When it was said by some that the Swedish win in the European elections would act as a catalyst, nobody would have thought that the results would start to show so quickly. Two weeks after getting 230,000 votes in the EU elections, the Pirate Party has gained a seat in the German Federal Parliament.
Politician Jörg Tauss left the SPD yesterday over concerns about Internet censorship. The German Pirate Party had been running a petition against an attempt by the German government to have a censorship list, which, although at first applied to child pornography, has already been considered for expansion to cover other areas.
Faced with this censorship system, which has not been proven to do anything to protect children or do anything except stifle free speech, Tauss decided to leave his party and join the Pirate Party instead.
In a statement the Pirate Party welcomes him into the party as “one of the most experienced politicians in the areas of education, research and new media,” and calls the defection the “culmination of a long chain of failures of the SPD (Social Democratic Party of Germany) in the areas of civil rights in the digital age and shows a dramatic loss of their credibility inside and outside.”
However, there is also controversy as Tauss is currently under investigation over allegations that he was improperly in possession of child porn images. Tauss claims that such images were sent to him during the basis of an investigation into that subculture, in line with his official government work. Criminal charges on the possession of the images may be pending soon, with Die Welt quoting the prosecutor as saying charges will be brought “within a few weeks”.
Regardless, the Pirate Party is standing by Tauss, who has been a member of the parliament since 1994, at least until a determination of charges is announced. “As long as there will be no criminal conviction against Mr. Tauss, the Piratenpartei has no reason to question Mr. Tauss’ innocence and moral integrity.”
With their seat in the German Parliament the Pirate Party hopes to do something about the increased censorship of the Internet and abuse of copyright by multi-billion dollar companies.