If you thought SOPA and PIPA were bad, let us introduce you to their Big Brother, ACTA.
Just because SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) & PIPA (Protect IP Act) have been derailed (for the moment) in the US doesn’t mean the fight is over. The giant media corps that are behind that endeavor are global in scope, and are pushing their same agenda in the European Union, under legislation known as ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement).
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which has already been signed by several countries, poses a dangerous threat to the inherent freedom and openess of the Internet. Under ACTA, ISP’s and websites will be given more power to track what we do online, while forcing them to turn over our information and reporting our activity to the authorities — all in the name of copyright protection! Excessive copyright protection is a great tool for information suppression. Once technology and blocking techniques are in place, virtually all information is liable to filtering and suppression due to “copyright violation.” ACTA’s ill-conceived provisions will have chilling effects on free speech everywhere.
Read more on this, and then Sign The Petition calling for ACTA’s removal.
This is a good overview on this legislation from The Atlantic, “SOPA Stopped for Now, Anti-Censorship Activists Turn to ACTA”
Now that the armchair activists are doing victory laps, celebrating the (temporary) death of anti-piracy laws SOPA and PIPA in Congress, the years-long protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is getting nasty. Led by Poland, who currently holds the European Union Presidency, several European nations became the latest to sign the secretive treaty in a ceremony that took place in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday. The United States signed it last year.
What the heck is ACTA anyways? And why is it so horrible?
Well, there are plenty of websites set up to explain the bill, not to mention plenty of explainers. The best we’ve read comes from the folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in San Francisco who’ve been waving a banner of protest against the agreement since it first appeared nearly six years ago. Their explainer is worth reading in full, but the section on why you should care about ACTA is worth quoting. It’s less about the measures proposed in ACTA, than it is about the secretive way the agreement was developed. Noting how “ACTA has several features that raise significant potential concerns for consumers, privacy and civil liberties for innovation and the free flow of information on the Internet” the EFF argues that “both civil society and developing countries are intentionally being excluded from these negotiations.” So if you’re still surprised that you’ve never heard of ACTA — even in the anti-SOPA pile-on protest that blacked out some of the world’s biggest websites last week — this is likely why.
So if the most troubling element of ACTA is that it was largely developed behind closed doors, those doors are starting to swing open. Or rather the Internet is charging through them, and we’re sure that white-haired world leaders will have a hard time blocking them. Democracy is no longer something that happens at a ballot box, once a year. It’s a kinetic being, capable of mobilizing hundreds of thousands of citizens behind a cause and forcing decision-makers to rethink things. That’s one of those great things about the open Internet.
Read more Here
RT weighs in on this issue with its report: “ACTA, Secret Censor Tool Worse Than SOPA and PIPA”
As cyberspace turns its attention to the SOPA and PIPA bills in the US, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, has been quietly signed or ratified by most of the developed world and is arguably the biggest threat to Internet freedom yet.
Read and Watch the complete report Here
And in case you’re not sure what the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) bills involve, and why they are such a threat to existing
internet freedoms, Watch This.
An open letter signed by many organizations, including Consumers International, EDRi (27 European civil rights and privacy NGOs), the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), ASIC (French trade association for web 2.0 companies), and the Free Knowledge Institute (FKI), states that “the current draft of ACTA would profoundly restrict the fundamental rights and freedoms of European citizens, most notably the freedom of expression and communication privacy.