ACTA, CETA, and The Death of Liberty

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ACTA refuses to die. The agreement that many hailed as the start of death to much of the world’s intellectual liberties was itself brutally slaughtered by the European Union’s Parliament on July 4, 2012 (cue snare drums and fifes in America). However, it seems the coroner underestimated the resolve of ACTA’s creators, and a new threat has emerged.

CETA: ACTA’s Ticket to Slip in Unnoticed

Of the 517 members who voted on ACTA, 478 or 92% voted against it. This would seem to indicate to the agreement’s proponents that the European Union was overwhelmingly against such provisions, and to let the matter go. Instead the group had a back door planned all along: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

Informally known as CETA, it is a trade agreement designed to strengthen the already large economic ties between Canada and European Union through free trade and increased investment. However, hidden within this treaty are provisions that were nearly copy/pasted word-for-word from ACTA. In other words, it didn’t matter if ACTA itself was rejected, as the entire content of ACTA is in CETA.

How Come People are Just Now Noticing This?

As we covered previously, unlike standard laws and policies which are done in the open, treaties like ACTA and CETA are negotiated behind closed doors as a way to institute policy laundering. By doing this, governments hope to avoid the scrutiny that normally accompanies new provisions and are able to prevent copies of the documents from going public until after the agreement is signed.

With the widespread acceptance of the Internet over the past twenty years, however, governments have had to smarten up on their practices. Thanks to an anonymous source, Michael Geist (if you don’t know who he is I suggest looking at his website or his extensive Wikipedia page) was able to obtain confirmed, leaked documents of the latest CETA revision which shows the word-for-word copying of the ACTA provisions. He also put together a detailed, side-by-side comparison of the ACTA and CETA provisions for information purposes here.

Great! Now What?

After Mr. Geist posted the comparison and a scathing report, the European Commission released an official statement to the effect that all of the ISP specific provisions have been removed. While this is a minor victory, the fact that they also refused to release a copy of the revised draft and failed to comment on the remainder of the ACTA copy-over provisions leaves doubts as to whether their statement was truthful or just something made to placate worried constituents.

In all of these happenings, one thing is for sure: The people in power seeking to destroy our liberties will not rest until they succeed. Therefore, neither can those who wish to protect our freedoms rest until the enemy is stopped. Because of our stance, we here at XDA support petitions like this one from The Council of Canadians. Fill it out, share it, and call your members of Parliament and provincial/territorial offices. For those of you in Europe, I’ve yet to see an anti-CETA petition. So sound off in the comment section below if you have one that you’d like to share with the community.

XDA does not support any agreement, law, or policy that takes away individual freedoms. Neither should you.


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