Polish Prime Minister Steps Up His Anti-ACTA Efforts After Hosting 7-Hour Open Q&A Via IRC

from the wow dept

A few weeks ago, we noted that Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk had agreed to suspend attempts to ratify ACTA while he explored the details — completely flip-flopping on his earlier adamant support for the agreement. However, late last week he went even further. Rather than just putting off the issue, he’s now actively campaigning against ACTA throughout Europe. While some are accusing him of bowing to public pressure and the protests throughout Poland (which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing — listening to the public and all), he insists that it had more to do with learning more details about the likely impact of ACTA.

And here’s the thing: unlike most other politicians out there, Tusk actually set up a real and open interaction with people online. This happened a few weeks ago, but Wired has the details:

On Feb. 6, all this activity culminated in an unprecedented conversation between Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and — for want of a better word — the internet, that lasted the better part of seven hours.

People used social media to lob questions and comments, but when the anti-ACTA NGOs involved said Twitter and Facebook were not sufficiently open and transparent platforms for voicing public opinions and suggested IRC (Internet Relay Chat) the government agreed. #debataACTA and #debataACTA-pytania were set up on the IRC server of the political hacker group Telecomix, where a geekier set came to participate. The discussions were projected for the PM who answer questions and points for hours while the event was livestreamed and broadcasted over Polish TV and Radio.

What strikes me as most interesting about all of this is that we’ve been suggesting a truly open and online meeting concerning what the legacy entertainment industry players feel they need and how they want the internet to change. And people keep insisting that using an open platform like IRC would never work… and yet here’s an example where it clearly did. It’s really pretty amazing to see a head of state spend nearly seven hours discussing internet regulation/copyright issues with regular internet users via IRC… and having that have a real impact. Impressive.

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Comments on “Polish Prime Minister Steps Up His Anti-ACTA Efforts After Hosting 7-Hour Open Q&A Via IRC”

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48 Comments
Suja (profile) says:

And people keep insisting that using an open platform like IRC would never work… and yet here’s an example where it clearly did. It’s really pretty amazing to see a head of state spend nearly seven hours discussing internet regulation/copyright issues with regular internet users via IRC… and having that have a real impact. Impressive.

Yeah things tend to work when you stop whining and making excuses for how it can’t work and actually TRY it.

Mr. Smarta** says:

Nonsense...

Nonsense. You cannot have an open discussion that freely expresses concerns and new ideas on any sort of medium that allows people to go against what it is you’re trying to accomplish. When a politician or a corporate CEO wants to pass a law, the only way to get the public involved is to hold a meeting either a) in a secret location nobody knows about, or b) hold the meeting hours before publicizing the meeting. Holding meetings like this to get public opinion is counterproductive to my… I mean… an industry leader’s payche… I mean… incentive to lead the industry. This is just showboating and should not be performed in such an open manner.

Please forget everything you read here or see on IRC from politicians like this as these are not valid news media. This sort of event purely supports piracy, copyright infringement, patent infringement, child pornography, drug use, prostitution, solicitation of minors, beastiality, goat herding, chicken killing, donkey shaving, book burning, murder, burglary, data encryption to hide crimes, and our ability to get laws passed requiring everyone to have a camera installed in their bathrooms so the government can charge you a tax for every time you take a dump.

Chris From Poland says:

Reporting from Poland here :-).

The meeting itself achieved nothing. It was a bit of an unorganized mess, really. Since anyone could ask questions and make comments, literally anyone asked questions and made comments. Anyone, that is, the lowest common denominator folk. Most of the remarks weren’t of a high level of expertise, though admittedly some skilled NGO members also participated. At the end of the meeting most people left and everyone was tired. I watched the whole debate via a video stream. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the fact that it happened, but such free-for-all debates seldom achieve something constructive. What changed Tusk’s mind was probably his political advisors and reports from NGOs, not the debate itself, which was more of a spectacle.

Anonymous Coward says:

This sort of event purely supports piracy, copyright infringement, patent infringement, child pornography, drug use, prostitution, solicitation of minors, beastiality,goat herding,chicken killing, donkey shaving, book burning, murder, burglary, data encryption to hide crimes .etc

Yes, yes, we know about the politicians and lawyers. But what about their opponents?

szmagi (user link) says:

Maybe it looks impressive from the distance. From where I was sitting it looked like a PR stunt. It was a parody of a debate: the questions from the people invited to the event were asked in batches of 5 or more, which effectively allowed the PM to answer only the ones he wanted and to ignore the rest. PM’s staffers chose which questions from the “social channels” he was to answer, and of course they picked mostly the uninformed, irrelevant or just plain stupid ones. I mean the whole thing was designed to make PM look like a caring father listening to his loved, but a little stupid children. What’s more, on the date of the debate there was no information available concerning the negotiations process and the role polish government played in them. That’s why all the major NGOs involved in anti ACTA advocacy refused to take part in that bullshit and legitimize it.
I’d say that this debate was held just to control the PR crisis, and the real change was caused by the NGOs lobbying the minister of administration and strong negative opinions of some respected public figures, like the ombudsman.
TVs broadcast the debate, but dropped the transmission after about 2 hours for a press conference of a celebrity private detective (even public news channel did). Streaming was available only in silverlight (it took some time to create a workaround for Linux users) and very unreliable:)
Sorry, I didn’t want to criticize so much, after all it looks like it’s going to end well.. but we still have to wait for some actions, not only PM’a declarations

Chargone (profile) says:

After Hosting 7-Hour Open Q&A Via IRC

ahh.

not sure why you expected anyone outside of europe to know about that one, but it’s a significant thing, yes.

course, poland’s also somewhat famous in a similar era for it’s government being unable to actually get anything done due to being run by a parliament where in ANY INDIVIDUAL disagreeing vetoed the action.

*ponders* actually, a few countries could do with that these days, seeing as how an awful lot of our problems seem to be stemming from politicians enacting stupid shit just to justify their own jobs or bribes.

also, i’m not sure helping establish the Hapsburg hegemony is Exactly something to be proud of (though i suppose it was the better of two bad options and the less easy to see coming…)

Mr Big Content says:

Open And Online BRAINWASHING!

The freetards always ask us responsible, law-abiding types why we never want to engage in a ?debate? with them. It?s because THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TRY!!! Inevitably all our carefully thought-out, reasoned arguments get SWAMPED by the incessant propagandizing of their so-called ?evidence? until normally sensible people completely LOSE THEIR MINDS and just become another member of the MINDLESS MARCHING HORDE that is their ZOMBIE FREETARD ARMY!!!

We need LAWS to put a stop to this kind of thing NOW! ACTA, SOPA and PIPA are needed to STEM THE RELENTLESS TIDES OF PIRACY that THREATEN TO OVERWHELM US ALL!!! The very existence of our GREAT GOD-FEARING CIVILIZATION is at stake, people! We AIN?T PLAYING TIDDLEYWINKS HERE!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

Ummm, at least your government officials talked to you. Yes, it may have been disorganized, there may have been dumb questions, and it may have been a PR stunt; however, it could also be the first step towards government officials actually making an effort to communicate with the populace.

See, over here in America our government officials are elected by the wealthy for the wealthy and only the wealthy are ever allowed to talk to them. Sure you can write a letter, but a robot will respond with a generic form letter … it might not even have your name in the response.

A says:

Question to the author of this acticle: where did you get this news from? Sorry, but the debate was a disaster. It was wildly criticized in Polish media. PM D. Tusk organized the meeting in a hurry in oreder to calm down angry crowd.
You say someting about actions… there were no PM’s actions after the event. He only declared he halted the process of ratification ACTA and that more debates are desired. Tusk did NOT withdraw the signature.
“szmagi” and “Chris from Poland” are right, the whole event was a parody.

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