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The U.S. has fought to keep the ACTA treaty secret. The treaty allows monitoring of citzens online and warrantless search and seizures at border crossing, of electronics suspected to be carrying infringed content.  (Source: PuppetGovernment)
The U.S. Government insisted that the terms of its privacy and rights-trampling treaty were too sensitive to expose to the public

ACTA, short for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is an all-reaching proposal that may represent an epic victory for the film and music industries in their fight against piracy, a victory that comes at the high expense of citizens' privacy and rights, if it is upheld.  

Championed by both former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama, the proposal is the child of countless millions in international lobbying money from the media industry.  It aims to enact constant monitoring of citizens' online activities -- even perfectly legitimate ones -- and grants border agents in the U.S. and many member states the power of warrantless search and seizures -- provisions that would grant them the power to destroy U.S. citizens' laptops, iPods, or CDs, if the agents suspected that they might contain infringed content.  And the best part?  The cost of the bill will be footed by the taxpayers themselves -- without even giving them a clue as to what's happening.

With its Big Brotheresque terms, it's little wonder that the U.S. wanted to keep the agreement under wraps.  What was unknown until now, though, was just how few nations support the U.S. in keeping the agreement secret, or the fact that the Obama and Bush administration negotiators overpowered other major nations to keep the treaty out of the public eye.

Officials in the Netherlands, a nation pushing for the treaty to be exposed to the public, "accidentally" leaked (DutchGoogle English translation) a memo from a secret ACTA negotiation meeting in Mexico, which detailed who supported keeping the treaty secret from citizens of member nations.

Only a handful of European nations -- Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark -- and two other nations -- South Korea and Singapore -- supported keeping the treaty a secret.  Denmark was reportedly the most vocal supporter of secrecy.  

The majority of the other participating nations -- the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Austria, the UK, and Japan supported releasing details to the public.  The UK and Japan, two of the world's biggest powers, reportedly were particularly vocal about transparency.  Other nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, were not listed in the memo, but have been advocates of transparency.

Despite the vast majority supporting openness, the U.S. fought to silence these voices.  With the help of the handful of nations supporting secrecy, it successfully prevented the ACTA terms from being aired to the public, even as the U.S. government considers warrantless border searches for "pirate materials".

Of course, a vast body of information regarding ACTA made it to the public eye anyways, thanks to the internet and leaks sites like Wikileaks.

The treaty and the recent information on how the U.S. fought to keep it secret raises alarming questions about politicians at the highest level on both sides of the political aisle.  Why would our nation's leaders plot and champion a treaty that would raise citizens' taxes in order to violate their constitutional rights, as a favor for major corporations?  And more importantly, why would these leaders fight to keep the treaty secret, when transparency and public participation form the foundation of our nation?  

It's all to protect you -- even if you don't know about it.  At least that's what your elected officials say.

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Jason loves the lying headline, doesn't he?
By porkpie on 2/25/2010 4:50:06 PM , Rating: 0
Having seen this story reported from a number of sources, I wonder why Jason insists on calling this a "US" decision, when it was a joint decision by a group of nations -- and the US apparently wasn't the one most pushing for secrecy in the first place?

RE: Jason loves the lying headline, doesn't he?
By Faxs on 2/25/10, Rating: 0
RE: Jason loves the lying headline, doesn't he?
By xmichaelx on 2/25/2010 5:57:49 PM , Rating: 3
Becuase like most far left liberals...

Time to turn on the news, Faxs -- the "OMG HATE TEH EVIL GOVERNMENT!1!" torch has now passed to the conservatives. (And both sides are still wrong.)

By Zshazz on 2/25/2010 9:44:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think he was refering more to the fact that democrats believe the people of the US as being the source of all strife in the world. Global warming, meat eaters killing poor defenseless animals, and our big bad unregulated corporations killing people in the back of alleys for a profit are some examples of values that left-wingers hold.

However, I do agree that both sides are being hypocritical at this point... but I think they're both right/wrong. The government has been continually stretching out their power to allow THIS sort of thing to happen. This should have NEVER been allowed to happen and this is CERTAINLY NOT how the architects of our constitution intended the government to function.

However, this is a problem caused by all sides and, therefore, arguing "whose fault is it?" is an utterly useless waste of time as both sides have equally valid points that the opposite side would argue against.

By The Raven on 2/25/2010 6:06:26 PM , Rating: 3
I agree that this is article seems a focused on the US, but I think most of the "international lobbying money" is also coming from the US. The US has the most to lose with regard to music/movies. Also, The US is usually the one to get people on the bandwagon ala the "coalition of the willing" because it is one of the most powerful nations in the world.

So even if it isn't being reported as such: we can connect the dots.

But it is irrefutable that the US is NOT calling for transparancy here. That is where the US gov't strikes out in my book.

Again, I think you've got a point. Besides, word on the street is that Lars von Trier is behind all of this. I heard that he is sick of people passing around pirated cassettes of his big budget blockbuster "Dogville"! ;-)

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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