The leading light of Iceland’s Pirate Party, Birgitta Jónsdóttir, has declared that “privacy is dead” after securing the power to form a government in a world first.
Talks between Iceland’s major political parties following October’s elections failed to produce a viable government. Guðni Jóhannesson, the incumbent president, met with Jónsdóttir on Friday to hand her the mandate to form an alternative coalition.
Still not clear if the Pirate Party in #Iceland will be part of co-creating a government. White smoke will appear from the parliament house.— BirgittⒶ Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) November 29, 2016
‘We’ll Never Reclaim Privacy’
The Pirate Party came third in the election, claiming 14.5 percent of the total vote. Speaking to the BBC in an interview following the landmark announcement last week, Jónsdóttir, who stated her dislike to being referred to as the party ‘leader,’ said she still couldn’t believe what was happening. “I always thought, ‘Oh, this must be some freak accident’,” she recalled.
Say it with me: I am not the leader. Why is it so hard to understand that we operate within the circle of power :) https://t.co/SqmgH4JiYa— BirgittⒶ Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) August 10, 2016
Speaking about her party’s plans for reform, Jónsdóttir acknowledged discrepancies between its ideologies and the seeming norms in society. Plans to let citizens introduce their own policies which could become law, as well as a crowdsourced constitution, have not mired her understanding of what voters now find acceptable.
“I totally declare that privacy is dead and gone forever and we will never be able to reclaim it,” she said. “We have to start to look at our realities from that perspective.”
Home for Snowden, bits for Iceland?
Nonetheless, Iceland is keen to see a change in the political landscape, something which is already set to have repercussions outside its borders.
For example, Jónsdóttir is mulling the idea of granting Icelandic citizenship to Edward Snowden, currently under asylum in Russia. Iceland’s previous government rejected the idea outright. “There are not enough protections in asylum,” she reiterated.
Economics is also set to receive a major overhaul should the Pirate Party gain sufficient control over policy. While Iceland currently outlaws the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Jónsdóttir would clearly reverse the move, having previously stated her desire to turn the country into a “Switzerland of bits.”
Prior to the elections, Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge said he would be “surprised if another party had a more favorable platform” for introducing Bitcoin onto the public political stage.
“A good policy begins and ends with understanding the matter at hand,” he added.