Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Europe starts to tip against ACTA

Source: Nexus404
Just recently, digital demonstrators in the States hammered out a definitive victory against the Stop Online Piracy Act. Far-flung pockets of the Internet were gimped or blacked out entirely in protest of the censorship implications of SOPA.

This caused dozens of lawmakers - mostly bandwagon-jumpers to be sure - to think twice before supporting a bill that might make potential voters mad.

This won't stop those same lawmakers from pushing similar legislation on other countries - where anti-piracy proponents claim thieves are stealing the content of "hard-working" Americans on a daily basis.

Read on to see how the SOPA victory may not have meant a damn thing against the might of a pincer attack from foreign governments.

Enter ACTA - the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement - which U.S. policy leaders have hoisted on foreign legislators. In order to make ACTA happen, however, certain changes in the way the Internet works will have to take place. Check Anonymous' video below for a layman's explanation of how ACTA works.

The Guardian is reporting that ratification of ACTA in Bulgaria has halted until European Union member states can form a "unified position" on the matter. The Netherlands have also refused to ratify, no doubt bolstered by the Piratenpartei - or "Pirate Party," which has gained momentum since the Swedish incarnation won two European Parliament seats in 2009.

Meanwhile, Boing Boing caught some video from an anti-ACTA demonstration in Budapest. Members of the Pirate Party were in attendance as well as the Fawkes-masked Anonymous. The best quote, however, comes from a man-on-the-street interview with an unnamed citizen:

"This [protest] is in the wrong place. This should be in front of the United States Embassy. Because America turned against freedom... This is the new Bolshevism of the 21st century - it 's [the] United States of America... and I love America - the freedom-fighting America, not the oppressing America."
I recall it being mentioned somewhere before that SOPA was just a placeholder for the real danger to Internet freedom. It seemed to me that the aforementioned backpedaling SOPA supporters folded... perhaps a bit too easily in the face of the "Great Internet Blackout of 2012."

Was it all a ruse? A retreat-and-regroup for the powers that be? The combined pressure from world governments to implement anti-piracy measures could make America's small SOPA victory irrelevant. And the fact that these new discussions are taking place behind closed doors should cause more than concern.

The most crucial discussion about the future of the Internet community isn't even involving those who use it.

SOURCE: Boing Boing | The Guardian | Nexus404

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