updated 06:30 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
ACTA rapporteur says EU process a masquerade
The European Union's chief investigator for the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), Kader Arif, may have blown the whistle on tactics behind the deal in a statement following his resignation. He quit after calling it a "masquerade" and confirmed many of the beliefs that the EU Parliament's signing of ACTA wasn't a representative process. The political right in the EU "rushed" the measure in the hopes of keeping it out of the public eye, Arif said, and Parliament itself was being kept from trying to offer any criticism.
"I want to denounce in the strongest possible manner the entire process that led to the signature of this agreement: no inclusion of civil society organizations, a lack of transparency from the start of the negotiations, repeated postponing of the signature of the text without an explanation being ever given, exclusion of the EU Parliament's demands that were expressed on several occasions in our assembly," he said.
Similar strategies are believed to have taken place in other countries that have agreed to ACTA so far.
The measure has drawn criticism as it could give major content producers an excessive amount of power worldwide. Concerns exist that it could erode safe harbor principles by possibly making Internet providers liable for illegal content traded on their networks. It might also let labels and studios dig deeply into personal information without explicit permission, which some have interpreted has possibly violating civil rights in some of the countries signing on.
Arif released his EU report shortly after he resigned and might end up having an impact. ACTA has yet to be ratified by the EU and could see countries renege if they decided to object. [via TechDirt]