Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ACTA Must be Public!

Many of you will have heard about ACTA. For those that haven't, ACTA (or in long form the “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”) is an agreement between countries that purports to reduce counterfeiting to benefit the consumer. What it actually will do, we don't know. See, the treaty hasn't been made public. In two years of negotiations, it's been kept quiet.
There was a leak in mid-2008, which made it to wikileaks, but apart from that, very little. Recently a number of companies, including one or two consumer based groups (the majority being movie, record and software companies – see the full list here) saw the ACTA agreements. Viewing the agreement only happened after non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) were signed, as apparently a treaty about copyright infringement is a national security issue, by Executive Order.

It's not a National Security Issue, but a Job Security issue.

It's fear of the outrage that public knowledge of the treaty would create. It's fear that once the scope of the corruption these public officials, including President Obama, is known, they will be unelectable for life, and have to actually work for a living, losing all the power and prestige they have.

Knowledge Ecology International is one group not standing for it though. They found out the names of those who have viewed the documents, and it's not a particularly voter-friendly list. There is now a petition circulating concerning the transparency aspect of this document, asking President Obama to make it open, and show there are no shenanigans, no illegal or unconstitutional activities being proposed and no false arguments and bad evidence being used to subvert rule of law, to bolster the coffers of another industry that is in a (self proclaimed) bad way.

While the physical copy of the petition was sent today, you can still sign the on-line version, and I would strongly urge people to do so. It's your freedoms being bought and sold by your own politicians. Remember, they work for you, not for lobbyists.

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