Over the recent months, the internet was in chaos, as netizens all around the world opposed SOPA/PIPA, the bill that would give the US government unprecedented authority to shut down websites without prior notice if the site is “suspected” of conducting a copyright infringement. For reasons explained in the link, SOPA/PIPA are counterproductive and will actually allow for lots of rule-abusing from the people who have power.
Now, with the combined forces of netizens and corporations like Google, WordPress, Wikipedia and many more, SOPA/PIPA were delayed. They’re not dead yet, but it is not that unsafe to assume that this is our victory — at least for now.
However, the recent chaos on SOPA/PIPA reveals a greater and darker secret held by the government… Not just USA, but worldwide. This is no more a thing to made fun of. The fight is not over. Not just for the internet, but also for privacy and freedom of expression.
ACTA: What is it?
ACTA is a proposed multi-national agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. Disguised under the name Anti-Counterfeiting Trading Agreement, ACTA is by no means a trading agreement. It is a law that would violate privacy and civil rights.
ACTA was first developed by USA and Japan in 2006, and since then, it has been developed in secret, without any publication whatsoever. As of 2011, Australia, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea had also signed the treaty. The European Union also said that they would sign in the future.
ACTA first came to public attention in 2008 after a discussion paper was uploaded to Wikileaks. After more leaks in 2009 and 2010 and denied requests for disclosure by groups such as Doctors without Borders, IP Justice, the Canadian Library Association, and the Consumers Union of Japan, the negotiating parties published an official version of the then current draft on 20 April 2010. In June 2010, a conference with “over 90 academics, practitioners and public interest organizations from six continents”concluded “that the terms of the publicly released draft of ACTA threaten numerous public interests, including every concern specifically disclaimed by negotiators.” A group of 75+ law professors signed a letter to President Obama demanding that ACTA be halted and changed.
What else we can say? The representatives signing the treaty were not democratically elected. They do not represent the people, but they are deciding the laws behind our backs.
What Does ACTA do?
Despite various groups’ opposition to ACTA as explained above, ACTA wasn’t that known to commoners. Its public awareness rose sharply after Megauploads were closed down, as this information spread quickly:
And, the important one:
What Can We Do about ACTA?
- Contact Your Elected Representatives.
Contacting your Elected Representatives is the most useful thing you can do right now, and until the final vote in the European Parliament. You can find detailed information how to do this in laquadrature’s page. Please note that calls are more effective than petitions. Show them our opposition!
- Vote NO to ACTA
We must make ourselves heard to the governments. Vote NO against ACTA, which you can do in the following sites: Accessnow, Whitehouse.gov, and maybe other sites which I haven’t covered. The fact that Whitehouse.gov is making the petition itself means we have hopes — as long as we take action!
- Spread the Awareness
If ACTA passes, it may not be exaggerating that the world might become a dystopian society. Let’s show the world and the governments, that this world is not meant for oppressors!