February 1, 2019

Free and open information society

I ran for the Parliament in the list of Green Party because they agreed to include in their election platform the Pirate Party program of digital rights in information society. We drafted the program specially for Estonian Parliament elections 2019 and offered it to other political parties too. Although created for 2019 elections the program probably retains its actuality for next half a dozen years least.

Success of Estonian information society resulted from limitless situation of the 1990s, which allowed to make use of new technology without having embraced the European values – the software was pirated by government offices as well as private enterprises, personal data was traded without any hesitation. Which brought us here, doesn’t lead us forward – developments of next generation can not stem from lack of principles and rules, but understanding and making use of concepts which have lead forward the information society. That’s why we have put forward new values like openness and privacy, copyright begs for reforms, but also how do we work and get paid. Digital sphere is widening and penetrating into our habitual reality, but emergent properties of digital infrastructure are still new to us and confuse us. In this program we look at the world from perspective of bits and bytes and offer solutions, which have proved themselves on digital ecosystems.

Direct democracy

Including people in the political decisions also during the time between elections stimulates the feeling of ownership of state and lessens alienation from the government. We will introduce direct democracy step by step starting from individual decisions and move on to broaden its use with binding referendums and digital democracy tools for parlamentary process. Although using digital technology for referendums helps to reduce environmental as well as financial costs, way to participate without using digital tools always has to be available all time for security reasons as well as to make every societal group heard. By innovating democracy we aim bringing largest amount of people and groups with diverse agendas into direct representation in the political process, we refrain from any majoritarian models of democracy.

Freedom of speech

The condition for meaningful public debate and informed decisions is the common sphere of discussion where everybody can participate and voice their opinions fulfilling elementary requirements. We minimise governmental censorship and reduce the censorhip by media monopolies and other provivate enterprises by supporting open media platvorms. For the model we transform national broadcasting agency info open media platform, which not only creates quality content for free use and reuse with the tools of information society, but we also make it a journalistic media hub, which offers citizens ways to create their own information feeds and experience diversity of opinions instead of filter bubble. Every individual has to have access to public without requirement for identification and pseudonymity has to remain an option for minority groups as a safegurard of free speech. Against harrassment and hate speech we support creating means to identify people behind malevolent intentions, but be refrain from delegating censorship to private enterprises.

Privacy and personal data

Freedom of conciousness and absence of outside pressure is the core requirement to enable individual independently form and develop meaningful decisions in democratic society. As specifically in digital realm is the integrity of private sphere endangered, we make sure government and private enterprises gather private data only in minimal amount and if absolutely necessary and individual has full access to all the personal data collected. We start making our digital rights actionable by annulling requirement for unreasonable metadata retention in digital communication protocols by Internet service providers and ensure that our digital state does not sacrifice important civil rights at building information systems and bringing government services into digital realm. We support making use of digital tools and innovation, but ensure that it does not pave the way to digital dystopy of total surveillance. We stand for journalistic source protection and support strong legal protection for whistleblowers.

Open data and freedom of information

Comprehensive and unsrestricted access to information enables societal progress. Free and open information systems enable us as active processors and creators of knowledge. The data from these systems has to be available for analysis by citizens and independent experts to make decisions on challenges we face, be it state of forests in Estonia or expenditures from shale energy. We erquire larger government institutions to appoint data publishing officer, who has to ensure all unrestricted databases are published according to requirements of public information act. We make sure policy recommendations of open science by Estonian Research Council are met and create timelines for opening up data in all other domains. We use tools of data science in government decisions and encourage using open data interfaces in private sector.

Knowledge economy

The use of digital technologies has significantly accelerated social processes, they have caused and will cause significant changes in how we work and get our education. In order to smoothen the process of getting used to changes happening, we consider necessary to compile educational materials the way they can be used freely for retraining and self-education. We will create a legal environment and institutional motivators for extensive digitalization of cultural heritage, as well as to ensure open access to it. We will support the retraining required in connection with changes in the information society and initiate a pilot project to test the applicability of universal basic income. We will bring governmental strategy “Sustainable Estonia 21” out of the drawer and actually implement it, based on the synthesized scenario of “Estonia as an information society”.

Free Internet

The Internet in its ubiquity, complexity and diversity is a digital ecosystem comparable to natural environment. Just as for natural ecosystems sustainablility and accessibility to every member of society is important, the Internet should retain its openness and distributedness and it has to be resilient to catastrophes. We will ensure that network infrastructures and government services comply with the open standards of the Internet ecosystems. In Internet governance we endorse multi-stakeholder model of independent online groups that are based on international governmental agreements. We bring to the forefront the rights of Internet users and provide them with comprehensive access the Internet, not limited by technical or other means, while ensuring that their digital rights are protected in situaltion of technological innovations such as the Internet of Things or artificial intelligence. Internet service providers should not be pushed into the role of legal authorities by making them filter or censor the content they help to provide.

The objective of intellectual property rights in the digital realm is to encourage creativity and promote the development of science and culture. We support copyright that promotes cultural diversity, which does not limit the possibilities of interaction between the audience and creators, and which gives a chance to creative individuals not yet established. We will protect and strengthen the copyright exceptions for education, data and facts, as well as support existing practices in various fields, such as collective licensing, which allows the public to have access to copyrighted information without additional restrictions. We will launch at least one pilot project to update existing practices in the field of intellectual property that will increase payments to authors in balance with the interests of society in general. We ensure that content created by state institutions will always have a globally recognised license attatched. When distributing government benefits to creators, preference should be given to projects that create content based on free licenses. At the European level, we will support the simplification and unification of copyright, which will reduce the restrictions on the movement of digital content between EU member states. In order to enforce copyright, automatic censorship can not be used.

Separation of powers

In the rather young legal system of Estonia, the balance between the legal guarantees of citizens, the judicial power and the executive power has not yet been fully developed and differs from the commonly accepted balance in Western Europe. We will create a special commission in parliament, which will review the legislative practice and bring it in line with the European legal frameworks and traditions. We will specifically investigate surveillance and privacy and problems related to police operations, for all institutions that collect personal data we make mandatory the publication of statistics related to investigative activities. We will significantly reduce the types of offences in which the surveillance is allowed, making it available only in the case of serious crimes. We will establish standards for the protection of basic rights in information systems that can be used as a tool for surveillance or collecting personal information. We will increase the ability of citizens and their communities to step up against abuses by public or private enterprises.

Demilitarizing the cyber

Illegal activities in digital realm are part of civil law, which should not be confused with the defense and aggression of states and corporations. To combat crimes in the digital environment, we support attainging general knowledge and understanding best practises of information security, for actual cyber defense we support model of Defense League, where defense capabilities are born in collaboration with volunteers and professionals. We stand against considering the Internet as a military battleground for information war and cyber war, which as a concept systematically subverts the rights of citizens. Government should not develop the means for taking control of the Internet or computer systems. We support the ratification of an international treaty on the limitation of cyber weapons, signatories of which take the responsibility to declare their cyber weapons and publicly log their actual use.

Open economics and entrepreneurship

Government supports high-tech and technology-based entrepreneurship and innovation, primarily by creating a favorable business and legal environment. We support the running of pilot projects in the areas of sharing economy, unmanned vehicles etc, but we distinguish pilot projects of a temporary nature and their preconditions from steady changes to legal environment. Technical as well as legal models prototyped in Estonia have to be scalable, and this must be kept in mind when conducting experiments which need support of changing the legislation. Estonia can be leading in open science and open patent repositories, more generally open knowledge which can be hosted on southern coast of the Finnish Gulf, but applied all around the world. We introduce collection and publishing of business data, which will allow us to more accurately model and optimize the economy, as well as ensure the scalaity of the methods applied.