EFF: The Triple Threat of the TPP

Posted by OpenMedia on Tue, 09/11/2012 - 16:11

As trade talks concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership continue into this week, so does discussion concerning the TPP's threats to free speech, Internet privacy and due process. With your assistance in responding to our OpenTheTPP.net campaign, we've already brought some of this discussion directly to trade representatives and negotiators in a push to open up the TPP to further public discourse.

Our coalition partners are rallying their voices as well, with the American Civil Liberties Union describing the TPP agreement as the "biggest threat to free speech and intellectual property that you've never heard of". Let's ensure that this secretive agreement is brought into the spotlight. Share your messages as part of our OpenTheTPP stream at OpenTheTPP.net and help inform family and friends of the dangers that are hidden within the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Aritcle by Carolina Rossini for EFF.org

In a recent blog post, Sandra Fulton of the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Washington Legislative Office, described the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) as the "biggest threat to free speech and intellectual property that you’ve never heard of." In her post, she reminds readers that the USTR is not only pushing for TPP and its proposed changes to intellectual property law, it is doing its best to avoid Congressional oversight. For instance, the USTR has recently rebuffed a request from the staff director on the Senate Finance Committee's International Trade Subcommittee to review documents pertaining to the negotiations. Senator Ron Wyden, Chairman of the Subcommittee, wrote:

[M]y office is responsible for conducting oversight over the USTR and trade negotiations. To do that, I asked that my staff obtain the proper security credentials to view the information that USTR keeps confidential and secret. This is material that fully describes what the USTR is seeking in the TPP talks on behalf of the American people and on behalf of Congress. More than two months after receiving the proper security credentials, my staff is still barred from viewing the details of the proposals that USTR is advancing.

We decided to speak to Sandra Fulton and Gabe Rottman of the ACLU to learn more about the role the ACLU is playing in the fight for an open and transparent TPP negotiation process.

EFF: How does TPP relate to the ACLU's agenda on digital freedoms?

ACLU: The TPP relates to the ACLU’s agenda of protecting free speech and privacy online, open government principles and ultimately protecting the Internet as the most open and innovative platform the world has seen. While strong regulations are necessary to protect IP and promote innovation online, these must be crafted carefully and in a fully transparent fashion. We are concerned that an overly broad policy to crackdown on copyright infringement would allow for the takedown of non-infringing content as well, in violation of the First Amendment, which was the same concern presented by SOPA and PIPA. We also have strong concerns over any provision that would create legal incentives for ISPs to step up surveillance of Internet communications in search of suspected copyright infringement, which would potentially endanger the privacy of users. We also believe that whole site takedowns pose serious due process concerns.  Read more»


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