THE PIRATE PARTY OF UKRAINE ASKS FOR HELP
An interview with the Pirate Party of Ukraine regarding the Protests of January 2014
Pirate Times: From my perspective ( in Poland), there is pretty good coverage of the subject of the Ukrainian protest in the mainstream media. What information do you feel still isn’t getting through? What would you like to inform the world about?
PT: How is PPUA taking part in the protests?
PPUA: We help protesters with wi-fi infrastructure – in places where they rest and at the city administration building in Kyiv. Many people are afraid of having their social networks accounts hacked, so we try to explain them how to secure their data – email encryption, two-factor authentication, strong passwords, etc. Some of us take part in self-defence units. You might have heard about such thing as “titushky“. They are even more of a serious problem then the police because they don’t need to worry about showing their faces in front of journalists’ cameras. Even when you see all those disgusting deeds perpetrated by the police, in the end; they are afraid of cameras. They often choose operators as main targets. The titushky, however, just do anything they want and no one can feel safe.
PT: What are your demands?
- immediate elections for president and parliament.
- all the deputies, who were involved in “adoption of laws” on 16th , must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
- all persons, who were involved in police brutality (riot police, minister of home affairs, etc.) must be prosecuted. to the full extent of the law.
- all the “16th January” laws must be canceled.
PT: Aren’t you afraid that the radlicalization of the protests will, in fact, benefit Putin? Do you think that demands like the ones above, concerning the prosecution of parliament members who were involved in the “adoption of laws” on the 16ht of January, mean that you won’t leave them any way out? In effect, forcing them them to seek help in Moscow?
PPUA: Yes, we are. However, Putin isn’t our main problem. In case of radicalization, people in the streets will come into confrontation with well armed special forces of the police and it will be carnage. You’ve already seen what they can do with protesters. You say that the members of parliament won’t have any “escape route”, but they have already lost it. That is what they continue to attempt to strangle the protests.
PT: Do you have any members in the east of the country? And if so, are you in contact with them? Do they support you?
PPUA: Yes. We are all looking for an improvement of our civil rights, so it doesn’t matter which party has the most power and who is our president. None of us would support people who want to be able to decide what people are allowed to speak about. It’s wrong for us to divide ourselves into those who live in the east and those who live in the west. These are the kinds of methods used by the authorities to embroil people. “Divide and rule”…
PT: You mentioned earlier in our conversation that you teach the protesters about communication security-can you expand on this?
PPUA: People don’t think much about security while surfing the internet. They use simple passwords and they don’t worry about non-secure (http) connections, thereby allowing themselves to be open for hacking with sniffers. We get a lot of questions about anonymizers and encryption – things like “is it safe to use tor” and “what are the best ways to save your private data”. The main goal is to show how services, such as Dropbox or Gmail, can access to everything you store there, etc.
PT: Do you have any plans on how to cope with the possibility of an internet or mobile phone blackout?
PPUA: If they cut off the backbounds we can still use local networks and reincarnate FIDO network with its BBS system. We don’t think all ISPs( internet service providers) would easily comply with the decision of blackout. Even if all major ISPs, controlled by Party of Regions, would cut communications, there remain many smaller providers. Some of them have already supported the protest.
PT: How do you think other Pirate Parties could support you ?
PPUA: We all need to feel support from the outside world. Many think that Europe won’t do anything to help us. It would be great to have video message, for example, which could be shown on Maidan’s main screen and by our independent media.
About Zbigniew Łukasiak
I am a 40 years old programmer from Poland. I am fascinated (and scared) by the way Internet changes our societies and I want to take a part in that. I am a Free and Open Source Software passionate (https://github.com/zby) and I joined Interenet Society Poland when there was a Free Software chapter, and I stayed there while ISOC Poland fighted the patent directive and retency laws in the European Parliament. Recently I have been involved in reinstaing the Polish Pirate Party. Pollitically I am maybe close to libertarians – but I am not a dogmatic and I also believe that our new ways of communicating and working will also require new politics. I have three blogs: