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Andrew Norton
Chairman of the US Pirate Party
In office
28 January 2015 – 1 March 2016
Preceded byLindsay-Anne Brunner
Succeeded byJoseph Klein
In office
May 2007 – September 2008
Preceded byJoshua Cowles
Succeeded byGlenn Kerbein
Chair of the Board, Pirate Party UK
In office
28 January 2015 – 18 June 2015
Preceded byJack Allnutt
Vice Chairman of the US Pirate Party
In office
November 2013 – January 2015
Succeeded byLindsay-Anne Brunner
Coordinator of Pirate Parties International
In office
September 2008 – August 2009
Preceded byNew position
Succeeded byPat Mächler
Samir Allioui
Personal details
Born24 June 1980
Liverpool, England
Alma materUniversity of Liverpool

Andrew Norton (known also by his pseudonym "K`Tetch"; born 24 June 1980), is a British roboticist, politician and researcher. He is a former Coordinator of Pirate Parties International, a previous[1] Chairman of the United States Pirate Party and a previous Chairman of the Board for Pirate Party UK.

Early life and education

Norton was born in Liverpool, England. He was educated at Liverpool Blue Coat School from 1991 to 1998 and assisted as an IT technician for four years before studying Robotics at the University of Liverpool.[2]

Professional career

Using his knowledge of robotics, Norton took part in various robot combat competitions in the UK and the US, first as a competitor and later as a safety inspector. His team, Liverdyne Robotics, held the UK Middleweight title from 1998 to 2000.[2] Norton helped run over 70 independent robot combat events around the UK from 1999 to 2003. He also appeared in series 3, 4, and 5 of British robot combat TV show Robot Wars. He also worked on several seasons of Comedy Central's BattleBots, as well as other small TV roles, including an appearance in Spaced both in front of and behind the camera.

In the late 1990s Norton worked as a commercial copyright enforcer for a London-based record label, however he resigned from this role in 1999 over protests with the industry response to Napster and MP3s.[2]

Norton has been employed by the Dutch news website TorrentFreak for several years, and is their lead researcher and Community Manager. He is also currently a P2P systems researcher and was the assistant director of Electronic Frontier Forums, a series of lectures and panels given at Dragon Con each year. In 2003, Norton moved to Georgia, US.[2]

Political career

Norton was introduced to politics in the late 1990s by current Leader of the Liberal Party and family friend, Steve Radford. He joined the Conservative Party, but left when he moved to the United States in 2003. In 2004 he worked on the election campaign for two Libertarian Party candidates for a state house seat in Washington state. However, the campaign was not a success.[2]

Norton became part of the United States Pirate Party in October 2006 shortly after its founding, and was made International Coordinator. In March 2007, Norton became Chairman of the party and served in this role until September 2008, focusing on his expertise in copyright.[3] In September 2008 he stepped down from Chairmanship to become the first Coordinator of the then-fledgling Pirate Parties International. He left this role in July 2009, handing the role over to a team of Pat Mächler and Samir Allioui.[4][2] He has since criticised the direction of Pirate Parties International.[5]

In 2011, Norton joined the Pirate Party UK as a member, and has worked as part of the press team since then. On 28 April 2013, he became a Governor of Pirate Party UK. On 28 January 2015, Norton became Chairman of the Board of Pirate Party UK.[6]

He rejoined the Board of the US Pirate Party on 14 July 2010 as the party's Legal Officer. In November 2013 he became the Vice Chair of the US Pirate Party, continuing in this role until January 2015, when he resumed the role of Chairman, focusing on topics of accountability, privacy[7] and activism.[8] Since June 2013 he has also been the Vice Chair of the Georgia state Pirate Party.[2][9]

Notable incidents

In 2007, one of his first jobs for TorrentFreak was researching a claim that Comcast was interfering with the Bittorrent Protocol. He led a research team and discovered[10] that Comcast was using a product called Sandvine to disrupt Bittorrent usage nationwide. Once this research was verified by the Assosciated Press[11] and EFF[12] it prompted an FCC investigation[13] leading to the imposition of updated Net Neutrality rules.[14]

In 2013, Norton responded to a consultation on collecting societies run by the UK Intellectual Property Office. His response prompted them to delay publication of the responses for 6 weeks, before redacting his response saying he "inappropriately criticised the activities of others in the sector"[15] by providing links to news stories and court rulings,[16] as the consultation had explicitly requested. The IPO later admitted overreach[17] while emails obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request showed that such standards are not applied to larger respondents, only to individuals, for the purposes of amusement.[18]

In 2014 Nominet changed their rules about domain name WHOIS information leading up to the launch of the .uk TLD. Norton, who has used the pseudonym "K`Tetch" since 1996 including on his domain WHOIS, fell foul of these new changes, which required all domains handled by Nominet to have their WHOIS information verified through government databases, or copies of photo ID submitted to Nominet, outraging many including Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.[19] In discussions with the Guardian, Nominet also revealed their inconsistent stance on what constituted a commercial website.[20] Nominet claims to have now changed their policies on what qualifies as a commercial site.[citation needed]


Norton was the editor of and contributor to No Safe Harbor, a collection of essays about Pirate politics.[21] He is also an occasional contributor to publications such as TechDirt,[22] ArsTechnica[23] and SERVO Magazine. In April 2017, he announced[24] his next book would focus on analysing the politics and philosophy of the Discworld universe.



  1. ^ "Leadership – United States Pirate Party".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Andrew Norton". Pirate Party UK. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  3. ^ Attack Of The Show – The Loop: Porn Piracy, retrieved 30 May 2017
  4. ^ Norton, Andrew. "Signing off". Pirate Parties International. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  5. ^ Norton, Andrew (13 March 2015). "PPI Became A Pirate Chimera". Pirate Times. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  6. ^ "The Board". Pirate Party UK. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Online Family Safety". Electronic Frontiers Forum. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Hacktivism". The Stream US, Al Jazeera America. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Leadership". United States Pirate Party. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Comcast Throttles BitTorrent Traffic, Seeding Impossible - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. 17 August 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  11. ^ "The Associated Press: Comcast Blocks Some Internet Traffic". 21 October 2007. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  12. ^ "EFF tests agree with AP: Comcast is forging packets to interfere with user traffic". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  13. ^ "FCC Hearing: Comcast Uses Hacker Techniques - TorrentFreak". TorrentFreak. 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Restoring Net Neutrality: Regulation, Legislation, or Litigation?". Electronic Frontiers Forums. 11 August 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  15. ^ "Intellectual Property Office – Response to the 2011 Consultation on proposals to change the UK's copyright system". Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  16. ^ "UK Government Censors Copyright Consultation Submission About How Awful Collection Societies Are". Techdirt. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  17. ^ "IPO Admits Censorship Overreach in Consultation Response". Politics & P2P. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Discussions on redactions in collecting society consultation – a Freedom of Information request to Intellectual Property Office". WhatDoTheyKnow. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  19. ^ Wales, Jimmy (6 June 2014). "Jimmy Wales Twitter". @jimmy_wales. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  20. ^ Short, Adrian (11 June 2014). "Nominet's new rules on .uk domains could mean the end to users' privacy". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  21. ^ Masnick, Mike (10 September 2012). "Chat With 'No Safe Harbor' Editor This Week". Techdirt. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Article history for Andrew Norton". TechDirt. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  23. ^ Staff, Ars (22 August 2019). "YouTube flags robot battle videos as "animal fights"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  24. ^ "Andrew "K'Tetch" Norton's Blog – New book started – April 16, 2017 21:11". Retrieved 30 May 2017.