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The Europe Roundup: Avast ye timbers! German Pirate Party Wins Piece of Eight in Local Elections

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, September 20 2011

  • Germany | Avast ye timbers! German Pirate Party Wins Piece of Eight in Local Elections
    One of the Pirate Party poster.

    Yesterday the German Pirate Party saw a victory in Berlin state elections, as the internet activist group won  8.9 percent of the vote (which equals to 15 seats on the total 130) in the regional Parliament.

    The Guardian reports:

    Their irreverent campaign captured the imagination of young voters as the party expanded its platform from an original focus on filesharing, censorship and data protection, to include social issues and citizens' rights. The party, which was founded in 2006, was "in tune with the Berlin vibe with their relaxed campaign", Holger Liljeberg of the Info polling institute, told Reuters. "They focus a lot on liberalism, freedom and self-determination."
    Once opinion pollsters began to predict that they might overcome the crucial 5% hurdle to get into parliament, the momentum behind the Pirates began to grow, with supporters no longer worrying that a vote for them would be wasted.

    Now the German Pirate Party will have its say in parliamentary matters and government funding.

    The Pirate Party was founded in Sweden in 2006; in 2009 the party won a seat in the European Parliament.
    Founder Rick Falkvinge commented the Pirates' biggest victory since then:

    We all stand shoulder to shoulder in fighting for the next generation — one of us succeeding is all of us succeeding. Tomorrow, people will look to your success, and the movement will grow yet more. You are the source of inspiration for the next wave of civil liberties activists.

    [The poster above says "Ask your children why they vote for pirates" - hat tip to Emiliano Placchi]

  • Italy | Apps4Italy is online 
    Apps competition are spreading all over Europe and it is now Italy's turn: the Apps4Italy website has just been launched.
    The competition is open to citizens, associations, communities of developers and companies to design solutions based on the use of public data.

    Back in May, open data expert and PdF Europe speaker Ernesto Belisario described the shaping of the Apps4Italy competition as part of the developing open government scenario:

    “Apps4Italy” is an important milestone in the discussion on open data in Italy because people understand that the real problem is that - at the moment - there are few public data available online (such as those of the Piedmont Region and the Municipality of Udine).
    For this reason, the Italian Association for Open Government, Topix and IWA-Italy are organizing a competition called "Apps 4 Italy" that is going to be launched in September.
    We’re committed to ask for more concrete actions from the government, improving citizen engagement and enhancing transparency and accountability by providing public access to public data.
    The contest seeks to reward developers of the most useful, creative and effective web-based applications and tools, to allow people to easily make use of the data.

    The website provides working materials from how to create open data to the state of the art of linked open data in Italy. There is also a handbook for Public Administration agencies willing to work on the topic.
    The hashtag is #apps4italy.

  • Italy | Leading power company opening up corporate data
    Starting today Enel, the leading Italian power company, will be releasing corporate data to the public under a Creative Commons license (Creative Commons By-Attribution license). Data will be mostly related to energy production and consumption.
    The step comes a month after the launch of an open data portal last month. "At the time the portal came with a license that restricted re-use to non-commercial purposes, and did not allow derivative works(effectively making applications using the data impossible)." says open data expert Ton Zijlstra on Epsi Platform.
    All data will be downloadable in xls, csv and XML and will be freely re-usable. Datasets will also be available on Google Fusion Tables.

    It's the first case of a private Italian company adopting the open data model: "Making corporate data available for re-use is a slowly growing response to more government held data being made available for re-use. Out of the combination of both new applications and insights can become possible." concludes Zijlstra.

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Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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