tisdag 24 januari 2012

Regarding ACTA

ACTA is for Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Sounds like it has nothing to do with illegal file-sharing, doesn't it? And nothing to do with human rights. Maybe something to do with generic drugs, though.

But before we dig into that, let's focus on the last two words: trade agreement.

This is not (directly) law; it is not something debated and decided on in democratically elected assemblies. It is not negotiated by elected representatives or even appointed representatives for elected parties.

It is negotiated by representatives for industry. Behind locked doors, in secrecy. It is not laws, that can be reversed by an upcoming government if they turn out to be bad.

These treaties typically last for decades, and if a country does not comply with a signed agreement, it can be severely punished by the others — the others can simply refuse to trade.

Now, trade agreements typically do not impose very detailed restrictions on signing parties.

ACTA, however, does. You think we've won the day with SOPA and PIPA down the drain? Oh no. You see, the copyright and patent industries are only half stupid. They know about every conceivable way to reach their goals, and they do all they can to try each and every one of them.

So, surprisingly, ACTA contains large portions concerned with stopping illegal file-sharing. And you know what that means; weaker protection for civil rights in the legislation, harder punishments, more surveillance.

The USA has already signed ACTA. The battle in the EU is ongoing as we speak.

And it is indeed an ugly battle. Proponents try everything they can to avoid having ACTA voted upon, known about, discussed by politicians or population, whatnot.

It will most likely violate the constitutions of most signing countries, including that of the USA, but the constitutions may have to yield.

In Sweden, the constitution is already commonly ignored by Säpo, the Swedish security service, and no politicians seem to think this is a serious problem. Also, politicians apparently see no problem with suggesting legislation that violates the constitution.

This can also be seen in the USA, where the NDAA clearly violates the US constitution.

In the EU, there is the Data Retention Directive, that has been rejected by several European constitutional courts, but is still required by the member states to implement.

So, the most probable course of events is, the constitutions yield. A constitution apparently comes cheap these days.

And ACTA doesn't settle for killing the internet, it actually aims to wipe out a considerable part of the third world by denying them generic drugs.

It is time to act, and show the authorities that we do not accept ACTA, that we do not accept bending the constitutions, that we do not accept having our rights taken from us.

We do not recognize representatives of industries as our leaders.