Pirate Party Leading Opinion Polls in Iceland

Iceland has historically been an anomaly within the Nordic region, leaning politically more to the right than its neighbours Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden – countries that favour social democratic governments – but after being decimated by the global recession in 2008, the island’s citizens started to shift left. In 2009, Iceland elected the world’s first openly gay Head of State, but Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir’s Social Democratic Party was ousted in the follow-up election by a coalition of the conservative Progressive and Independence parties in 2013.

The country’s recent swing back to the right seems temporary, however, with the current coalition haemorrhaging support. Instead of the tide turning the way of the Social Democratic party, though, there has been a massive surge towards the Pirate Party.

Iceland’s Pirate Party currently has the support of around 35% of voters, according to the latest Gallup poll, putting the Pirates ahead of both coalition parties combined, which collectively has around 33% support (11% for the Progressive Party and 21% for the Independence party).

The Pirate Party was born out of the Pirate movement – the same ethos that birthed infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay – that emerged around a decade ago in Europe. It is marked by its strong left-wing stance on maintaining civil liberties and human rights, while opposing oppressive copyright laws, state surveillance, and capitalist influence over governments. If voted into power, The Pirate Party supports granting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum and citizenship.

Does the Pirate Party have a chance of taking power in Iceland? It’s too early to say. The next Icelandic election isn’t until April 2017, and a lot can change in two years, but this staggering and unexpected swing towards the Pirate Party could point towards a more progressive future for the habitually conservative country.

Thank you Daily Kos for providing us with this information.

AMD To Update GCN Series With Iceland, Tonga and Hawaii XTX

The next-generation GPU wars based on new graphics architectures and 20/16nm process nodes is not set to begin until early 2015. In the meantime AMD and Nvidia are both having to make do with product refreshes and tweaks based on their existing 28nm GCN and Kepler designs respectively. The latest refreshes are to come from the AMD camp and they are looking to out three new GPUs based on their GCN 28nm design: Iceland, Tonga and Hawaii XTX.

Iceland is set to be a mid-range GPU for the mobile market, it will also launch as a desktop card at a later date and will replace AMD’s Cape Verde GPUs: which form the HD 7750, HD 7770, R7 250X and some R7 250 models. As a result Iceland will be competing with Nvidia’s GM107 Maxwell parts: the GTX 750 Ti and GTX 750.

Next up is Tonga which we have already heard a lot about. According to VideoCardz the Tonga GPU will be based on the Tahiti design, which makes the R9 280X, R9 280, HD 7970 (GHz) and HD 7950 (Boost). However, it will be a slightly slimmed down version with a 256 bit memory bus versus the current 384 bit. Given the reduced memory bandwidth it seems likely that it will slot in between the R9 270X and R9 280. The Tonga GPU will exist alongside current Tahiti products until the 300 series is launched by AMD next year.

Finally we have Hawaii XTX. We have heard about this GPU before and the basic rumour was that the Hawaii GPU was not fully utilised and so a Hawaii XTX model would come out with extra stream processors and would offer a faster single GPU than the R9 290X. It turns out that the speculated R9 295X did not exist, at least not with 3072 GCN cores. Now it appears Hawaii XTX will merely be a revision to the Hawaii XT GPU, think of it as the R9 290X GHz Edition. Of course the R9 290X already runs at 1GHz , but the point I’m trying to get across is it will be similar to what AMD did when the HD 7970 became the HD 7970 GHz Edition. They will be increasing the core clock speeds and using a more refined second revision of the GPU that should clock higher and be more stable when overclocking.

Source: VideoCardz

Image courtesy of VideoCardz

Auroracoin Virtual Cash To Be Given To Icelanders

On March 24th, every Icelandic citizen is going to get the chance to claim a share of virtual coins. The idea is to distribute millions of the digital Auroracoins to all of Iceland’s 330,000 citizens and the project is the brainchild of entrepreneur Baldur Odinsson.

Odinsson’s company is already pre-minding the millions of coins needed by generating the unique identifiers that each of the coins need. Since the coins are built around the same ideals as BitCoin they have to be mined, but because these coins are being minted pre-launch the company is able to have them ready much sooner.

The idea is that by distributing the virtual cash, everyone will help to restore some of the value to the Icelandic Krona. Since everyone in Iceland now has a unique ID number, the project is able to ensure that they can distribute the coins evenly to each citizen and details of how they can claim their coins will be revealed very soon and that people will have up to one year to claim their share.

It’s an interesting concept and it will be interesting to see if it can bring real world benefits to the people of Iceland, but it’s just another interesting chapter in the strange world of crypto-currencies.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

New Brand “ID-Cooling” Entering European PC Cooling Market

ID-Cooling are a new brand in Europe founded by “Shenzhen Wan Jing Hua Technology co., Ltd.” of China. They are looking to make an entrance into the European PC hardware market manufacturing cooling products. They apparently have a long history of making business and OEM cooling products, for 10 years. They were present at Computex 2013 and they have announce four series of CPU coolers. Strangely the product segmentations are represented by Scandinavian flags.

  • Finland is graced by high-end cooling – FI series
  • The high/mid-range is under the Swedish banner – SE series
  • Iceland is going to be thin down-draft coolers – IS series
  • And Denmark will represent the traditional “open cooler” style – DK series

Unfortunately they didn’t disclose names and details of products but you can see more at their website here.

Information will come next month when they release their products to the EU market. Hopefully we will be able to bring you guys some reviews and see how this new player on the block performs. There are exciting times in the cooling market as both ID-Cooling and Raijintek are joining the market after public displays at Computex 2013.

Images courtesy of ID-Cooling

Iceland Won’t Be Granting Snowden Citizenship Or Asylum

Iceland’s Parliament Building

Despite the best efforts of Iceland’s Official Pirate Party, the country will not be offering him citizenship. This is due to the fact that the Icelandic parliament refused to hear the proposal and will be taking a break from parliamentary sessions until September. Even when it gets back it is unlikely the current government would get involved. The idea from the previous proposal was that by granting Edward Snowden Icelandic citizenship he would be exempted from extradition and would get permanent asylum.

With this not materialising Edward Snowden can probably safely cross Iceland off his list of potential safe havens.

“It is with great grief I have to announce that Snowden will not be getting any form of shelter in Iceland because the current government doesnt [sic] even have enough spine for the parliament to discuss Snowden’s request,” Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir wrote.

Image courtesy of urbantoronto.ca (Photobucket)

Pirate Party Of Iceland Pushing For Citizenship For Edward Snowden

Iceland’s Pirate Party is now represented in parliament after election success earlier this year and they are doing their bit for Edward Snowden by requesting that he be granted citizenship in Iceland so he can be granted asylum. The draft law suggests Snowden should immediately be granted citizenship as a means of offering asylum and preventing legal extradition. Though in the preliminary round of voting only 6 out of 63 of parliament’s members voted in favour of the proposal.

We wanted to do this earlier but citizenship is an extremely delicate issue when it’s granted by parliament instead of granted through ordinary legal processes…he would undoubtedly be extradited from Iceland unless he were a citizen of Iceland.” stated Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, Pirate Party Iceland MP.

Despite this Iceland’s foreign ministry said Edward Snowden’s case would be treated just like any other. Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP from the Pirate Party, believes that the Icelandic government could not extradite Edward Snowden because he faces a possible death sentence in the USA. It is illegal to extradite someone who may face a death sentence in Iceland. Many reputable political figures in Iceland have called for the country to provide him with asylum but even Pirate Party MP Jonsdottir stated that coming to Iceland is a bad move for Edward Snowden given Iceland’s poor track record of offering political asylum.

Image courtesy of Pirate Party Iceland

Snowden’s Asylum Options: 1 Withdrawn 10 Rejected 10 Pending

According to reports by RT.com Snowden’s options for political asylum are rapidly evaporating. The NSA whistleblower has withdrawn his application for Asylum to Russia after they told him he could only have asylum if he stopped “damaging” the USA, a condition he was not prepared to agree to. Furthermore Finland, Brazil, Poland, India and Germany all rejected his asylum claim outright stating they were not willing to accept him. Spain, Norway, Italy, Ecuador and Austria also rejected Snowden’s asylum request on the grounds that he had to be already inside the country for it to be processed. These rejections bring the total numbers of rejections to 10, and with the single withdrawal, 11 of Snowden’s options have already been vaporised.

So what options are left for the NSA whistleblower? Well he still has Bolivia, China, Cuba, France, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Switzerland and Venezuela left to reply. Of those ten remaining options China says it is not aware of the request and France has denied ever receiving such an Asylum request and since they also recently blocked a Bolivian Jet from flying through their airspace because of suspicions that Edward Snowden was onboard it could easily turn out that France will reject the request too.

As of writing the most likely nations to accept seem to be Venezuela and Bolivia after they both expressed anti-USA sentiments and stated their willingness to protect Snowden.

Image courtesy of the Guardian

PRISM Whistleblower Snowden Travelling Via Moscow To Unknown Third Country

The American whistleblower Edward Snowden is a wanted man in the USA after spilling the beans on details so controversial they have millions of people bitter and angry. Throughout this storm the whistleblower has been riding it out in Hong Kong but recently the American government has been filing paperwork to force an extradition.

As a result of this Edward Snowden certainly doesn’t want to be hanging around and has already taken a flight to Moscow to then get another flight to an unknown third country. Apparently WikiLeaks are aiding Edward Snowden with finding political asylum in a democratic country, believed to be either Iceland or Ecuador.

The Hong Kong government stated that Edward Snowden left legally and voluntarily and that the extradition request submitted by the American government “did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law”. The Russian government are apparently surprised by Edward Snowden’s arrival and were not expecting it but there is almost no doubt that they will let Edward Snowden pass through freely onto his final destination, whatever that may be.

Hong Kong’s statement about Edward Snowden was pretty interesting and it was almost a message of defiance against the USA. You can read it in full below:

Image #1 courtesy of the Guardian and Image #2 courtesy of RussiaToday

Pirate Party Achieve Three Seats Of National Parliament In Icelandic Elections

The Pirate Party of Iceland achieved something very impressive yesterday after acquiring three seats of parliament in the Icelandic national elections. In total, the Pirate Party grabbed 5.1% of the total vote – pretty impressive for a party that is only a few months old in Iceland.  The Pirate Party’s success in Iceland also marks the first time that the Pirate Party has been elected into any national parliament. They have of course had other successes such as winning two seats in the European Parliament and winning 20 parliamentary seats in the North Rhine-Westphalia state election. However, this is by far the biggest achievement.

With 95% of the vote counted, the Pirate Party just scraped in with 5.1% of the vote. 5% is needed to get into national Icelandic parliament. Their success is not out of the blue as the Pirate Party were polling very well in the run up to the national elections and for those who can remember, the Pirate Bay just moved its domain to Iceland so we can clearly see the country has a lot of sympathy and support for the Pirate Bay cause.

Three three Pirate Party members elected to Iceland National Pariliament are:

  • Birgitta Jónsdóttir, WikiLeaks volunteer and former MP from 2009 – 2013
  • Jón Þór Ólafsson, business administration student at the University of Iceland
  • Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson, programmer

With the Pirate Party’s success in Iceland despite being in its infancy, its popularity is expected to grow. We are definitely seeing a trend in European states of people becoming disillusioned with current systems of party politics and the Pirate Party has certainly been able to capitalise on this. The Pirate Party focuses on a wide range of issues including prevention of copyright abuse, political transparency, protection of freedom of speech and privacy and most importantly the protection of the internet.

Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, had this to say about the election victory in Iceland:

“I’m delighted every time another country gets pirates elected. Some old media and obsolete industries have insisted we were just a flash in the pan. I love it when those stories are exposed as wishful thinking,”

What are your thoughts on the Pirate Party’s success in Iceland?


Pirate Bay On The Move To Iceland

We brought you the news two weeks ago that the Pirate Bay had attempted to move to a Greenland domain, .gl, in the hope of future-proofing itself in the likely event that its .se Sweden domain gets confiscated by the Swedish authorities. However, the Pirate Bay were thrown out of Greenland within a day thanks to a Danish Supreme Court ruling made previously about illegal file sharing sites.

That left the Pirate Bay in a precarious situation of not being able to find a useable back-up domain to host the website from in the event of www.thepiratebay.se being seized. Consequently, the search for a new domain continued until the latest domain acquisition, which comes in the form of an Icelandic domain, www.thepiratebay.is. The Pirate Bay hope to have found a safe haven for themselves in Iceland.

Iceland have stated that it is not within their jurisdiction to suspend the domain www.thepiratebay.is unless a court order is brought forward against it. When asked whether Iceland would follow Greenland’s lead ISNIC (Iceland’s Domain Registry Company) said this to TorrentFreak:

“The short answer is no. Such an action would require a formal order from an Icelandic court. ISNIC is not responsible for a registrant’s usage of their domains,”

Funnily enough a similar thing happened with WikiLeaks when they were worried about their domain names being seized. They managed to acquire a .is domain to which ISNIC said it is the domain owner’s responsibility to abide by the law – not theirs.

So for the forseeable future expect the Pirate Bay to be available on .se and .is domains until they are confiscated. The Pirate Bay will no doubt continue to survive as long as enough domains exist.


Iceland preparing legislation to ban Internet Pornography

Iceland isn’t exactly a “Big Brother” state when it comes to censorship but things look set to change slightly as Iceland’s Interior Minster Odmundur Jonasson has proposed legislation to ban access to internet pornography. Iceland already has a ban on physical pornographic media such as DVDs and magazines but now its ministers want to extend this to internet services.

The proposed legislation comes from what the Icelandic government sees as social unrest and negative impacts on young people caused by watching porn, particular that of a violent nature. The method of blocking expected to be used is that of a simple IP ban on all pornographic addresses. The use of Icelandic credit cards to purchase pornographic content will also be deemed illegal.

“If we can send a man to the moon, we must be able to tackle porn on the Internet. It is anti-violence because young children are seeing porn and acting it out.  That is where we draw the line.  This material is blurring the boundaries for young people about what is right and wrong.” said Halla Gunnarsdottir, political advisor for Ogmundur.

The Icelandic government claim this is not anti-sex legislation but an attempt to stamp out sexual violence among its population. My concerns with this legislation come mainly around the fact that any censorship tends to infringe upon civil rights and that access to pornography is something that you can’t simply stop with an IP ban, people will always find a way around it. Just like torrent and peer to peer websites, if you take one down then another will surely pop up to take its place. The ban on strip clubs the country previously enacted was successful because it was enforceable – you can shut a strip club down, however the internet is virtually extensive and policing it is near impossible.

Surely good parenting and strong education should be enough to prevent most sexual violence and teach people the difference between right and wrong. Let us know what you think. Is this a good move by the Icelandic government? Is it achievable? And more importantly will it even work?