Hi ya'll. There's been a lot of stuff on this blog in Finnish lately, so I thought I'd give it break and do an English entry, so you non-Finns out there can also get some Finnish perspective on the situation here and nearby (particularly in Sweden). (There have been at least some non-Finns visiting, hopefully they've not given up already ;)
First, though, for the interested Finnish readership, I participated in the first Pirate Radio podcast of the Finnish Pirate Party (I haven't listened to the end result, hopefully they cut it well ;). I will probably be a regular in the future as well, though perhaps not always present.
Right now the dreaded Lex Nokia is nearing a parliamentary vote. This is the law that will give community internet subscribers — companies, schools, universities, co-owned apartment buildings with shared internet hookup even — the right to monitor all traffic metadata (not the data itself, yet) for basically any excuse of a suspicion of breaking the rules of the network. This is largely sold as a tool for corporations to combat corporate espionage via E-mail, but of course A) the law is absurdly overbroad for its stated purpose so the legislators are either dishonest or incompetent, B) the metadata is useless anyway to prove the espionage and C) who the fuck incompetent ass would leak sensitive corporate data to a competitor through the company internet connection anyway?
According to all of the esteemed experts consulted by the parliament's constitutional board, the law is in opposition to the Finnish constitution (and therefore passing it fairly would require a more arduous process to approve it as an exception to the constitutional rule). The board, however, disregarded all of the major objections of the experts while making some cosmetic changes. Then they decided that it's constitutionally okay, and a simple majority of the parliament will do. (Fitting, for how simple-minded they are up there.)
In practice, this is the only test for a law's constitutionality in Finland. Thus, a majority government can pretty much disregard the constitution at will in lawmaking. Yay for the protection of civil rights in Finland! I'm not sure I'd want to borrow much from the US court systems that isn't already here anyway, but an effective way to challenge a regularly passed law as unconstitutional would be very nice indeed — also personally for me, what with my earlier conviction for distributing a DeCSS implementation. (We are trying to get the supreme court — which refused to hear the case — to nevertheless set the verdict aside. Failing that, European Court of Human Rights is a likely avenue to attempt, though it too can bend to political pressure too easily.)
That's what's the news from Finland, though of course, the Pirate Bay trial in our western neighbour is somewhat more interesting globally. I don't pretend to know how the court will decide. The defendants have competent defenses, but then so did I, and there's a lot of politics behind the trial. In either case this trial won't be the last of it; it'll almost certainly be appealed to the very end.
Also, whoever wins in the final analysis doesn't really matter in the large scale. While I'm certainly rooting for the Pirate Bay, should they lose, the Pirate Bay will continue to operate normally in other locales (maybe Spain?) and the defendants will simply be made martyrs for the Pirate movement. (They might not wish it, but it's pretty inevitable.)
If they win, well, it's one battle won, but Sweden is tightening its copyright laws as we speak. This, by the way, despite an earlier campaign promise made by the prime minister of the ruling party, that they wouldn't and couldn't criminalize an entire generation. (Lying politicians? Who knew. Though check out one Nordic minister who genuinely seems to at least mostly get it.)
The matter is being followed in English by Torrentfreak and in Finnish by Piraattiliitto as well as a lot of mainstream media (especially in Sweden, of course). Hopefully the case with its wide coverage will help the Swedish Piratpartiet into EU parliament next summer.
And finally, that court case being one battle, the war, on the other hand, I believe we will win anyway. I don't think people will accept the sort of Big Brother society the enemy needs — and is so far successfully taking us towards. But even as I don't have much faith in humans, I do believe there will be a backlash before we get too far (also slightly discussed in my earlier article). I'm not too sure of this outcome, mind you. There is much work to be done for sanity to prevail, and even were it inevitable, we should work to make it prevail sooner rather than later. Each day, lives are ruined by the old ways, and the more tight-strung the fascist laws get, the more violent (in the figurative sense at least) the backlash is likely to be. To minimize collateral damage, quick steps should be taken.
Though I am not unreasonable, nor am I blind that it would also cause collateral damage to the society if the existing models would become legally obsolete overnight (technically and societally they are on the brink already, of course). Maybe maintain a further transitional period of 5-10 years of purely commercial monopolies (no chasing down sharers) for the monopolists to make their plans to adapt to a free, competitive market. Thenabolish them altogether ;)
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