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German Pirates reject founder's child porn call
Photo: DPA

German Pirates reject founder's child porn call

Published: 10 Sep 2012 17:21 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2012 17:21 GMT+02:00

Falkvinge wrote a polemic in his personal blog at the weekend outlining "three reasons why the ownership of child pornography must be legalized in the coming decade."

The man hailed as a "pioneer" of the Pirate movement, argued that the ban on owning images of children being raped was "an open wound in the tradition of the enlightenment and the freedom of information."

He said that as long as this ban remained in place, there would always be bans on other kinds of information.

Falkvinge has "clearly got tangled up in his own thinking," said Bernd Schlömer, chairman of the German Pirate Party, the Express newspaper group reported on Monday.

"Like society in general, the digital community needs to cooperate and have a functioning legal system."

Berlin Pirate Stephan Urbach said Falkvinge's blog post disqualified him as a serious political activist.

Falkvinge was chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party from its foundation in 2006 to 2011 and was celebrated at the German Pirate Party's conference this April, the paper said.

German press reports suggest that Falkvinge stepped down after previously expressing similar opinions.

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Your comments about this article

18:26 September 10, 2012 by Herr Rentz
"He said that as long as this ban remained in place, there would always be bans on other kinds of information."

I read that to mean he considers child pornography 'information'?

I wonder how much of this 'information' this sick bastard has on his computer? Time to lock up this pervert.
18:44 September 10, 2012 by sonriete
In America, where freedom of speech is guaranteed under the constitution these arguments are taken very seriously. It is said there that when moderate democrats argue with moderate republicans, the right of free speech is never tested.

It is only when the most repugnant things are promoted that one can judge whether there is freedom of speech.

Once, when Joshka Fischer came to America he spoke of how anyone can say anything in America but that there are many restrictions on what one may say in most European countries and he proclaimed that both systems allowed "freedom of speech"

I'm not sure I agree with him on that, freedom is freedom and restrictions on freedom are restrictions on freedom.

I certainly agree that child porn is disgusting, but does that mean freedom is also disgusting?
18:53 September 10, 2012 by Herr Rentz
Exploiting children for sexual gratification through pornography is wrong no matter how many freedoms you wrap it in.
19:01 September 10, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
well I guess it depends what you define as child porn. If we're talking pictures and footage of abused infants and sexual images of prepubescent children, sometimes well below the age of consent, then yes, there should be no doubt that this kind of child porn needs to be illegal no matter what.

The devil is in the detail though. A more recent and legally binding definition, which has taken hold in Europe thanks to U.S. "child protection" and radical feminist and evangelical lobbying efforts, says that a topless image of a young woman who just maybe might look like she is under 18 (in some cases it's even irrelevant that there are documents on record proving she is over 18) constitutes child porn.

While nobody should doubt the wisdom of banning images of sexually abused children under the age of consent, the latter is nonsensical and puts millions of young Europeans at risk of obtaining a criminal record for possession of child porn that simply isn't child porn, no matter what some far-fetched ideological definition devoid of medical substantiation calls it. America, by the way, has again been leading the way with branding youths and young people who have sometimes long reached the age of sexual majority as sex offenders for "sexting", the voluntary and consensual exchange of erotic images via text message; which is precisely what an overbroad definition of child pornograpyh leads to, and it's what's going to happen increasingly in Europe as well.
19:19 September 10, 2012 by sonriete
Several weeks ago in America a police officer shot dead an alleged criminal in front of the Empire State Building in New York.

QThe video of the killing went viral on the Internet.

Under other circumstances the viewers of this video would be prosecuted and jailed for viewing "snuff movies", but because it involved police activity it was allowed.

How is this different from a "snuff movie" I wonder?
19:29 September 10, 2012 by Herr Rentz
I don't know, but it has nothing to do with child pornography.
20:52 September 10, 2012 by lucksi
That is not how he said it. He said, that as long as it is illegal, it will be used as an excuse for censorship of other information.

And it's true. It's either "think of the children" or "otherwise the terrorists win".

Of course mentioning it is shooting yourself in the foot at best or political and societal suicide at worst.
21:00 September 10, 2012 by realist1961
Freedom of speech doesn't allow me to say whatever I want or do whatever I want. I can't libel and slander someone. Doing so would harm the individual and go against their freedom of not having their reputation defamed. Most civilized countries also protect those who cannot protect themselves and who are unable to make an informed and free choice.. such as children. Most civilized countries ban any activity that can harm a child; which is one of the reasons brought up in the child circumcision discussion. One would have to argue that child porn doesn't hurt the child. Good luck with that.
22:19 September 10, 2012 by M Australian
In my humble opinion freedom (including that of speech) does not give one the right to abuse or limit the freedom of another.

Unfortunately it it often mis/abused by the likes of Falkvinge or the religious extremists of the ilk of Westboro Baptists in US or the (neo)nazis in Germany.
00:03 September 11, 2012 by zeddriver
That guy is a moron for even attempting to frame a freedom argument by using child porn. There are so many better examples out there he could have used.

How about bringing up the patriot act in the US. Were the government said if passed. they would only listen to calls originating from the middle east. It was not long though before they started to monitor all calls, Emails. Even those of US citizens. Which is in direct violation of the fourth amendment. Which reads. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized".

In the US this argument has been around from the time of our founding fathers. Ben Franklin said "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither".

iseedaftpeople is correct. I remember there was a case a few years back in the US. Were some one was arrested for having child porn. The porn in question was a cartoon. A pen and ink drawing on paper. In this case. The high courts reversed the lower court. But the simple fact that the government very much OVER STEPPED it's authority is what's at heart here. That's why any legislation that has all those fifty dollar words that sound good. But actually say very little and leave (purposely) large holes for the government to drive a battle ship through. I.E. misinterpretation or willful misapplication of said laws.

In the end. This idiot did a lot of harm to good organization.
09:08 September 11, 2012 by catjones
zeddriver...the reason he didn't bring up the Patriot Act etc. is because he's a german politician, not an American.
11:19 September 11, 2012 by zeddriver
@catjones

Even though that might be an American issue. I used it for illustrative purposes. It illustrates the manner in which "all" governments treat their citizens. Were they purposely set into motion laws that are very much full of holes. And that allow the government to apply those laws in ways the citizen were never informed of.

My point is that he could and should have brought up the freedom of speech issue without resorting to 'child porn" I'm sure Germany is full of examples.

Now stop being condescending and look at the bigger picture. What this child porn guy Falkvinge said. Plays right into the hands of those that would like to remove more of our freedoms "for our own good and safety" Yes! Child porn is and should always be illegal. But it should be spelled out very clearly as to what child porn is. Otherwise you will have more cases of the government misapplying said laws to club the citizens into quiet subservience.
12:16 September 11, 2012 by raandy
Is censorship of such disgusting material a bad thing? and does this really weaken our freedom? What about the child being raped? this individual has no say in this going viral?

I for one do not feel my liberties are under attack for this kind of censorship.There has to be some guide lines that are universally aceptable in most societies.Certainly this is one.

zeddriver, no question that most laws, such as the Patriot Act, which was passed because of trumped up public fear are always abused by law enforcement and there is always a resulting loss of freedom and rights,this only demonstrates how gullible the public is.

I agree that child porn has to be better defined, but seeing a 10 year old boy or girl being raped leaves no doubt that it is child pornography. I would prefer it banned and the author thrown in a tank with piranha.
15:44 September 11, 2012 by zeddriver
@raandy I agree with you.

I did not mean to infer any support this guys twisted views. I hope that much was clear. I was merely pointing out that the message of this organization as a whole is sound as it pertains to free speech. and this idiot did much damage to their cause. I will repeat it. I do not think that child porn should be legal.

The point of illustrating the patriot act (much to the chagrin of catjones) was to point out that the pirates basic view of the government will ALWAYS go beyond the intent of a law meant to stop hurtful acts. Merely to bolster their political power/ control over the citizens. There are always two things a government will do first to start any form of power grab no mater how small it might seem at the time. 1, Is to suppress freedom of speech. Whether it be the press, speech or assembly. Thereby limiting the dissemination of bad news about the irresponsible acts of the government. 2, Take away any means of resistance. I.E. Gun control/registration.

This might seem orwellian on my part. But then. I've not often seen a flood suddenly appear out of nowhere. It usually starts with a rain cloud and goes down hill quickly thereafter. All the while we sit back and admire the lovely patterns in the clouds and the patter of rain on our roof that lulls us to sleep. Until we happen to notice that the water is at the door. OPPS! To late.
16:13 September 11, 2012 by Wise Up!
The Prirate party exposed!
17:07 September 11, 2012 by Englishted
@Wise Up!

Typing error exposed !!.
19:30 September 11, 2012 by AClassicRed
I don't know why TheLocal.de didn't publish the full article as on TheLocal.se but some of your people are trying to defend the indefensible, considering his full statements.

Many people have some issues, as this guy clearly does, but when they are in the position to influence so widely and directly? Its dangerous and appropriate action should be taken.

"Falkvinge also reflects on whether current bans on the possession of child pornography are in place because "we want to catch child rapists and molesters" or because we're "uncomfortable" with the existence of child porn and want to "legislate it out of existence".

"I also have a very strong feeling that the ban is in place because we¦#39;d like to pretend that things like this don¦#39;t happen, and legislate it out of our field of view, throwing actual victims of crime to the wolves in the process. That¦#39;s not worthy," he writes.

Falkvinge also contends that current anti-child porn laws "turn a whole generation into sex offenders" by not differentiating between a video depicting the rape of a 7-year-old and one showing two 17-year-olds engaged in consensual sex.

"Why are one of the most horrible things and one of the most beautiful things in the world considered one and the same by the law?" he asks.

The Pirate Party founder admits that he started watching porn when he was only 10-years-old, but imagines children seek porn out earlier in part due to easy access via the internet, something he characterizes as "natural".

Falkvinge also takes aim at child rape laws.

"Technically, most people growing up today lose their virginity through rape. I say 'technically': they lose their virginity through rape because legislators have redefined 'rape' to include consensual, voluntary, loving sex between people of typical age of sexual debut," he argues.

He goes on to liken efforts to censor child pornography with banning books, seeing the debate about whether or not to ban child porn as the next battle ground regarding the freedom of information.

"Today, we have an open wound in our constitutionally protected right to speak freely that is being infested again and again," Falkvinge explains.

"Child pornography is horrible and awful from every angle and in every aspect. But it is not dangerous to the fabric of society. Censorship and electronic book burning, however, is."

"The overall freedom of speech is won or lost with restoring freedom of information and, as a result, re-legalizing possession of child pornography."

Falkvinge served as head of the Swedish Pirate Party from its founding on January 1st, 2006 before stepping down in 2011, five years to the day after the party was founded.

The newly published argument is not the first time Falkvinge courted controversy with statements about the legalization of child pornography."

http://www.thelocal.se/43142/20120910/
23:00 September 11, 2012 by zeddriver
Interesting that the local.de cut short the article like they did. Thelocal.de article was sorely lacking and did in fact make Flakvinge look like a fully committed child porn loving predator. They "the local" should have at least included a link to the full article. Shows what censorship by exclusion of bits and pieces of information can do.

Even though Falkvinge managed (barely) to clarify his position somewhat in thelocal.se article. I would still maintain that bringing up child porn in an argument over free speech is not very smart on his part. It will still cause folks to close their minds to the main goal of the organization that he started. Because even the most libertine of the no government interference libertarians will very quickly stop all discussion and agree that child porn is one area were the government should interfere.
17:04 September 15, 2012 by Bill D.
If one reads Falkvinge's own words, rather than the distorted words of others, it is clear that he is correct. He does not argue for making the production of child pornography illegal, only the possession thereof - and for very good reasons.

These reasons include the secrecy of prosecutions in which the public cannot see the evidence. He was able to show one example that was only decided to NOT be child porn on appeal, and it wasn't even close to what most people would think was pornography.

Besides this, the law does not require intent, which means that a third party could place an image on someone's computer, and the owner of that computer could spend the rest of their life in jail for it. THIS HAS ALREADY HAPPENED.

The possibilities for abuse are far-reaching, both by politicians wishing to clamp down on dissent, and by ordinary individuals who want to hurt someone. Falkvinge makes a good case that the current laws are not merely bad, but insane - and we need to be able to have a real conversation about these laws if we wish to stop this insanity. Unfortunately, the comments here indicate that there are many people already wanting to shut down this conversation - and some of these same people will likely end up in jail some day because they didn't realize that THEIR innocent pictures are considered child pornography by the law, and their intentions are of no consequence because this is a strict liability crime.

Incidentally, many German pirates have already distanced themselves from the comments of their leader, and agree with Falkvinge.
20:55 September 15, 2012 by EinWolf
@Bill ... You're right ... the production of it should be illegal, the producers are the ones harming the kids. However, it can be found ... free ... on the net. Merely having it on ones computer should not result in a jail sentence! Immoral should not equal illegal.

Next, keep in mind that often you're taking a productiv, tax-paying citizen and putting him (or her) in jail with three hots and cot, climate controll'd cell (heating and air-con), free medical care. The biggest problem of an inmate is often boredom ... How much does this cost the taxpayer? $50k/year or more? A ten-year sentence costs the taxpayer $500,000+ (and that not counting the lost revenue of the taxes no longer being paid by the inmate). All of this for what? The guy or gal with the pics on the computer who downloaded it from the net isn't the one hurting the kids ... Go after the producers, not the gawkers.
10:29 September 17, 2012 by tyciol
What a bunch of cowards. People keep twisting this, but they're ignoring the good arguments he makes, that legalizing the evidence is an asset to catching the criminals. The crimes documented on the evidence would remain illegal and the people committing them still jailed.
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