Glyn Moody (946055) writes "The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), potentially the world's biggest trade agreement, has been negotiated behind closed doors for nearly a year now. Apart from what we learn from a few official releases — and an increasing number of leaks — we still don't really know what is being agreed in the name of 800 million people in the U.S. and EU. When a peaceful anti-TTIP protest was held outside yet another closed-doors meeting in Belgium, the local police sent in the water cannons and arrested nearly 300 people in what seems an extreme over-reaction. Will TTIP turn into the next ACTA revolt?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
TrueSatan writes "In an utterly craven move, the Canadian government has launched a bill to bring Canada into full compliance with the discredited, U.S.-led ACTA agreement — an agreement to which most of the world does not agree. To further pressure the acceptance of this awful bill, the U.S., on the same day, released their Trade Policy and Agenda Annual Report (PDF), which calls on Canada to comply with ACTA obligations. For ACTA to take effect, it would require six signatures from the major economic blocks. Tt appears to have no remaining possibility of getting them, yet the U.S., and now Canada, continue to push it forward. The Canadian bill features claims based on spurious health and safety concerns that have been thoroughly debunked by a U.S. report. Despite these claims being so dubious, they remain a cornerstone of the Canadian bill. Similarly, the claimed losses due to counterfeiting ($30 billion USD) stated in the bill have also been debunked. The Canadian bill seeks to give border guards an unprecedented level of control, without the possibility of judicial oversight. Despite a lack of evidence to suggest that Canada is a major source of counterfeit product, the bill puts at risk the fully-legal parallel import of generic items — pharmaceuticals, for instance. The bill would also change copyright infringement from a civil dispute to a breach of criminal law. Pity Canada if this bill is enacted!"
SternisheFan writes with a snippet from Science Recorder: "Reporting in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, researchers at Brigham Young University say that the Hawaiian Islands are slowly dissolving. Eventually, Oahu's Koolau and Waianae mountains will dwindle to little more than a flat, low-lying island like Midway. While erosion is certainly a guilty party, researchers contend that the mountains of Oahu are, in fact, dissolving from within. Researchers spent several months collecting samples of groundwater and stream water to determine which source removed more mineral material. They also put to use surface water estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey to calculate the quantity of mass that vanished from the island each year. Researchers point out that Oahu is actually rising in elevation at a slow but steady rate due to plate tectonics. [BYU geologist Steve Nelson] and colleagues believe that Oahu will continue to grow for as long as 1.5 million years. Beyond that, the force of groundwater will eventually win and Oahu will begin its transformation to a flat, low-lying island like Midway." (If you have journal access, or don't mind forking over $40, you can read the original paper.)
First time accepted submitter Seeteufel writes "The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is now officially pronounced dead in the E.U. The European Parliament broadly rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement a while ago, but there was still a court case pending at the European Court of Justice about the legality of ACTA. The Commission was open about its intent to reintroduce ACTA ratification to the Parliament after a positive Court decision. Now we learn the Commission has withdrawn its questions to the Court."
rrohbeck writes "From eff.org: 'The shadow of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is back in Europe. It is disguised as CETA, the Canada-European Union and Trade Agreement. A comparison of the leaked draft Canada-EU agreement shows the treaty includes a number of the same controversial provisions, specifically concerning criminal enforcement, private enforcement by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and harsh damages.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In 2012, EFF Pioneer Award winners are Hardware Hacker Andrew (bunnie) Huang, Anti-ACTA Activist and La Quadrature du Net cofounder Jérémie Zimmermann, and Groundbreaking Anonymity Group Tor. '"Every year, our Pioneer Awards celebrate those who have made a difference for digital freedom. We are extraordinarily proud of this year's winners and their unflagging dedication to protecting the rights of technology users around the world," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "Whether it's your right to reverse engineer a game console, or to avoid the interference of overbroad IP enforcement, or to block websites or governments from tracking your every online move, these winners are working hard to protect our online freedom."' The 21st edition of the annual EFF Pioneer Awards ceremony will take place September 20 in San Francisco."
rysiek writes "Polish MP and spokesperson for one of Polish political parties Dariusz Joski returned his state-issued iPad, citing lack of control (Google-translated). Polish Free and Open Source Software Foundation (of Anti-ACTA fame) offered (free of charge, of course) to help him choose, install and configure Linux on his laptop, including setting-up disk encryption. We are still waiting for an answer from the MP." Another concern of his appears to have been a lack of security regarding communications with other government officials.
itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will remember the hullaballoo that arose yesterday over a leaked version of CETA containing key clauses that were 'nearly identical to ones found in ACTA.' Now the European Commission is saying you shouldn't believe every leak you see and that the 'language being negotiated on CETA regarding Internet is now totally different from ACTA.' Well, maybe with the exception of language that appears in both CETA and ACTA but didn't 'originate' in ACTA and therefore doesn't count."
New submitter xSander writes "Is anyone really surprised by this? ACTA may have been rejected by the European Parliment, but it is far from dead yet. Apparently, the EU is trying to revive ACTA through the Canada-EU Trade Agreement (CETA)." The article contains a handy side-by-side comparison of the CETA clauses that are nearly identical to ones found in ACTA.
Grumbleduke writes "Today the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Despite attempts by the EPP Group to delay the vote until after the Courts have ruled on its legality, the Parliament voted against the Treaty by 478 to 39; apparently the biggest ever defeat the Commission has suffered. However, despite this apparent victory for the Internet, transparency and democracy, the Commission indicated that it will press ahead with the court reference, and if the Court doesn't reject ACTA as well, will consider bringing it back before the Parliament."
Dupple tips a story at Techdirt about comments from EU commissioner Karel De Gucht, who made some discouraging remarks to the EU International Trade committee about the opposition to ACTA: "If you decide for a negative vote before the European Court rules, let me tell you that the Commission will nonetheless continue to pursue the current procedure before the Court, as we are entitled to do. A negative vote will not stop the proceedings before the Court of Justice. ... If the Court questions the conformity of the agreement with the Treaties we will assess at that stage how this can be addressed." De Gucht also spoke about proposing clarifications to ACTA if Parliament declined to ratify it, which, as Techdirt points out, doesn't make much sense: "Remember that ACTA is now signed, and cannot be altered; so De Gucht is instead trying to fob off European politicians with this vague idea of 'clarifications' — as if more vagueness could somehow rectify the underlying problems of an already dangerously-vague treaty."
Qedward writes "The European Parliament's trade committee, INTA, voted on Thursday not to postpone a crucial parliamentary vote on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The committee also decided, by 19 votes to 12, to recommend to the Parliament that the trade deal be rejected. INTA is the lead committee examining the international agreement, and its recommendation will carry weight with the rest of the Parliament. The Parliamentary plenary vote on the treaty is now scheduled for July 3."
New submitter matt.a.f writes "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has published a first-draft Internet Bill of Rights, and it's open for feedback. He wrote, 'While I do not have all the answers, the remarkable cooperation we witnessed in defense of an open Internet showed me three things. First, government is flying blind, interfering and regulating without understanding even the basics. Second, we have a rare opportunity to give government marching orders on how to treat the Internet, those who use it and the innovation it supports. And third, we must get to work immediately because our opponents are not giving up.' Given the value of taking an active approach agains prospective laws such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, I think it's very important to try to spread awareness, participation, and encourage elected officials to support such things."
Glyn Moody writes "We hear a lot about politicians and countries rejecting ACTA, but not so much from the treaty's supporters. Here's a new site, called 'ACTA Facts,' which invites Europeans to 'get the facts' on how wonderful ACTA really is. Judging by its content, this one will be about as successful as Microsoft's 'Get the Facts' campaign a few years ago, which tried to dissuade people from using GNU/Linux. For example, a new report linked to by the site claims that ACTA could 'boost European output by a total of €50 billion, and create as many as 960,000 new jobs.' Unfortunately, that's based on numerous flawed assumptions, including the idea that countries like China and India are going to rush to join ACTA, when the treaty is actually designed as a weapon against them, as they have already noticed."
An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian intellectual property's lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (which represent the music, movie, software and pharma industries) released a new policy document (PDF) yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Canadian copyright reform might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed. Michael Geist says it is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search queries from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement." Reader Bloozguy adds more legislative bad news for Canadians: Bill C30, the country's much-maligned warrantless internet surveillance bill, is coming back with new provisions that would give the U.S. government access to Canadian citizens' private data.
Dangerous_Minds writes "Last month, ACTA was rejected by three European committees (the industry committee, the civil liberties committee, and the legal affairs committee). Now, a fourth European committee, the Development Committee, has voted to reject ACTA as well, making it zero for four. ZeroPaid is offering a quick timeline of the series of blows to ACTA all last month as well. The next stop for ACTA will be the Trade Committee which is scheduled to hand down a decision later this month on June 21. From there, it'll head to the full House for a vote in July."
An anonymous reader writes "Earlier today [Thursday, May 31st], three European Parliament committees studying the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI), the Committee for Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) — all voted against implementing ACTA. Michael Geist reports on how the strength of the anti-ACTA movement within the European Parliament is part of a broader backlash against secretive intellectual property agreements that are either incorporated into broad trade agreements or raise critical questions about prioritizing IP enforcement over fundamental rights including votes and reports opposing these deals in the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico."
New submitter Peetke writes "The Dutch House of Representatives unanimously accepted a motion to urge the Cabinet to reject ACTA [Dutch original] (if they ever get the change to do so; it may already end in the European Parliament). Additionally, an even stronger motion was accepted to reject any future treaty that may harm a free and open Internet. This is a good day for the Internet."
First time accepted submitter casac8 writes "As Friday's House vote on CISPA nears, it appears Congress members are getting nervous. Literally millions of people around the world have signed petitions voicing their opposition, and it appears Congress has heard their concerns, as House members are considering a number of amendments aimed at limiting the negative impacts the legislation would have on Internet privacy. For instance, one amendment likely to pass would tighten the bill's language to ensure its provisions are only applied in the pursuit of legit crimes and other rare instances, rather than whenever the NSA wants to target Joe Web-user. And another would increase possible liability on the parts of companies who hand personal information over to the government."
bs0d3 writes "From having a position in the development and support of ACTA, to implementation of HADOPI, to imposing an internet tax to pay for music; France has been at the forefront of anti-piracy legislation. This week, it has been announced that current President and anti-piracy advocate Nicolas Sarkozy is unlikely to win the next election. His leading opponent is a man named Francois Hollande. Hollande has in the past opposed both ACTA and HADOPI (France's 3 strikes law). Hollande believes that ACTA, 'originally intended to combat counterfeiting trade[,] was gradually diverted from its objective, in the utmost discretion and without any democratic process.' At the same time, Hollande is also strongly against piracy. 'Piracy has been costly,' Hollande said, 'but I do not think that law enforcement alone is the answer to the problem.' Will internet issues be of concern to the voters in France? It certainly is to the rest of us internet users."