Swedish Pirate Ellen Söderberg is EU’s youngest candidate

Ellen Söderberg is the youngest candidate in the EU Parliament elections, but the 18-year-old high school student says she’s not intimidated by the competition or her relative lack of political experience.

Swedish Pirate Ellen Söderberg is EU's youngest candidate

“It makes me feel great that I’m the youngest person running,” Söderberg says. “I think it’s important that young people are active in debate and care about politics.”

She says she spends her days at high school, evenings doing homework, and weekends socializing with family and friends – just like any other “normal” high school kid. Though lately she’s been particularly busy on account of campaigning with the Pirate Party.

“I hope I can be a different voice that people can listen to and understand,” she says. “I hope to get a more open EU Parliament, to speak about integrity, surveillance and piracy. Knowledge is a right as a human. I want knowledge and culture to be free.”

The primary pursuit of the party is to restructure copyright laws, eliminate patent laws and support the right to be anonymous.

“I think it’s important that everyone gets their integrity,” she says. “Everyone should have equal rights no matter where you’re born.”

Söderberg says if elected, her biggest challenge will be facing the competition: up to 785 other politicians, who are predominately middle-aged men.

“I think I’m a strong girl, and I am something different and new,” she says. “I’m not a 50-year-old male like the average European politician. I think young people need a voice in the EU parliament that they don’t have now, and it’s important everyone is represented in the democracy.”

Currently, Söderberg is finishing her first year at gymnasium, and says she hopes that after graduation she’ll be living in Brussels as a MEP. If not, she says she’s contemplating attending university in Lund or Uppsala to study social sciences and culture.

“Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to sit in parliament – even though I’m sort of still a child,” she says with a laugh. But she adds that her experiences working at summer jobs, her research of EU studies, and activate participation in debates make her as valid a candidate as any other. Even though the attention she’s received has made her a celebrity at school, she’s trying to keep a low profile.

“Yesterday some kids at the library got in trouble for being loud, but the librarian said, ‘Not you Ellen, you’re a grown up,’” Söderberg recalls. “I felt so ashamed and weird! People think I’m more mature, some think I’m crazy, some think I’m the coolest girl in school.”

Meanwhile, she says she has reached her current point with the support of her family.

“Yesterday, my mom was laughing because the BBC wanted to interview me and she couldn’t believe it,” Söderberg says. “But my 15-year-old brother, he never thinks I’m cool. Though he has been promoting me online. Even though he won’t say it to my face, I think secretly he thinks I am.”

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Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names

The Swedish state became the unlikely new owner of two domain names used by The Pirate Bay after a court ruling on Tuesday.

Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names
The Swedish state now owns two Pirate Bay domain names. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

In its ruling the Stockholm district court awarded Sweden the domain names and

The case marked the first time a Swedish prosecutor had asked for a web address to be wiped off the face of the internet, Dagens Nyheter reports

“A domain name assists a website. If the site is used for criminal purposes the domain name is a criminal instrument,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told the Swedish daily earlier this year. 

Sweden’s Internet Infrastructure Foundation, which controls the Swedish top level domain .se, opposed the prosecutor’s move to prohibit any future use of the two Pirate Bay addresses.

The court agreed that the foundation had not done anything wrong and conceded that it could not force the group to block certain domain names, Dagens Nyheter reports. But by awarding the addresses to the Swedish state the court effectively ensured that they will not be sold on to another owner. 

The file-sharing service was temporarily knocked off line in December after police seized servers hosted at a data centre in a nuclear-proof bunker deep in a mountain outside Stockholm.

But seven weeks later the resilient file-sharing behemoth was back on its feet and Tuesday’s ruling is unlikely to knock it off balance for long, as the court cannot prevent The Pirate Bay from continuing to run sites on other domains.

The Pirate Bay, which grew into an international phenomenon after it was founded in Sweden in 2003, allows users to dodge copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site – resulting in huge losses for music and movie makers.

In 2009 four Swedes connected with The Pirate Bay were found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court. 

They were each give one-year jail terms and ordered to pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in compensation.