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This may a bit late to make this entry here, but I think it's still a good idea to spread the word. I think that this treaty negotiations needs more of our attention.

ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently negotiated in secrecy by the governments of the world without public involvement, and which is very likely to bring on Chinese net-restrictions down on the Internet all over the world, if it gets through.

Reporter Without Borders have recently published an open letter to the European Parliament to demand transparency about these negotiations. The open letter has been signed by civil rights Non Governmental Organizations all over the (western part of) the world (here at the Site of La Quadrature du Net). Here is the article about it at the site of Reporters Without Borders.

The article as well as the open letter explain what the part of the drafts of this agreement that have been leaked to the public so far include for the Internet, and what this would mean:

⇒ Banning mechanisms for circumventing content filtering or blocking, which would prevent citizens in countries such as Iran or China from evading censorship;

⇒ Punishing people who download content illegally by cutting their Internet connections, thereby limiting their access to information, although it does nothing to prevent the actual piracy;

⇒ Automatic content filtering, which limits freedom of expression and is illegal if not approved by a judge.

The problem is, these requirements would be introduced by a multilateral agreement which then had to be introduced by all states who signed it. Even though in some of these states, it would be against their constitutional rights. And if you wonder what the hell I am talking about, here are three articles by Michael Geist that explain it well and in more depth:

ACTA, Guide part one
ACTA, Guide part two
ACTA, Guide part three

You all do realize what this treaty in its current form would mean for fanfiction, if nothing else? Not to speak about freedom of information or freedom of expression. Guys, this is serious, and it's time to complain about it to whatever government is currently in office wherever you live!


Feb. 7th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
Hi, there!

Unfortunately, it is not a joke at all. Thank god we have no censure or filtering like you have, yet, but we had attempts to control the Internet and block sites down here in Germany recently, too, and also some legislation is underway to introduce more subtle blocking and filtering techniques (officially directed at protecting our youth and children; but at the same time, there have been many politicians and "experts", as well as interest groups, who asked for filtering of "illegal" content, or political problematic content, content they claim is violating intellectual property, and so on. It is not as bad as the filtering you face, yet - but if this thing gets true, it may become that way.

I really, really hope that we can fend these attempts at introducing Internet censure and filtering off, down here! And I hope that the filtering will become less and harder to do, in China, too!