ACTA: Worse Than SOPA and PIPA - by Stephen Lendman
ACTA will destroy Internet freedom if becomes law in major countries.
Internet freedom's on the line. SOPA and PIPA threatened Net Neutrality and free expression. So does ACTA. More on it below.
For now, the largest online protest in Internet history got Congress to abandon SOPA and PIPA for now but not permanently. Expect resurrection in modified form. Language may change but not intent. ACTA's worse.
Launched on October 23, 2007, America, the EU, Switzerland and Japan began secretly negotiating a new intellectual property enforcement treaty - the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
Other nations got involved, including Canada, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Singapore, and the UAE. Ostensibly for counterfeit goods protection, it's about fast-tracking Internet distribution and information technology rules at the expense of Net Neutrality, privacy, and personal freedoms.
It establishes unrestricted supranational global trade rules. In the process, it tramples on national sovereignty and personal freedoms. Moreover, negotiations were secret until WikiLeaks reported in May 2008:
"If adopted, (ACTA) would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime, with new cooperation requirements upon (ISPs), including perfunctionary disclosure of customer information."
"The proposal also bans 'anti-circumvention measures which may affect online anonymity systems and would likely outlaw multi-region CD/DVD players. The proposal also specifies a plan to encourage developing nations to accept the legal regime." Those opting out face retaliatory measures.
On April 22, 2010, Electronic Frontier Foundation writer Gwen Hinze headlined, "Preliminary Analysis of the Officially Released ACTA Text," saying:
"The text (leaves no doubt) that ACTA is not just about counterfeiting." It's far more. It covers copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property forms, including the Internet.
It's also about the ability of users to "communicate, collaborate and create" freely. In addition, it imposes obligations (on) Internet intermediaries (and), requir(es) them to police" cyberspace and its users. As a result, it raises serious questions about open affordable access, free expression, personal privacy, and "fair use rights."
On May 27, 2011, the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) said the European Commission published a final ACTA text with few changes from its last known version. Since introduced, major media scoundrels reported little about its destructive provisions.
Last October, Washington, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signed ACTA. US deputy trade representative Mariam Sapiro hailed the occasion, saying:
"As with many of the challenges we face in today's global economy, no government can single-handedly eliminate the problem of global counterfeiting and piracy. Signing this agreement is therefore an act of shared leadership and determination in the international fight against intellectual property theft."