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German MP jumps ship for Pirate Party

Porn probe Social Democrat's search for new berth

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A German MP has quit the Social Democrats in protest at the country's approval of controversial laws to crack down on child porn, and pledged his support for the Pirate Party.

Joerg Tauss's defection from one of Germany's ruling coalition partners means the Pirate Party - whose key policy demand is the right for computer users to swap content untrammeled by copyright laws - has two elected representatives. A Swede under the Pirate Party banner took a seat in the European parliament elections earlier this month.*

However, the move will arguably cause yet further controversy, as Tauss is himself being investigated on suspicion of possessing and acquiring child porn, according to the AP.

Tauss says he was carrying out legitimate research aimed at breaking up a child porn ring in his capacity as a lawmaker. He has condemned the accusations, and leaks about the investigation, as "character assasination".

According to Swedish news site The Local, Tauss has a record in investigating child porn sites, and in IT matters in general.

Tauss said in a statement that the main German parties' decision to OK legislation to impose a police operated "block list" on verboten websites, would serve not so much to combat child porn as to "set up a technical infrastructure of censorship," the AP said.

In a translation of his resignation statement, Tauss said he would continue to follow the SDP line on most issues, but that on issues of human rights and the internet they were "terribly wrong".®

Bootnote

A reader points out that Tauss has joined the German Pirate Party - not the Swedish Pirate Party. Still, given that pirates cackle in the face of international law and national jurisdictions, let's not get too hung up on national variants.

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