It appears that two Senators (Bernie Sanders of Ohio and Sherrrod Brown of Vermont) are questioning the ACTA, and in particular they have a clue that it is about much more than counterfeiting. If you care about your rights and freedoms, call your Senator now, and urge that the ACTA not be put on a special “fast-track.” The fast-track would give the US Trade Representative the power to negotiate the provisions without any substantive debate in the Senate. The point I would make is this: the process has been profoundly tainted, as stakeholders, other than large corporations, have not had the chance to comment on or even been privy to the major provisions of the ACTA. Of particular importance are the internet enforcement mechanisms, depriving citizens of rights such as due process. The process of this tainted process cannot help but be itself tainted.
Senators Begin Questioning ACTA Secrecy
from the this-ain’t-the-transparency-we-were-promised dept
Despite some sweet talk from Hollywood about how important ACTA and its secret negotiations are to America (and, once again, no, the secrecy is not at all “normal,” as some industry lawyers would have you believe), it looks like some Senators are finally beginning to question how ACTA is being handled. Senators Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown have sent a letter to US Trade Rep Ron Kirk asking for ACTA documents to be made public. The letter points out that “the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude” especially considering that “there are concerns about the impact of ACTA on the privacy and civil rights of individuals, on the supply of products under the first sale doctrine, on the markets for legitimate generic medicines, and on consumers and innovation in general.” The letter also takes on the bogus claims of state secrets in protecting ACTA documents:
We are surprised and unpersuaded by assertions that disclosures of basic information about the negotiation would present a risk to the national security of the United States, particularly as regards documents that are shared with all countries in the negotiations, and with dozens of representatives of large corporations. We are concerned that the secrecy of such information reflects a desire to avoid potential criticism of substantive provisions in ACTA by the public, the group who will be most affected by the agreement. Such secrecy has already undermined public confidence in the ACTA process…. We firmly believe that the public has a right to know the contents of the proposals being considered under ACTA, just as they have the right to read the text of bills pending before Congress.”
Unfortunately, these are just two Senators. Supporters of ACTA likely have many more who will blindly fight to keep ACTA secret and get it approved with little or no substantive input from those it will impact most.
Here’s the post which describes certain provisions of the ACTA which were leaked on wikileaks, along with a leak to one of the first leaks covered there. Doesn’t sound like this “Treaty” has anything to do with counterfeiting…a lot to doing away with due process, and a lot more with deputizing private corporations to exercise de facto legal authority to act a judge jury and executioner in a variety of legal fora, all protected from meaningful public scrutiny…