Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anonymous Warns Followers Against 2012 ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) International Treaty Which is Essentially the New SOPA and PIPA Ten Fold

""Anonymous has turned its head towards an international treaty that could pose more threat than the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the US Congress, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The written agreement, however, has already gathered its own growing list of critics, with several ministers in Europe hesitating to attach signatures and the European Green Party considering it dangerously critical to human rights.""

 ""According to ACTA, media rights owners will have the authority to set fines they deem proper for copyright infringement.

Last November, the European Green Party said, “ACTA also allows for the monitoring of internet users without initial suspicion” and added, “the handing over of their personal data to rights holders on the basis of mere claims and the transfer of this data even to countries without adequate data protection, all of which is in clear conflict with legal guarantees of fundamental rights in the EU”.

While still continuing to show support for anti-SOPA and anti-PIPA campaigns and the successive shutdowns of file-sharing websites such as Megaupload and Filesonic, hacker group Anonymous now wants its followers to take caution and oppose ACTA.

“‘Internet censorship is wrong’ #Anonymous #ACTA,” said a tweet from the @AnonymousIRC account, while @Anonyops added, “This way to the world war web. Single file, please. #SOPA #ACTA #FBI”.""

""ACTA is the latest anti-counterfeiting scheme to gain the attention of Internet freedom fighters from the Free Software Foundation to the Anonymous hacktivist collective, many of whom compare it to America's controversial SOPA legislation.

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is the most prominent current threat to Internet freedom, according to its opponents, now that the furor over the Stop Online Piracy Act has died down following a major Internet blackout last week that led U.S. lawmakers to pull the controversial bill.

As such, the Web is focusing all of the momentum from its historic victory in the fight over SOPA and the companion Protect IP Act into derailing the current international negotiations over ACTA, despite the fact that a number of the world's countries -- including the U.S. -- have already signed the treaty. But opponents fight on, as the treaty is not yet in force, as some countries including the European Union have yet to sign it.""

""A proposed agreement that would create an international framework and set of standards for enforcing intellectual property rights, ACTA creates a voluntary legal regime that countries may choose to join. It creates a governing body outside of the United Nations and other international institutions, allowing for copyright and intellectual property cases to be adjudicated across national lines without having to contend with conflicting national laws and legal schemes.

The treaty is similar to SOPA and PIPA in that all three would create new laws aimed at reducing Internet piracy, but that opponents including Google, Wikipedia and Reddit believe would quash innovation, limit online freedom and infringe on First Amendment rights. As such, many of the opponents of the SOPA and PIPA acts have gotten involved in the fight to derail the ACTA treaty.""

""Preliminary negotiations on the ACTA treaty took place in the mid-2000s, and a signing ceremony was held on Oct. 1, 2011, in Japan. The United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signed the treaty, while the European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland declined to sign but indicated that they plan to do so in the future.

Poland announced last week that it will sign the treaty on Jan. 26, drawing the ire of Polish groups opposed to the law, including representatives of the Anonymous collective. The opposition groups have threatened to stage a Web blackout that day similar to the SOPA blackout if the Polish government goes through with the signing. On Sunday the hacktivist collective shut down the Polish prime minister's Web site in order to demonstrate its opposition to ACTA, Poland's reported.

One major critique of the treaty is that almost all of the negotiations on ACTA have been done behind closed doors, and without the benefit of WikiLeaks the public would have very little information about the treaty's contents.

The nations privy to the negotiations contend that it would have benefits for the rule of law, ease of resolving international copyright disputes and intellectual property protections.""

""The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is a proposed plurilateral agreement for the purpose of establishing international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement.[1] It would establish an international legal framework for countries to join voluntarily,[2] and would create a governing body outside international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the United Nations.[1][3] Negotiating countries have described it as a response "to the increase in global trade of counterfeit goods and pirated copyright protected works."[2] The scope of ACTA includes counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet.[4] Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) oppose ACTA,[5] stating that civil society groups and developing countries were excluded from discussion during ACTA's development in an example of policy laundering.[6]

Opponents have argued that the treaty will restrict fundamental civil and digital rights, including the freedom of expression and communication privacy.[7] "The bulk of the WTO's 153 members" have raised concerns that treaty could distort trade and goes beyond the existing Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.[8] Opponents also criticize ACTA's removal of "legal safeguards that protect Internet Service Providers from liability for the actions of their subscribers" in effect giving ISPs no option but to comply with privacy invasions.[9] According to an analysis by the Free Software Foundation, ACTA would require that existing ISPs no longer host free software that can access copyrighted media, and DRM-protected media would not be legally playable with free or open source software.[10]

ACTA was first developed by Japan and the United States in 2006. Canada, the European Union and Switzerland joined the preliminary talks throughout 2006 and 2007. Official negotiations began in June 2008, with Australia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea and Singapore joining the talks. Apart from the participating governments, an advisory committee of large US-based multinational corporations was consulted on the content of the draft treaty,[11] including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America[12] and the International Intellectual Property Alliance[13] (which includes the Business Software Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, and Recording Industry Association of America).[14] The treaty calls for the creation of an "ACTA committee" to make amendments, for which public or judicial review are not required. Industry representatives may have "consultatory input" to amendments.[15] A 2009 Freedom of Information request showed that the following companies also received copies of the draft under a nondisclosure agreement: Google, eBay, Intel, Dell, News Corporation, Sony Pictures, Time Warner, and Verizon.[16]

ACTA first came to public attention in May 2008 after a discussion paper was uploaded to Wikileaks.[17] After more leaks in 2009 and 2010 and denied requests for disclosure by groups such as Doctors without Borders, IP Justice, the Canadian Library Association, and the Consumers Union of Japan,[18][2][19] the negotiating parties published an official version of the then current draft on 20 April 2010.[20] In June 2010, a conference with "over 90 academics, practitioners and public interest organizations from six continents"[21] concluded "that the terms of the publicly released draft of ACTA threaten numerous public interests, including every concern specifically disclaimed by negotiators." A group of 75+ law professors signed a letter to President Obama demanding that ACTA be halted and changed.[22]""

""The final text was released on 15 November 2010,[23] with English, French, and Spanish published on April 15, 2011.[24] A signing ceremony was held on 1 October 2011 in Tokyo, with the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea signing the treaty. The European Union, Mexico, and Switzerland attended but did not sign, professing support and saying they will do so in the future.[25][26] Article 39 of ACTA states countries can sign the treaty until 31 March 2013. European Parliament reportedly has the final decision over whether the treaty is dismissed or enacted.[27]

Poland announced on January 19 that it will sign the treaty on January 26, 2012.[28] A number of Polish government websites, including that of the President and Polish Parliament, were shut down by denial of service attacks that started January 21, akin to protests against SOPA and PIPA that had happened two days previous.[29][30]""

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