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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 wompirebat on 2/25/2010 10:46:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree entirely that there is a 'range' of morality. But I would argue that it's directly proportional to the situation.
Yes, the theft of a single apple for sustenance of life is technically immoral, but the reaction to it should be relatively equal in morality. An initiation of force is never 'right' but reactions to it should be weighed based on the imposition of the aggressive act. I could not argue that killing the lone-apple thief is a 'fair' treatment. But the owner of the apple would certainly have legitimate claim to any future possessions of the thief until full reparations can be made, up to lethal retaliation.
While I don't personally think that would be fair, as far as my own sensibilities are concerned, I cannot, however, argue that the owner of the apple does not have the immediate right to defend his property with lethal force. If caught in the act, morally speaking, the owner has the ultimate right on how he protects his property.
If in absolute terms a man must concede a portion of his property, there remains no grounds for the defense of the rest of his property. And since our ultimate posession is our self, he would lose the moral means of self-defense.
Also, the objective monetary value is not the only value a man has to defend. Psychic value is just as important, if not more so. The market value of a purebred dog may reach into the thousands, but an adopted mutt may have greater psychic value to the owner than all the purebreds in the world. So in defense of his property, the owner is also defending the psychic value of the idea of his security.
Lastly, I would posit that if based on the individual, a cosistant and universal code of morality is quite possible. Yielding not in the slightest to relativism.


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