Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Remains a Threat to Freedom Everywhere

I'm reposting the body of an article from Open Media originally published on November 13th of last year. Nothing in this article has changed yet.

This morning WikiLeaks released secret documents that have confirmed an extreme Internet censorship plan is being pushed behind closed doors as part of the International Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Over 100,000 people from around the world have already spoken through an online campaign at Internet freedom group OpenMedia reviewed the nearly 100 pages of highly classified documents released to the public to discover extreme Internet censorship provisions, including secret transnational censorship courts that would override national laws. The documents focus on the highly contentious Intellectual Property chapter, which negotiators from the 12 participating countries have struggled with since their talks first began. This leak signals the first time the public or media have had access to the draft text since a previous leak in 2011. Throughout the entirety of the TPP, the deal has been negotiated behind closed doors by trade bureaucrats and industry lobbyists. The leaked chapter also confirms that the most aggressive censorship rules have been pushed by media conglomerates in the United States. The text also identifies which countries have agreed to specific policies, as well as which countries have pushed back. The release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. Decision makers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States are expected to be in attendance. Internet freedom group OpenMedia is calling for Obama and other TPP heads of state to make a firm public commitment to pull Internet censorship provisions from the TPP. “The leaked TPP documents confirmed our greatest fears,” says OpenMedia Executive Director Steve Anderson “The TPP’s Internet censorship plan could knock whole families off the Internet and censor web content from view. Over 100,000 have spoken out against the secretive and extreme Internet censorship plan and we want a firm commitment by all TPP heads of state to pull these provisions immediately. As it stands this agreement has no place in the 21st Century.” Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property expert with Fair Deal member Public Citizen, had this to say about the big media-inspired proposals in the leaked draft, “...think about the SOPA debacle – to limit Internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force Internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s Internet access. These proposals are deeply unpopular worldwide.”

The full article can be found here. The full article includes links to sources and other useful follow-ons to this article body. This shit directly affects you. Do you play any online games? You're affected. Got Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime? You're affected. Like YouTube? Affected. Deal in any form of online commerce? Affected. Deal in any form of electronic publishing? Affected. Online marketing? Affected. Everything you're into is directly affected. You have a direct, immediate, and personal stake in killing this treaty. Get on it, NOW.

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