Oldspeak:“ACTA IS A THREAT TO FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND OPEN ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE. It contains global IP provisions as restrictive or worse than anything contained in SOPA and PIPA. It goes much further than the internet, cracking down on generic drugs and making food patents even more radical than they are by enforcing a global standard on seed patents that threatens local farmers and food independence across the developed world. The treaty has been secretly negotiated behind the scenes, with unelected bureaucrats working closely with entertainment industry lobbyists to craft the provisions in the treaty. We’ve already signed on to the treaty. All it needs now is Senate ratification.” –E.D. Cain “…after the successes of the Internet in enabling revolutions to start and proceed, there is a raw political desire to curb the power of the web. This isn’t based on money, but on fear.” –Sue Gee “The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.” Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. Secretary Of State (1977-1981) The scientific elite are relentlessly working to assert more and more control over access and dissemination of information. A free and open internet must be closed and restricted to achieve those ends. The people will need to stay informed and vigilant against these dire threats to our freedoms.
By E.D. Cain @ Forbes Magazine:
When sites like Wikipedia and Reddit banded together for a major blackout January 18th, the impact was felt all the way to Washington D.C. The blackout had lawmakers running from the controversial anti-piracy legislation, SOPA and PIPA, which critics said threatened freedom of speech online.
Unfortunately for free-speech advocates, censorship is still a serious threat.
Few people have heard of ACTA, or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, but the provisions in the agreement are just as pernicious as anything we saw in SOPA. Worse, the agreement spans virtually all of the countries in the developed world, including all of the EU, the United States, Switzerland and Japan.
Many of these countries have already signed or ratified it, and the cogs are still turning. The treaty has been secretly negotiated behind the scenes, with unelected bureaucrats working closely with entertainment industry lobbyists to craft the provisions in the treaty. The Bush administration started the process, but the Obama administration has aggressively pursued it.
Indeed, we’ve already signed on to the treaty. All it needs now is Senate ratification. The time to stop the treaty is now, and we may need a second global internet blackout to call attention to it.
Here’s a quick video primer:
ACTA bypasses the sovereign laws of participating nations, forcing ISP’s across the globe to adopt these draconian measures.
Worse, it goes much further than the internet, cracking down on generic drugs and making food patents even more radical than they are by enforcing a global standard on seed patents that threatens local farmers and food independence across the developed world.
Despite ACTA’s secrecy, criticism of the agreement has been widespread. Countries like India and Brazil have been vocal opponents of the agreement, claiming that it will do a great deal of harm to emerging economies.
I’ll have more on the agreement as it emerges. But to briefly sum up, ACTA contains global IP provisions as restrictive or worse than anything contained in SOPA and PIPA.
- ACTA spans virtually all of the developed world, threatening the freedom of the internet as well as access to medication and food. The threat is every bit as real for those countries not involved in the process as the signatories themselves.
- ACTA has already been signed by many countries including the US, but requires ratification in the EU parliament and the US Senate.
- The entire monstrosity has been negotiated behind closed doors and kept secret from the public. Technocrats, beholden to the deep pockets of the entertainment lobby, have masked the agreement behind the misnomer of “anti-counterfeiting” when in fact it goes much, much further.
If you thought SOPA would break the internet, ACTA is much worse. And it could become law across the global economy without so much as a murmur of opposition.
Worse still, it’s not alone. Even more restrictive provisions exist in another trade agreement currently being hammered out by various nations.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, there are “other plurilateral agreements, such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which contains a chapter on IP enforcement that would have state signatories adopt even more restrictive copyright measures than ACTA. Similarly, negotiations over TPP are also held in secret and with little oversight by the public or civil society. These initiatives, negotiated without participation from civil society or the public, are an affront to a democratic world order. EFF will remain vigilant against these international initiatives that threaten to choke off creativity, innovation, and free speech, and will stand with EDRi, FFII, La Quadrature du Net and our other EU fellow traveller organizations in their campaign to defeat ACTA in the European Parliament in January.”
The global economy needs to be seen as separate from those nations which comprise the global community of states. Civil society and a free global economy are not the same thing as the bogeyman so often referred to simply as “globalism.”
The free flow of goods and information is as much threatened by the global state apparatus as it is assisted by it, and industries with a vested interested in maintaining the status quo through draconian protectionist measures are now threatening the last frontier of the truly free economy.
By threatening the internet and free speech, the entertainment industry threatens its own existence. But with only short-term profits in mind, this will not deter them.
Yes, our lawmakers fled from SOPA and PIPA when push came to shove, but they have ACTA to fall back on. Notably, few of them are speaking out against this even more dangerous treaty. Not surprisingly one of the lone voices of dissent is Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) who has spoken out against the treaty.
“It may be possible for the U.S. to implement ACTA or any other trade agreement, once validly entered, without legislation if the agreement requires no change in U.S. law,” he wrote. “But regardless of whether the agreement requires changes in U.S. law … the executive branch lacks constitutional authority to enter a binding international agreement covering issues delegated by the Constitution to Congress’ authority, absent congressional approval.”
Even absent US participation, however, we should all be worried about the implications of this and other trade agreements on the global economy, the ripple effects of which would reach all of us regardless of geographical location.
Remember, when one of these bills or trade agreements falls, another rises up to take its place. ACTA has been in the works for several years. SOPA almost passed into law unopposed. The threat to civil society isn’t going away.
If you care about freedom of speech, or if you have participated in SOPA protests, please help spread the word about ACTA. You can sign a petition to stop it here.
By Sue Gee @ I-Programmer:
Last Wednesday’s blackout by Wikipedia, Reddit and other sites raised awareness of PIPA and SOPA but there’s another threat to the open Internet, ACTA and has already been signed in US and elsewhere.
There has been jubilation about the fact that both the PIPA and SOPA bills that were being debated by the US Congress have stopped being an immediate menace.
Yes the action taken by Wikipedia had the desired effect, as did the signatures of the citizens who petitioned President Obama. However, in reality we should view the outcome as a temporary setback for the supporters of this legislation.
They will no doubt try again and we just have to hope that the next proposed legislation is less draconian.
The lasting achievement of the Internet Strike was that it alerted ordinary Internet users to the idea that there are freedoms we currently take for granted that could be blocked with widespread adverse affects.
But while many more people now know about SOPA and PIPA, how many have heard of ACTA – which by having the status of an international trade agreement rather than one country’s law has been introduced without the level of debate accorded to proposed legislation?
According to La Quadrature du Net, a French advocacy group that promotes the rights and freedoms of citizens on the Internet:
ACTA is one more offensive against the sharing of culture on the Internet. ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) is an agreement secretly negotiated by a small “club” of like-minded countries (39 countries, including the 27 of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc). Negotiated instead of being democratically debated, ACTA bypasses parliaments and international organizations to dictate a repressive logic dictated by the entertainment industries.
La Quadrature says ACTA aims at imposing new criminal sanctions and online censorship in the name of copyright.
The US, Canada and many other countries have already signed the ACTA agreement and it was recently adopted by the European Union but it has yet to be debated by the European Parliament and so there is still a short window for protest against ACTA to prevent it being enacted.
Watch the video below to discover why we need to say No to ACTA and refer to La Quadrature’s Wiki to discover how to take action against it.
At this time the Internet is under more threat from sources that are alien to it, or worse fear it, than at any other. However, we are not good at spotting legislative controls that could harm what we do. Partly because it is a different technology and we don’t know the jargon, but mainly because stealth works in the favor of any party trying to pass restrictive legislature.
In the past most of the attempts to control the Internet have come from commercial interests, and piracy was its main target. Now, after the successes of the Internet in enabling revolutions to start and proceed, there is a raw political desire to curb the power of the web. This isn’t based on money, but on fear.
The big problem is that, even when we do notice, the ethos of the web works against us. The web should be open, information should be free and, even when Wikipediawent dark to protest against a bill that would clearly damage the Internet, manyWikipedians thought it was a bad thing for the most noble enterprise, an encyclopedia, to get embroiled in politics.
We desperately need a less idealistic view of the web, one that can defend its freedoms while minimizing the evil within.
For more information please visit:
European Digital Rights’ (EDRi) coverage here: www.edri.org/stopacta
La Quadrature du Net’s coverage here: http://www.laquadrature.net/en/acta
Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure’s (FFII) blog on ACTA http://acta.ffii.org/
Twitter hash tags: #ACTA