ACTA or the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is an international treaty that would allow companies in China or any other country who signed the agreement to demand ISPs remove web content in the US with no legal oversight whatsoever. No warrant needed. This also applies to other countries who signed the treaty. Looking at the list of who has signed this today in a ceremony in Tokyo, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden all agreed to join ACTA. The other EU states are expected to follow and sign as well. Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore and the US are already signed up to the agreement.So for example if you live in Sweden and the US decides that an ISP there is hosting copyrighted material the US can have the material pulled down and potentially the ISP end up in very hot water. It also raises some concerns when it comes to privacy.
President Obama signed this agreement back on October 1st, 2011, without consulting congress. He claimed it was a “Executive Agreement” and didn’t need to have it confirmed with anyone else. However an executive agreement is not a binding treaty where as the EU and other countries have signed it as so. This means the US government, more specifically the USTR, will be able to ignore whatever they want in it while other countries can’t.
To put the cherry on top of this, President Obama does not even have the power to make such an agreement according to some legal scholars and TechDirt.com:
[quote]The law is clear that the only things that can be covered by executive agreements are things that involve items that are solely under the President’s mandate. That is, you can’t sign an executive agreement that impacts the things Congress has control over. But here’s the thing: intellectual property, in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, is an issue given to Congress, not the President. Thus, there’s a pretty strong argument that the president legally cannot sign any intellectual property agreements as an executive agreement and, instead, must submit them to the Senate.[/quote]
It’s NOT TOO LATE though. ACTA still needs to be ratified by the countries who have joined. This is expected to take several months. Don’t let them censor you. Don’t let your government hand over power to other governments. Fight to keep your sovereignty. Write or email your government let them know you are not pleased with this agreement. You wouldn’t be standing alone, hundreds of thousands of people have joined facebook pages to oppose this, an internet petition has gathered over 220,000 signatures.
Encourage people to read up on the bill itself and about the bill and inform themselves. Rally together once again to show our governments that we won’t be censored and we won’t allow loosely written agreements to be shoved on us. Get the word out.
A good site along with the others linked in this post to look into ACTA is: http://www.stopacta.info/