, enables perpetrators to notice wether they have been discovered and have to change their address. The association of German detectives has justifiably ascertained: The search for perpetrators will be made more difficult by this law. That means that exactly what you actually want, colleague Mrs Noll - a goal we all have -, is going to be prevented.

    I am very sad about it, that only a single expert was cited. All other experts such as professor Sieber from the renown Max-Planck-Institute for National and International Criminal Law have pointed out the considerable legal and technical problems. It was him, colleague Mrs Krogmann, who stimulated the dialog, which you are demanding, in the first place. Indeed: One should have held a dialog before arriving at such a law.

    I have voted against this law because it suspends the separation of powers. For the first time the executive branch is controlling itself. The position at the commissary for data protection is - I have spoken about it already - not suitable for solving the problems springing up.

    Obviously it is only about creating authorities and positions in spite of the German Federal Criminal Office Law. If I consider how many laws of this coalition have failed in the Federal Constitutional Court, I must say: I would have wished that one does not simply say: "Constitutionally everything is fine", but that one checks that thoroughly.

    I have voted against this law because as I said with it surveillance structures are created. The Wall Street Journal has named - without justification in my opinion; but nevertheless; it shows, that it is being debatted internationally - Germany in one breath with China and Iran. I consider this to be extremeley problematical. But anyone who gets upset about it may look into that law. It is so that the providers are forced to negotiate with the police about technical guidelines. If one knows how the treaties where extorted from the providers - in a manner I have talked about earlier as well -, one can make it clear, what the problem is like: Here proliferation-prone technology is made available - proliferation-prone technology which can be gratefully accepted by all dictatorships of this world. That is irresponsible.

    I have voted against this law, because the technology does not work in the closed circles of child pornographers, but it is able to filter democracy and freedom in many parts of the world.

    I have voted against this law, because now additional treaties which have come into existence, in a manner as I have expressed before, are supposed

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