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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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RE: Enough is enough
By cmdrdredd on 2/25/2010 10:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The alternative to government is anarchy, and we all know how well that works. Both the Ivory Coast and Somalia are rife with violence and corruption. Government exists to preserve freedoms by placing reasonable limits on freedoms. Without government people could, and maybe would, steal and murder with impunity.


As I have said many times before the US is unique in the world today. We are a self policing society. We have rules of conduct and a list of actions deemed improper. Generally speaking, the people move about freely and are able to do anything they care to without fear of persecution assuming you do not break the accepted laws. Most laws are obvious such as you can't steal something that isn't yours, violence against another person is wrong, you have to pay for items at the store etc. We are not forced to adhere to these laws except by fear of arrest, fine, incarceration (jail time) etc. You are free to make your choices and you will have to deal with the consequences.

Now in many societies, including the ones you mentioned, this idea is lost. The people have no concept of laws because they never grew up with any. The only thing they know is someone forcing them to a certain accepted viewpoint of the world. They know that if they steal they will lose a hand or be caned. They only know fear and have no concept of true freedom. So while there may not be a real established government with a set of laws and regulations to abide by and people run rampant killing each other with no regard for being imprisoned or put on trial and fined, they aren't truly free because they live in a constant state of fear. At any moment you could be killed for your rice.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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