The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Monthly archive: March 2011

Meet the Pirates, this Sunday, April 3rd, 4-5pm

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We will be holding a meet the pirates event this Sunday, April 3rd from 4 to 5pm.  It will be at 25 Moore St., Somerville.  It is a social event and we will be serving refreshments. Also, from 2-4pm, we will be holding our monthly organizing meeting.  All pirate supporters are welcome to attend.

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Our Position on Google Street View

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We were recently asked what our position was on Google Street View and this is what we came up with: Google street view operates in a public setting, and you have no expectation of privacy in a public setting. If Google were to map out someone’s home without their permission, then we would draw the line there because that is where people do have an expectation of privacy.  If you say that Google cant take pictures on the street without the permission of everyone who is on or owns a piece of property, then professional photographers would need to do the same, and for a citywide panoramic picture that would be ridiculous. Additionally, we believe that it is legitimate for individuals to record or photograph a police officer (or other public servant), public events and buildings in public settings.  There is no real expectation of privacy when you’re out and about.  Complaining about this would open the door to lawsuits where if people notice someone taking pictures of a building, and they just happen to be in the shot, they could sue the photographer, or should it be a public building, potentially arrest the photographer. One of our activists stated it simply:  “People don’t own the photons just because they hit their face or property. And since Google is kind enough to blur out faces and license plates I see nothing wrong with it, and would welcome it’s expansion onto public foot paths.”

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Help protect Massachusetts businesses from Microsoft’s anti-competitive legislation

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A bill currently under consideration by the Massachusetts legislature would give Microsoft the ability to bully companies in Massachusetts on a massive scale, while preventing its free software competitors from using the same law to protect their rights against infringement committed by Microsoft. This technique of spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) is one of Microsoft’s favorite ways to prevent competition. Bill H02842, the TurboFUD bill, basically states that if any company in a product’s supply chain (in the US or elsewhere) uses unlicensed software, the company that sells the product can be held liable. The company would then face penalties including monetary damages, restrictions on the sale of its products, and potentially seizure of its products. This would place enormous burdens on Massachusetts companies (including retailers of hard goods)–essentially forcing them to audit the IT departments of all of their suppliers or face huge penalties and endless litigation. This would make it even harder for companies to create jobs in Massachusetts during an already difficult time. And it’s all being done to protect Microsoft, a failing monopoly in Redmond, WA; the bill explicitly states that it cannot be used to defend against infringement of free and open source licenses. Below is the text of an email you can send to your local representatives regarding the TurboFUD bill. Use the subject line “Help protect Massachusetts businesses from Microsoft’s anti-competitive legislation”. You can find your local representatives with this tool. Good morning, Microsoft has been trying to advance its anti-competitive agenda by introducing state laws that allow US companies to be sued if anyone in their supply chains, in the US or elsewhere, use “misappropriated information technology.” One such bill, H02842, is currently being considered in the Massachusetts Legislature. It would allow Microsoft to sue companies selling products if anyone in … Read more

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COICA has not been refiled, but domain seizures continue

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The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) has not been refiled yet, but the US government has continued seizing domain names.  It began when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seized 82 domain names last November, including a BitTorrent search engine, and four popular rap websites:,, and RMX4U.  The seizure of domain names that merely link to “infringing content” is very troubling and could have implications for more mainline search engines such as Google or Bing.  In the case of the rap web sites, they were blogs that artists and labels would often give recordings to in an effort to build buzz for their music.  The evidence cited by DHS has tended to be laughable and even included four songs that were given to one blog by the labels so that the blog would promote them. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continued with a Valentine’s day seizure of sites accused of selling counterfeit goods.  DHS also seized on accusations of trafficking in child pornography and so took down 84,000 websites. Thankfully that domain was restored. While the domain names were seized with the approval of a judge, the owners of the domains seized were denied their 5th amendment due process rights since they were never allowed to challenge the seizures before they occurred. These domain seizures, like COICA, have also flown in the face of our 1st amendment guarantee of free speech. Thankfully some in the Congress such as Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Zoe Lofgren have questioned the domain seizures.  However, we haven’t heard that any of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation have stood up for free speech and due process.  You can help us to assess where our senators and representatives stand on this issue … Read more

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We want your advice

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We are getting a few requests for interviews and while we are up to date on the latest issues with COICA, ACTA, Wikileaks, and full body airport scanners, we want to know what our members and supporters want us to emphasize.  So please feel free to offer your suggestions for what our talking points should be in the comments for this post.  Thanks!

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Organizing Meeting this Sun., Mar. 13th, 2-4pm

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We are holding our monthly organizing meeting on next Sunday, March 13th at 2pm.  It will be at the home of James O’Keefe at 25 Moore St., Somerville, MA.  It is a combination social, educational and planning meeting and we hope you can make it. If you cannot make it, our weekly IRC meeting is every Wednesday at 9:30pm.  See the Organizing section in the right side bar for connection details. Help us make a movie … One of our long-time activists, Clay, is a movie maker and 3D modeling wiz.  He has offered to help make a series of short movies about the issues for which we are fighting.  He cannot do it alone.  We need people to write scripts, research issues, find music, be (voice) actors, etc.  If you have the inclination and the time, please email us at info at masspirates dot org.  Thanks! … or volunteer in another way There are lots of things we need help with to advance our cause. Telling others about the party in person, on Facebook or Twitter are a few of the easy things you can do. However, we need your help! A few of the things we need help with are: keeping track of legislation we will want to support or oppose, going to schools or like minded organizations and talking about our issues, updating and maintaining our website, building local Pirate chapters and training activists, defining and editing our positions making pirate party literature and identifying and training candidates. Please email info at masspirates dot org or call or txt (617) 863-6277 (MAPP) if you can help in these or other areas.

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The Massachusetts Pirate Party in the Media

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We have gotten a few references to our announcement that we are a recognized political designation in Massachusetts and we wanted to share them with you: Universal Hub – Arrrr: You can now register to vote in Massachusetts as a pirate, me hearties TechDirt – Massachusetts Apparently The First State To Let You Officially Register As A Pirate Party Member Bloomberg – Nordstrom, Geron, Baidu, LG, Nestle: Intellectual Property Independent Political Report – Massachusetts Pirate Party becomes an official political designation Torrent Freak – U.S. Gets First Registered Pirate Party

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Further information

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IRC Meetings Wednesday Night

The Mass. Pirate Party weekly chat is every Wednesday at 9pm, Eastern time. To get on:

  1. Go to
  2. Fill out the web form with the Nickname of your choice and enter #masspirates in the Channel box next to it, then click the Connect button
  3. Start typing and reading

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call / txt: (617) 863-6277 (MAPP)

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