BERLIN — A member of the German Parliament has jumped ship from the country's Social Democrats and joined the Pirate Party.
Jörg Tauss said his decision was based on his former party's push for mandatory Internet filtering in Germany. Though the legislation he questions is designed to block child porn, opponents claim that under its current incarnation, it would censor much more.
Tauss has been accused of being in possession of child porn, but has said the material was culled for an investigation, reports ARS Technica.
Recently, the Pirate Party in Sweden scored an election victory that's sending one of its ranks into the European Parliament.
This led to speculation that other nations would see an increase in Pirate Party activity as well, as the party is established in many European nations as well as America.
Though he was not elected to Germany's lower house, the Bundestag, as a Pirate Party member, Tauss' switch — or defection, as some see it — is viewed as a sign that what was once thought of as a small underground movement could well play a greater part in government all over Europe.
Under the German legislation — similar to a bill in Austria — the federal police would maintain a blacklist of forbidden websites, and any Web user attempting to access those sites would receive an automated warning page from their ISP, though users could still click through.
The German bill is supported by both major parties — the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democrats — and is expected to pass in the upper house, the Bundesrat.
In a statement, Tauss said that while he still agreed with much of the Social Democrats’ programs, he believed there was a “terrible wrong turn being taken” in areas of domestic, legal and Internet policy.
Despite his party switch, Tauss said he will continue to vote with the Social Democrats on most issues, though he will side with Pirate Party agenda when it comes to the Internet and the law, according to The Local.
Social Democrats have said he must relinquish his seat.
Even the Pirate Party was cautionary in welcoming Tauss aboard, as “one of the most experienced politicians in the areas of education, research and new media,” noting that as long as he was cleared of child porn charges there was “no reason to doubt his innocence and moral integrity.”
Tauss has been a member of the German Parliament since 1994.
Many wonder which nation will be next in a Pirate Party uprising. Some suggest it could be France.
Monday, speaking from the Palace of Versailles, taking advantage of a new law, French President Nicolas Sarkozy became the first president to address parliament in 150 years. His talk included the nation's controversial HADOPI legislation, which he will seek to enforce.
As reported by AVN.com, France's Constitutional Council recently ruled the bill's Internet disconnections unconstitutional and struck that portion of the law.
Nonetheless, Sarkozy lashed out at Web piracy, according to TorrentFreak.
"How can there be areas of lawlessness in areas of our society? How can one simultaneously claim that the economy is regulated but the Internet is not so?" he said. "How can we accept that the rules that apply to society as a whole are not binding on the Internet?”
Sarkozy said by defending copyright, he's defending artists, artistic creation and "my idea of a free society where everyone’s freedom is based on respect for the rights of others. I am also defending the future of our culture. It is the future of creation.”