Today at 12:56 CET, the European Parliament decided whether ACTA would be ultimately rejected or whether it would drag on into uncertainty. In a 478 to 39 vote, the Parliament decided to reject ACTA once and for all. This means that the deceptive treaty is now dead globally.
The Dutch government has decided that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) is not good for privacy or internet freedom and therefore shouldn’t be signed. In doing so, the Netherlands has opted not to wait for the EU’s vote on Acta, scheduled for June.
Not only that, however, but Dutch MPs have also ruled that the government will never sign any treaties that are similar to Acta. A motion was passed promising to reject any future treaty that might harm a “free and open” internet. Acta needs to be ratified by the European and national parliaments in order to enter into full effect.
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You could have to pay a big fine for simply clicking on the wrong link.
Right now, a group of 600 industry lobbyist “advisors” and un-elected government trade representatives are scheming behind closed doors1,2 to craft an international agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Why the secrecy? We know from leaked documents3 that the TPP includes what amounts to an Internet trap that would:
Criminalize4 some of your everyday use of the Internet,
Force service providers to collect and hand over your private datawithout privacy safeguards5, and
Give media conglomerates more power to fine you for Internet use,6remove online content—including entire websites—and eventerminate7 your access to the Internet.
The TPP would create a parallel legal system of international tribunals that will undermine national sovereignty and allow conglomerates to sue countries for laws that infringe on their profits.
The TPP’s Internet trap is secretive, extreme, and it could criminalize your daily use of the Internet. You could be fined for simply clicking on the wrong link. We deserve to know what will be blocked, what we and our families will be fined for.
If enough of us speak out now, we can force participating governments to come clean. Your signature will send a message to each country’s leaders.8
Please sign the petition and share it with everyone you know!
Its fate was also uncertain in the United States. Despite the Obama administration signing its intent to honor the deal last year, there was a looming constitutional showdown on whether Congress, not the administration, held the power to sign on to ACTA.
Overall, not a single nation has ratified ACTA, although Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea last year signed their intent to do so. The European Union, Mexico and Switzerland, the only other governments participating in ACTA’s creation, had not signed their intent to honor the plan.
More than three years in the making and open for signing until May 2013, ACTA exports on participating nations an intellectual-property enforcement regime resembling the one in the United States.
Among other things, the accord demands governments make it unlawful to market devices that circumvent encryption, such as devices that copy encrypted DVDs without authorization. That is akin to a feature in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the United States, where the law has been used by Hollywood studios to block RealNetworks from marketing DVD-copying technology.
ACTA, which the Obama administrationmaintains does not require Congressional approval, also calls on participating nations to maintain extensive seizure and forfeiture laws when it comes to counterfeited goods that are trademarked or copyrighted. Most important, countries must carry out a legal system where victims of intellectual property theft may be awarded an undefined amount of monetary damages.
In the United States, for example, the Copyright Act allows for damages of up to $150,000 per infringement. A Boston jury has dinged a college student $675,000 for pilfering 30 tracks on Kazaa, while a Minnesota jury has awarded the Recording Industry Association of America $1.5 million for the purloining of 24 songs online.
A U.S.-backed footnote removed from the document more than a year ago provided for “the termination” of internet accounts for online infringers.
Until European Union authorities began leaking the documents text more than a year ago, the Obama administration was claiming the accord was a “national security” secret.
(Reuters) - The European Parliament rejected a global agreement against copyright theft on Wednesday, handing a victory to protesters who say the legislation would punish people for sharing films and music online.
The vote marked the culmination of a two-year battle between legislators who supported the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and it’s largely young, digitally savvy opponents.
Tens of thousands of activists held rallies across Europe in February to protest against the law, which they said would curb their freedom and allow officials to spy on their online activities. About 2.5 million signed a petition against ACTA.
European Parliament lawmakers voted against the agreement by 478 to 39 with 165 abstentions, meaning the proposed law will have to be renegotiated by the European Commission, the EU’s executive. […]
In an unprecedented step for executive power, President Obama signed an Executive Order on July 6th that allows the executive branch to seize control of all communications infrastructure in the United States, public and private:
“Without even the faintest toot of a fanfare, President Barack Obama has issued an Executive Order that outlines an extreme level of communications preparedness in case of crisis or emergency, including the ability to take over any communication network, including the internet.
The Order, ‘Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions,’ takes many of the US government’s existing emergency communications preparations, and codifies the exact responsibilities of the various US secretaries/departments and intelligence agencies. For the most part, the Order is very sensible; basically, no matter what — come hurricanes, earthquakes, or nuclear war — the US government ‘must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions.’”
One can expect governments to plan for all kinds of emergencies– i.e. meteor strikes, wars, uprisings, (etc.). Several continuity plans are already in place. But if this latest executive order sounds unbelievable, then it probably should, because with the stroke of a pen, President Obama has entered America into a new paradigm.
No longer is it enough for Washington to simply use, cooperate with, or listen to private communications. Now the president claims the authority to order all of it seized– as in nationalized under federal control. In a sense, however, this sweeping new order is only somewhat unprecedented, at least in the Bush-Obama era of executive power. Potential seizure of communications infrastructure simply folds into a laundry list of resources that Obama declared authority to seize and manage in another recent Executive Order:
“On March 16th, President Obama signed a new Executive Order which expands upon a prior order issued in 1950 for Disaster Preparedness, and gives the office of the President complete control over all the resources in the United States in times of war or emergency.
The National Defense Resources Preparedness order gives the Executive Branch the power to control and allocate energy, production, transportation, food, and even water resources by decree under the auspices of national defense and national security. The order is not limited to wartime implementation, as one of the order’s functions includes the command and control of resources in peacetime determinations.”
It is troubling how little coverage and scrutiny this event is getting in the mainstream media. Agree with this new policy or not, why aren’t Americans even discussing it?
The European Parliament overwhelmingly defeated an international anti-piracy trade agreement Wednesday after concern that it would limit Internet freedom sparked street protests in cities across Europe.
The vote – 39 in favor, 478 against, with 165 abstentions – appeared to deal the death blow to the European Union’s participation in a treaty it helped negotiate, though other countries may still participate without the EU.
Supporters had maintained that ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, was needed to standardize the different national laws that protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals, fashion goods and other products that often fall victim to piracy and intellectual property theft. EU officials said, too, that protecting European ideas was essential to the economic growth the continent so badly needs.
Back in 2011, I wrote a short paper about the ‘old’ version of SOPA. As SOPA is rearing it’s ugly head yet again, I decided to post it here. Despite the paper being almost 2 years old, many of the points made here are still valid.
An international treaty being negotiated in secret which would not only crack down on Internet privacy much more than SOPA or ACTA, but would actually destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. and all other signatories.