What will be the Obama-FUD to support the ACTA?

It’s easy to see that the secret ACTA treaty has stirred up a storm of protest in cyberland, but how will the issue play in Peoria?

All the public interest groups were not fooled in the least:

But public interest groups fear the treaty, ostensibly to beef up legitimate intellectual property protections, could easily be abused.

In a letter to trade representatives, groups like EFF and Consumers Union, among dozens of others, expressed concerns that ACTA would:

  • Require ISPs to monitor all consumers’ Internet communications, terminate their customers’ Internet connections based on rights holders’ repeat allegation of copyright infringement, and divulge the identity of alleged copyright infringers possibly without judicial process …
  • Criminalize peer-to-peer file sharing.
  • Interfere with legitimate parallel trade in goods, including the resale of brand-name pharmaceutical products.
  • Impose liability on manufacturers of active pharmaceutical ingredients if those APIs are used to make counterfeits .
  • Improperly criminalize acts not done for commercial purpose and with no public health consequences [obvious target: free software–e_f];
  • Improperly divert public resources into enforcement of private rights.

Actually, there were 103 groups that signed the letter (the full list is found at the bottom of this post)and it is a very diverse group including: Doctor’s without Borders; Australian National University, Canberra; The Canadian Library Association, Ottawa; Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Cairo ; University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law; AIDS Access Foundation, Thailand; Christian Media Network, Korea.  Note that there are other organizations which oppose the ACTA secret negotiations, but are not on this list, e.g. the Free Software Foundation, because they didn’t sign the letter.  In any case, the letter is an interesting example of Protest 2.0, connecting such far flung groups for a common cause.

So, given the depth and breadth of the opposition, the Obama administration is at a crossroads: do they side with a very few corporations, like the ones that run the anti-freedom organization known as the RIAA, or does the administration side with their constituency, i.e., those that actually elected them in the first place?

I think we will see one of two things happen: the Obama administration will either decide that this is a fight they can’t win now, and release the requested information or they will try to shift the debate.  Noting how many public health groups are on this list, and their high degree of moral connectivity, that task will probably take shape like this: paint those who oppose the secret ACTA negotiations as against public health.  Of course that’s ridiculous, as the anti-food and drug counterfeiting sections, while having some bearing on public health, would be much better if they were subject to public scrutiny, including the scrutiny of many public health agencies, not just the pharmaceutical industry and the megafood corporations that have been allowed to have input into the ACTA thus far. But, if the Obama administration decides to fight this, they will have spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about the motives of those who oppose the secret ACTA negotiations, and there isn’t another obvious way to do this.  The idea that the ACTA is somehow pro-jobs is so flimsy, I just hope they make that argument.  Of course, after the USA fought many wars to maintain our freedoms, we should capitulate once a little FUD is spread, right, after all those lives weren’t really important, were they?

The anti-peer-to-peer and copyright and trademark provisions, of course, have no significant bearing on public health at all and those who care about public health need to speak out about how web 2.0 has lead to public health gains.

Full list of organizations signatory to the letter requesting access and public disclosure of the ACTA provisions:

1. Essential Action
c/o Robert Weissman, Director
P.O. Box 19405
Washington, DC, USA 20036
Tel +1 (202) 387-8030
Fax +1 (202) 234-5176

2. Act Up East Bay,
Oakland, CA, USA

3. Act Up Paris
Paris, France

4. African Underprivileged Children’s Foundation (AUCF)
Lagos, Nigeria

5. AIDS Access Foundation

6. AIDS Healthcare Foundation
Los Angeles, CA, USA

7. AIDS Treatment News
Philadelphia, PA, USA

8. American Medical Student Association
Reston, VA, USA

9. AIS Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia

10. ASEED Europe
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

11. Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (APN+)

12. Australian Digital Alliance
Kingston, Australia

13. Australian National University
Canberra, Australia

14. Australian Privacy Foundation
Sydney, Australia

15. Bharatiya Krishakn Samaj
New Delhi, India

16. BUKO Pharma-Kampagne
Bielefeld, Germany

17. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Toronto, Canada

18. The Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest
Clinic (CIPPIC)

19. University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
Ottawa, Canada

20. The Canadian Library Association
Ottawa, Canada

21. The Canadian Treatment Action Council
Toronto, Canada

22. Center for Democracy and Technology
Washington, DC, USA

23. Center for Digital Democracy
Washington, DC, USA

24. Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH)
San Francisco, CA, USA

25. Centre for Safety & Rational Use of Indian Systems of Medicine
Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine & Sciences
Aligarh, India

26. The Center for Women’s Culture & Theory

27. Chinese Domain Name User Alliance
Beijing, China

28. Christian Media Network

29. CHOICE (Australian Consumers Association)
Marrickville, Australia

30. Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (CHAMP)
New York, NY, USA

31. Consumentenbond
The Hague, Netherlands

32. Consumer Action
San Francisco, CA, USA

33. Consumer Federation of America
Washington, DC, USA

34. Consumers Union (Publisher of Consumer Reports)
Yonkers, NY, USA

35. Consumers Union of Japan (Nihon Shohisha Renmei)
Tokyo, Japan

36. La Corporacion Opcion por el Derecho a Ser y el Deber de Hacer, NIT
Bogotá, Colombia

37. Corporate Europe Observatory
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

38.Cultural Action

39.Diverse Women for Diversity (DWD)
New Delhi, India

40. Drug Study Group (DSG)

41. Ecologist Collective (Colectivo ecologista Jalisco A.C.)
Guadalajara, México

42. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
Cairo, Egypt

43. Electronic Frontier Foundation
San Francisco, CA, USA

44. Electronic Frontiers Australia
Adelaide, Australia

45. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
Washington, DC, USA

46. European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG)
Brussels, Belgium

47. Foreign Policy in Focus
Institute for Policy Studies
Washington, DC, USA

48. Foundation for Integrative AIDS Research (FIAR)
Brooklyn, NY, USA

49. Fundación Ifarma
Bogotá, Colombia

50. Foundation For Consumers (FFC)

51. Foundation for Media Alternatives

52. Foundation for Research in Science Technology & Ecology (RFSTE)

53. Free Press
Washington, DC, USA

54. FTA Watch

55. Global Health through Education, Training & Service (GHETS)
Attleborough, MA, USA

56. Global Trade Watch
Washington, DC, USA

57. Gram Bharati Samiti Society for Rural Development
Amber, India

58. Gyeonggi NGO Network

59. Health Action International (HAI) – Africa
Nairobi, Kenya

60. Health Action International (HAI) – Asia Pacific
Colombo, Sri Lanka

61. Health Action International (HAI) – Europe
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

62. Health Action International (HAI) – Global
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

63. Health Action International – Latin America & Caribbean
Lima, Perú

64. Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Philadelphia, PA, USA

65. HealthWrights (Workgroup for Peoples Health and Rights)
Palo Alto, CA, USA

66. Healthy Skepticism Inc.
Adelaide, Australia

67. Home Recording Rights Coalition
Washington, DC, USA

68. INEGroup
Atlanta, GA, USA

69. Information & Culture Nuri for the Disabled

70. Initiative For Health Equity & Society (IHES)
New Delhi, India

71. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
The Hague, Netherlands

72.International Peoples Health Council (South Asia)

73. Intersect Worldwide
India, South Africa and USA

74. IP Justice
San Francisco, CA, USA

75. IPLeft
Seoul, Korea

76. Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Geneva, Switzerland, London, UK and Washington, DC, USA

77. Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet
Seoul, Korea

78. Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre
Lagos, Nigeria

79. Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit

80. Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders)
Campaign for Essential Medicines
Geneva, Switzerland

81. Media Access Project
Washington, DC, USA

82. La Mesa de ONGs Con Trabajo en VIH/SIDA
Bogotá, Colombia

83. Misión Salud
Bogotá, Colombia

84. National Consumer Council (NCC)
London, UK

85. National Working Group on Patent Laws
New Delhi, India

86. Navdanya
New Delhi, India

87. Netzwerk Freies Wissen
Berlin, Germany

88. Paradise Hospital
Port Moresby, Papau New Guinea

89. People’s Coalition for Media Reform
Seoul, Korea

90. Phasuma Consultancy & Training
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

91. Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+).

92. Privacy Activism

93. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
San Diego, CA, USA

94. Public Knowledge
Washington, DC, USA

95. Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN)
Kathmandu, Nepal

96. Social movement to combat private media ownership and enhance public media

97. Student Global AIDS Campaign

98. Swisslinux.org
Mayens-de-Chamoson, Switzerland

99. The Transparency and Accountability Network
New York, NY, USA

100. Third World Network

101. Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)

102. U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG)
Washington, DC, USA

103. Women & Health ! (WAH ! )

What will be the Obama-FUD to support the ACTA?

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